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The Happiness of Objects

Sculpture Center
44 Purves Street, 718-361-1750
Long Island City
April 29 - July 29, 2007
Reception: Sunday, April 29, 4 - 6 PM
Web Site

The Happiness of Objects, is a group exhibition including work by Felipe Arturo, Fia Backström, Andrea Blum, Tom Burr, Valentin Carron, Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), Philippe Decrauzat, Flatland (Ward Shelley and Pelle Brage, Eva LaCour, Douglas Paulson, Maria Petschnig, Alex Schweder), Sylvie Fleury, Harald Hund & Paul Horn, Craig Kalpakjian, Allan Kaprow, Jutta Koether, Sol LeWitt, John Miller, Olivier Mosset, Nils Norman, Amy O’Neill, Mamiko Otsubo, J. St. Bernard, Haim Steinbach, and Lan Tuazon as well as documents by Wim Delvoye, Robert Indiana & Larry Aldrich, Mel Ramos, Annette Tison & Talus Taylor. The Happiness of Objects will be on view April 29-July 29, 2007 with an opening reception on Sunday, April 29, 4-6 pm.

The Happiness of Objects embraces W.J.T. Mitchell’s invitation to consider the possibility that objects have their own desires (What do Pictures Want? The Lives and Loves of Images, 2005). While Mitchell focuses on the relationship between the image or object and the viewer, The Happiness of Objects will attempt to capture what objects want from other objects, from the context of their display to potential response to their presence. This necessarily involves a mixture of formal and subjective concerns such as space, light, proximity, hybridization, and life expectancy. Vitrines will display documents that examine pose and objectification, dimensions of scale, and mimesis.

In attempt to crystallize some of the main points of Mitchell’s hypothesis, the exhibition proposes The Object’s Bill of Rights, a non-exhaustive and disputable list. It is also a prelude to considering the object as an autonomous subject within a larger society of objects. At a moment when human rights seem negotiable, The Object’s Bill of Rights is a satirical proposition albeit with a genuine interest in the formal properties and some of the set of relations that art objects engage with.

Many artists have created site-specific work especially for The Happiness of Objects. Olivier Mosset reclaims SculptureCenter’s garage door by transforming it into a thirteen-and-a-half-foot monochrome (Golden Shower, 2007) that temporarily disappears when the door is raised. Mosset continues playing with the dimension of time in Untitled (Toblerone) (1994/2007), a fleeting sculpture composed of ice, which will disappear within a few days of the opening.

Sylvie Fleury reactivates Road Test (1998/2007) by crushing makeup with an American-made car, disrupting conventional gender arbitrations and stereotypes of female hysteria.

Ward Shelley constructs a two-foot-wide, four-story transparent structure titled Flatland (2007) where he and five artists live for twenty days in a nearly two-dimensional space. Flatland will be streamed live online, accessible twenty-four hours a day at

Phillipe Decrauzat masks SculptureCenter’s only white wall with a stark, geometric pattern based on the repetition of the Dead Kennedys logo. Decrauzat optically warps a two-dimensional surface into a three-dimensional object; the title Does the angle between two walls have a happy ending? is appropriated from a 1964 J.G. Ballard magazine insert.

The Happiness of Objects is made possible in part by Jeanne Donovan Fisher, and Pro Helvetia, Swiss Arts Council.
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