Around America IV: Making Time, Making Space

Around America IV: Making Time,

Making Space

Curated by Beth Stryker Beirut Art Center Nov 11, 2009

Artists Matthew Buckingham, Oliver Herring, Gordon Matta-Clark, Ana Mendieta and
Alex Villar.

Following on the imperative of Matta-Clark and his fellow anarchitects to “[make] space without building it,” the artists in this screening perform critical, spectacular, and spatial interventions at various scales: of the body, the building, the city, and the landscape. Utilizing the moving image as a tool in the marking, mapping, and etching of site, these works explore America both through an examination of those spaces which are overlooked (the voids and the gaps which don’t appear in master plans), and through a study of the ways in which the act of cartography impartially inscribes and describes nation and place.

Matthew Buckingham
Muhheakantuck-Everything Has a Name
2003, 40 minutes, color, sound, 16mm film on video.
Courtesy of Murray Guy Gallery

Originally presented as screenings in 2003 onboard a NY Water Taxi navigating the Hudson River, Buckingham’s film explores the social and political impact of the relatively brief but violent period of contact between Dutch colonists and the Lower Hudson River Valley’s indigenous Lenape people. By examining how maps are constructed, how places are named (and thereby owned), and what stories are left silent, the film exposes the consequences of Henry Hudson’s journey. Buckingham’s narrative reminds us that “The river that became known as the Hudson was not discovered — it was invented and re-invented.” “Muhheakantuck-Everything Has a Name” juxtaposes two related modes of representation — historical narrative and geographic mapping — and asks whether the practices of history and cartography are adequate to describe it as a space and place.

Oliver Herring Waterloo Street
2007, 4:20 minutes, color, sound, video.
Courtesy of Max Protetch Gallery

Waterloo St. documents a performance Herring staged with local kids in a rough North Philadelphia neighborhood as part of his Task improvisatory workshops. Task’s open-ended, participatory structure provides a framework for unexpected interactions between the children and the city, transforming structures and spaces through play, turning parking lots into swimming pools.

Gordon Matta-Clark
Splitting 1974, 10:50 min, black & white and color, silent,
Super 8mm film on video.
Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI)

This film documents the major building cut performed by Matta-Clark on a house on Humphrey Street in Englewood, New Jersey in 1974. One of a number of Matta-Clark’s interventions into abandoned urban structures, the work reflects Matta-Clark’s concern with the non-monumental, what he called the “non-u-mental.” Trained as an architect, Matta-Clark practiced and was a proponent of “Anarchitecture” — “making space without building it.”

Ana Mendieta
Anima, Silueta de Cohetes (Anima, Silhouette of Fireworks) 1976,
color, silent, Super 8mm film on video.
Courtesy of Galerie Lelong

“Anima, Silueta de Cohetes” is one of a series of performances Ana Mendieta undertook and documented while a student at the University of Iowa. Informed by her identity as a Cuban exile living in the US, her “Silueta” series marked Mendieta’s interventions in the landscape, etching traces of her body through various means. “Anima” records the artist’s wicker effigy exploding with fireworks at night-time, an act at once of inscription and erasure.

Alex Villar
Temporary Occupations 2001.
6 minutes, silent, video.
Courtesy of the Artist

Temporary Occupations depicts a person running on the sidewalk in New York while ignoring the city’s spatial codes and therefore resisting their effects upon the organization of everyday experience. The clips in the video register situations of temporary invasion and occupation of private spaces located in a public setting. The action simply articulates the continuity of these spaces with the remaining areas from which they were extricated, drawing attention to, and possibly subverting, the boundaries that demarcate them.

Jisr El Wati — Off Corniche an Nahr. Building 13, Street 97,
Zone 66 Adlieh. Beirut, Lebanon.
T: +961 (0) 1 397 018 / +961 70 26 21 12

Beirut Art Center (BAC) is a non-profit association, space and platform dedicated to contemporary art in Lebanon.

More Info About the Participants

Beth Stryker is an artist and curator based in New York. Her works have been exhibited widely including shows at the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Walker Art Center, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. She has recently curated exhibitions for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the Center for Architecture in NYC. Trained as an architect, Beth is currently in Beirut as Director of NAAS (Network of Arab Arthouse Screens), in collaboration with Metropolis Cinema in Beirut and ArteEast in NYC.

