Date: June 5 – September 2012 Place: The corner of State Street and Adams in Chicago under the auspices of the Chicago Loop Alliance.
This work fills the intersection of the street scape with color applied with adhesive vinyl and vinyl scrim. The volume of color intersecting the intersection is accommodating to the city’s grid structure, and at the same time at odds with it.
Jessica Stockholder, an artist whose work has transformed the traditional conception of sculpture, will join the University of Chicago faculty as a Professor in the Department of Visual Arts (DOVA) in the Humanities and in the College and aschair of DOVA. Her appointment takes effect July 1, 2011.
Stockholder’s appointment comes as the University prepares for the opening of the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, which will house DOVA, as well as studio, teaching, rehearsal, and performance space for several arts programs on campus. Stockholder said the University’s lively intellectual atmosphere, as well as the building of the Logan Center, were key factors in her decision to join the faculty.
The artist has won international acclaim for her genre-defying multimedia installation pieces, which incorporate found objects and painting in bold, vibrant colors. In 2007, she received the Lucelia Artist Award, which recognizes exceptional American artists under 50, from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Perhaps best known for her temporary site-specific installations, Stockholder’s work has been discussed in relationship to the works of assemblage artist Robert Rauschenberg, collage artist Kurt Schwitters, painters Henri Matisse and Paul Cézanne, as well as artists of the Cubist and Minimalist traditions.
Stockholder’s work has been shown at the Dia Center for the Arts, the Whitney Museum for American Art, Museum of Modern Art PS1, the Venice Biennale, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid. The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago exhibited Stockholder’s installation, “Skin Toned Garden Mapping,” in 1991. She received a 1988 National Endowment for the Arts grant for sculpture and a 1996 Guggenheim Fellowship.
Stockholder studied art at the University of Victoria and received an MFA from Yale University, where she has taught sculpture since 1999.
Visit Arts.UChicago more information, including video and interviews, about Jessica Stockholder’s appointment at the University of Chicago.
Date: March 2–6, 2011 Place: Park Avenue Armory, New York
Amid the ADAA fair’s old-world refinement and mighty blue-chip merchandise, Jessica Stockholder’s solo booth with Mitchell-Innes & Nash may be the most touchingly fragile, and alive. Wholly designed by the influential sculptor — who seems to be getting a second reputational wind these days after her star turn in the 1990s — the broad stand, at the end of one aisle, is organized around a sharp spike of black fabric that runs down one wall to the booth’s center, where a brightly colored chandelier lies crashed.
The walls are hung with enormously engaging assemblages, whose parts only slowly reveal themselves to be humble household items (a shower mat, a towel dowel) upon close inspection. The one pictured is a perceptual delight, and a captivating update of Jesús Rafael Soto’s 3-D compositions. Stockholder doesn’t believe in titles and finds the “untitled” formulation inelegant, so she names her works by their ingredients. This one is “Wood, glass, chicken wire, hardware, hanger, broken plastic, rubberized fabric, plastic sheets, bamboo beads, aluminum hanger, umbrella sleeve, oil paint.” All are between $20,000-$40,000.
Date: September 18, 2010 – February 27, 2011 Place: Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
The Jewel Thief explores new ways to think about and experience abstract art. Using divergent forms of display, the exhibition focuses attention on art’s intersection with the decorative and functional elements of architecture. Beginning in the museum’s atrium, the exhibition continues into the large Wachenheim gallery, filling the space with a diverse range of artwork, including painting, sculpture, textiles, wallpaper, chandeliers, video, and photography.
Artwork is presented through the lens of several opposing yet fluid categories that exist in our everyday lives, such as private and public, intimate and spectacular, and hot and cold. Hot might relate to feelings of passion, authenticity, expression, and the hand-made while cold might be attributed to restraint, intellectual distance, controlled execution, and the machine-made. The Jewel Thief explores how artworks negotiate the distance between these constantly shifting categories and how space affects this negotiation.
Discarding the notion that abstract works are devoid of content, The Jewel Thief maintains that beauty and pleasure in artworks are full of meaning. The exhibition draws parallels between questions and attitudes seen within individual artworks and various means of display our culture traditionally uses. Defining boundaries and edges determines how we understand the limit of an object and experience. The establishment of such definitions requires a kind of invention—a shared abstraction—that alters what is possible for us to do, think, and be. These abstractions lead to the building of fences—real lines being drawn around things—and to shared understandings about the distance required for personal space.
The exhibition features artworks from the Tang Collection and on loan by artists Anni Albers, Polly Apfelbaum, Gary Batty, Alex Brown, Richmond Burton, Kathy Butterly, Patrick Chamberlain, Stephen Dean, Dorothy Dehner, Anne Delaporte, Francesca DiMattio, Cheryl Donegan, Roy Dowell, Brad Eberhard, Rico Gatson, Joanne Greenbaum, Joseph Grigely, Christopher Harvey, Elana Herzog, Jim Hodges, Peter Hopkins, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, James Hyde, Betsy Kaufman, May Kedney, Martin Kersels, Bill Komoski, Nicholas Krushenick, Lisa Lapinski, Liz Larner, Michael Lazurus, Barry Le Va, Sherrie Levine, Charles Long, Virgil Marti, Chris Martin, Andrew Masullo, Jane Masters, Allan McCollum, Joan Mitchell, Carrie Moyer, Victoria Palermo, Jorge Pardo, Janet Passehl, Marion Pease, Jerry Phillips, Ann Pibal, Josh Podoll, Richard Rezac, Ednah Root, Nancy Shaver, Cary Smith, Joan Snyder, Jessica Stockholder, John Torreano, Rosemarie Trockel, Andy Warhol, Stanley Whitney, Lawrence Weiner, and Richard Woods.
