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Karl Haendel, How To Have A Socially Responsible Orgasm and Other Life Lessons


Harris Lieberman Gallery
89 Vandam Street, 212-206-1290
May 2 - June 20, 2009
Reception: Saturday, May 2, 6 - 8 PM
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Harris Lieberman is pleased to present How to Have a Socially Responsible Orgasm and Other Life Lessons, Karl Haendel’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. Haendel’s exacting graphite drawings cull imagery from personal and cultural sources that touch on American production, consumption and conservation, as well as his painstakingly labor-intensive studio practice. The artist has likened his working process to that of a political commentator or editorialist, and his current exhibition provides both a meditation on authorship and a cautionary tale for these recessionary times.

Finding the recent national interest in recycling to be framed by a particularly American consumerist mindset, Haendel revisits World War II propaganda that encouraged the rationing of gas, food and other materials. Slogans like “Food is a Weapon: Don’t Waste It!” hang alongside renderings of barking dogs, Humpty Dumpty, steam-engine trains and police tape, offering a potent set of symbols for industry and conservation alike.

Haendel accompanies these images with suggestions of a depleted economy too long dependent on overproduction and overconsumption, from his largely unframed, rough-hewn, teeming installation, to the graphite and spray-paint drawings that interpolate abstract patterning with representational crumples, and the packing materials littering the floor.

Karl Haendel received an MFA from UCLA in 2003. In 2005, he had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Haendel’s work has recently been exhibited in the 2008 California Biennial, the Hammer Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and Uncertain States of America, a touring exhibition that originated at the Astrup Fearnley Museum for Modern Art, Oslo, and traveled to Serpentine Gallery, London, and the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, among other venues. Haendel has forthcoming projects and exhibitions with MASS MoCA, North Adams; Lever House, New York; and Art Production Fund.
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