Matthew Buckingham was born in Nevada, Iowa, and currently lives in New York City. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, received a BA from the University of Iowa, an MFA from Bard College and attended the Whitney Independent Study Program. Utilizing photography, film, video, audio, writing and drawing, his work questions the role that social memory plays in contemporary life. His projects create physical and social contexts that encourage viewers to question what is most familiar to them. Recent works have investigated the Indigenous past and present in the Hudson River Valley; the “creative destruction” of the city of St. Louis; and the inception of the first English dictionary. His work has been seen in one-person and group exhibitions at ARC / Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris; Camden Arts Centre, London; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Hamburger Bahnhof National Gallery, Berlin; Kunst-Werke, Berlin; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitechapel, London and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. He was a 2003 recipient of the DAAD Artist in Berlin Fellowship.

Oliver Herring was born in Heidelberg, Germany in 1964, and has lived and worked in New York since 1991. He received a BFA from the University of Oxford (Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art), Oxford, England, and an MFA from Hunter College, New York. Since 1998, Herring has created stop-motion videos and participatory performances with ‘off-the-street’ strangers. He makes sets for his videos and performances with minimal means and materials, recycling elements from one artwork to the next. Open-ended and impromptu, Herring’s videos have a dreamlike stream-of-consciousness quality; each progresses towards a finale that is unexpected or unpredictable. Embracing chance and chance encounters, his videos and performances liberate participants to explore aspects of their personalities through art in a way that would otherwise probably be impossible. Herring has received grants from Artpace; New York Foundation for the Arts; and the Joan Mitchell Foundation. He has had one-person exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, among others.

Gordon Matta-Clark was born in New York in 1943 and died in 1978. He studied French literature at the Sorbonne and Architecture at Cornell University. Gordon Matta-Clark’s thoroughly unique artistic project was a radical investigation of architecture, deconstruction, space, and urban environments. His film and video works include documents of major pieces in New York, Paris and Antwerp. From the early 1970s, as a founding member of the artist-run Food Restaurant in New York’s Soho neighborhood, Matta-Clark participated in numerous group exhibitions and projects. His work was presented in Documenta V, Kassel, Germany; and at exhibitions in Sao Paolo, Berlin, Zurich, and in the 9th Biennale de Paris. Major projects by Matta-Clark were staged in Aachen, Paris and Antwerp. Following his death, retrospective exhibitions have been organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany; and IVAM Centro Julio Gonzalez, Valencia, Spain.

Ana Mendieta was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1948, and died in 1985. She studied at the University of Iowa, where she created many of her early performance works. Mendieta’s performances were also held at Franklin Furnace, New York; Oaxaca, Mexico; Belgrade and Antwerp. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Bronx Museum, New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Whitney Museum of Art, New York; and the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris. One-person exhibitions by Mendieta were held at A.I.R. Gallery, New York; Museu de Arte Contemporãnea, São Paolo, Brazil; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba, and Primo Piano, Rome. Following her death, retrospective exhibitions have been organized by the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Pat Hearn Gallery, New York; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio; and Helsinki City Art Museum, Finland. In 1997 Mendieta was the subject of a major retrospective organized by the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona, Spain.

Alex Villar was Born in Brazil ‘62, is based in New York, he received his MFA from Hunter College ‘98 and Whitney ISP fellow 2000. Villar’s work draws from interdisciplinary theoretical sources; it employs video, installation and photography. His individual and collaborative projects are part of a long-term investigation of potential spaces of dissent in the urban landscape; it has often taken the form of an exploration of negative spaces in architecture. Selected exhibitions include the New Museum, Mass MoCA, Drawing Center, Exit Art, Stux Gallery, Apexart and Dorsky Gallery in New York; Institute of International Visual Arts in London, Museu de Arte Moderna in Sao Paulo, Galleri Tommy Lund and Overgaden in Copenhagen, UKS in Oslo, Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius, the Goteborg Konstmuseum in Sweeden, Galerie Joanna Kamm in Berlin, Signal in Malmo, Galeria Arsenal in Poland, Lichthaus in Bremen and Halle fur Kunst in Luneburg. Published articles and reviews in ReMarx, Text zur Kunst, Tema Celeste and New York Times.

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