The Jewel Thief is co-curated by Ian Berry, Susan Rabinowitz Malloy ’45 Curator of the Tang Museum, and Jessica Stockholder, Director of Graduate Studies in Sculpture at Yale University.
Date: July 14, 2010 – April 25, 2011 Place: Palacio de Cristal, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Parque del Buen Retiro, Madrid
Visual-verbal puns and rhymes abound in Jessica Stockholder’s vibrant art. As things that once seemed familiar and ordinary take on new life, mirroring, echoing and dialoguing with each other in their unlikely new roles, they become imposing, assertive, cheeky, sly, teasing, alluring, whimsical and much more. Never, however, are they routinely pedestrian. Stockholder’s world is composed more by association than by conventional forms of analysis. Her works propose that, if we want to examine something, we need to scrutinize, probe, and scan carefully in an intent reading than goes beyond mere glancing and glimpsing: by peering out in this fashion we might, of course, see more than we bargained for: we might end up walking the plank, suspended on a platform above the depths, launched into the unknown – on a pier out at sea.
Sliding seamlessly from the literal to the metaphorical, from the physical to the figurative, so that it weaves a tissue of disjunctive connectives, Stockholder’s beguiling form of play has become a hallmark of a practice that now spans some three decades. Deeply serious yet light hearted, witty yet charged, her ludic touch seduces, solicits, coaxes, beckons, and entices its audiences, who frequently find themselves snared and then, on stage, without having been aware of their transition from passive observers to active participants. Such a disarming approach allows her art to “slip[s] across the surface by the most improbable syntagmatic routes, dragging a nebulous cargo of dissembled meaning in its wake”, as American critic Jack Bankowsky astutely notes.(1) To the artist, this method partakes of the realms of both conceptualizing and fabricating. “My work often arises in the world like an idea arises in your mind. You don’t quite know where it came from or when it got put together. Nevertheless it’s possible to take it apart and see that it has an internal logic,” she wrote: “I’m trying to get closer to thinking processes as they exist before the idea is fully formed.”(2)Unexpected couplings of the abstract (vivid colours and rich textures) and the identifiable (domestic and industrial materials) form the stuff from which both her autonomous sculptures and her site specific installations are made. Purposely purposeless, they all seem designed to facilitate, ease, aid, clarify or otherwise alleviate conditions that though they may not be precisely identifiable are self-evident: we embrace them as things that could belong to our everyday world, or that might seamlessly become part of our local environment.
Stockholder’s signature touch is manifest in the larger communal situations she creates through the ways they draw us, as we navigate their carefully choreographed mise-en-scenes, into a shared purview. Passage through their by-ways proves invariably invigorating: intriguing as opposed to reassuring, tonic rather than soporific. This effect derives from the fact that the contexts from which, and for which, her in situ works have been created assume a novel guise, an unexpected dimension, as a consequence of her intervention: scale changes, proportions contract, space elides, depth diminishes, sounds magnify, and light dissolves, bleaches, or bathes, whatever stirs within its compass. Fleeting shifts in our perception require that we reconfigure our preconceptions and presumptions – and so recalibrate what we thought we knew about this place. Testing the waters, so to speak, we may find we are not on solid ground as we supposed. Finding ourselves adrift instead of standing firm, we are constantly required to confront novel options and choices. Preferences and proclivities are called upon – and called into question. Integral if normally suppressed elements in a thought process, these intangibles now register themselves in the conscious mind, making themselves present for scrutiny along with the more tangible intangibles that impact the body – for air, light, and sound animate the pavilion, creating a vortex at whose dynamic centre we find ourselves.
Jessica Stockholder’s aesthetic is based in the time-tested attributes of sculpture: solids inhabit space, volumes describe forms, material is subject to gravity, stillness conjures motion. Although manifestly part of a modernist sculptural legacy that stems from Picasso, Schwitters, Rauschenberg and others, her work nonetheless betrays a painter’s sensibility: Matisse’s is perhaps its closest affiliate. Subtle, resonant, idiosyncratic yet instantly identifiable, Stockholder’s singular sense of colour is largely responsible for the undeniable sense of pleasure that radiates from her work, and that separates it from the work of the countless followers who have learnt much from her rigorous yet generous practice.
One of the most influential sculptors of her generation Stockholder, in recent years, has fashioned installations that allow visitors to utilize them to their own ends. As Peer out to See demonstrates, these temporary constructions become places for casual conversations between locals and visitors, for improvised games, and for dalliance – in short, they are places to hang out, and give oneself over to the flow and flux. Whether in Madison Square Garden in Manhattan in 2009 (with “Flooded Chambers Maid”), or in the luminous Palacio de Cristal in Madrid’s Buen Retiro Park, people drift and idle in similar ways as they make of their serendipitous encounters what they will. Deft explorations of the spatial, structural, social and cultural features of the given environment, Stockholder’s most ambitious works leave room for the myriad needs of a shifting audience who may never know to what extent it has become an essential part of the play.
(1) Jack Bankowsky, “The Obligatory Bed Piece: Jessica Stockholder” Artforum, October 1990, p.142
(2) Jessica Stockholder, “Interview with Kalus Ottman,” The Journal of Contemporary Art, Spring/Summer 1991, p.100