Thu, Dec 9, 2021, 1–3:30pm

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    Jonathan Berger with Annie Lee and Paddy Kan (Leekan Designs), Phillip Retzky (Little Rickie), and Vaginal Davis. Moderated by Saim Demircan.

    1:00PM Annie Lee and Paddy Kan

    1:45PM Phillip Retzky

    2:30PM Vaginal Davis

    Artist Jonathan Berger continues his conversations with and about shop owners in New York City and elsewhere. Berger is joined by Annie Lee and Paddy Kan, owners of Leekan Designs on the Lower East Side since 1981; Phillip Retzky, former owner of Little Rickie; and artist Vaginal Davis. The program is moderated by curator and writer Saim Demircan.

    Since 2020 Berger and Demircan have been in an extended dialogue about shopkeepers as figures in a broader and more porous field of social life and cultural education, particularly in New York, where Berger worked and shopped in the 1990s. The Store, Berger’s recent project at the Aspen Art Museum, considers how shops might intersect with institutional art spaces.

    Join SculptureCenter for an afternoon of long conversations with:

    Annie Lee and Paddy Kan started Leekan Designs in 1981 and opened a storefront in 1987. They trade in antique and contemporary beads and jewelry, home furnishings, one-of-a-kind artifacts, textiles, ceramics, musical instruments, baskets, architectural elements, unusual gifts and accessories from China, Indonesia, India, Morocco, Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea, and other parts of Asia. Lee and Kan worked closely and collaboratively with Sara Penn and Knobkerry (whose life and work are documented in Sara Penn’s Knobkerry: An Oral History Sourcebook by Svetlana Kitto), often providing imported and collected materials for use in Knobkerry designs when both stores were open in downtown New York City.

    Philip Retzky owned and operated Little Rickie in the East Village from 1986 through the 1990s. The store sold artworks, vintage toys, clothing, and design objects from a maximalist installation and display. In 1988, Retzky listed the collectibles that would define ‘80s for the New York Times: “Aprica strollers… Betamaxes – already gone... designer bottled waters… Jane Fonda workout tapes… and signs for Smoking/No Smoking sections in restaurants, because in the 1990's there will be no smoking.”

    Vaginal Davis is an originator of the homo-core punk movement and a gender-queer art-music icon. Her concept bands – including Pedro Muriel and Esther, Cholita! The Female Menudo, black fag, and the Afro Sisters – have left an indelible mark on the development of underground music. Ms. Davis made her name in LA's club performance scene, and has earned herself a similar notoriety as a cultural antagonist and erotic provocateur.


    Jonathan Berger's work encompasses the fields of sculpture, installation, performance, archival and curatorial projects, conceptual art, design, relational aesthetics, and education. His projects often engage in an experimental and cross-disciplinary approach to the creation and presentation of exhibitions – ranging from work that he physically produces or ask others to produce for him, to materials that he collects, seeks out, and re-contextualizes, or that are the product of conversations and exchanges with others. He has presented solo installations and projects at the Aspen Art Museum; Participant Inc., New York; Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Cambridge; Busan Biennial, South Korea; Vox Populi, Philadelphia; Maccarone and Karma Gallery, New York; Frieze Projects, London; Adams and Ollman, Portland; and VEDA, Florence. From 2013-2016, Berger served as Director of 80WSE Gallery at NYU, where he mounted major exhibition projects through a wide range of collaborative projects presenting the work of Ellen Cantor, Bob Mizer, Printed Matter, James Son Ford Thomas, Michael Stipe, Vaginal Davis, Susanne Sachsse, and xiu xiu, among others. He is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art Professions at New York University.

    Saim Demircan is a curator and writer based in New York and Turin. He was the 2017 Curatorial Resident at Ludlow 38, the Goethe-Institut's downtown space in NY where he ran a 12-month program of exhibitions and events. Between 2012 and 2015 he was a curator at Kunstverein München. Previously, he curated a two-year program of offsite projects, as well as an exhibition of works by Kai Althoff at Focal Point Gallery in Southend-on-Sea. Recently, he has curated exhibitions at Fridericianum in Kassel and Aspen Art Museum. Saim has published on numerous artistic practices; his writing regularly appears in periodicals such as Art Monthly, frieze and Texte Zur Kunst.


    This program is presented in conjunction with Niloufar Emamifar, SoiL Thornton, and an Oral History of Knobkerry.



    Support for this program is kindly provided by Sotheby’s.

    Leadership support of SculptureCenter’s exhibitions and programs is provided by Carol Bove, Jill and Peter Kraus, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Lee Elliott and Robert K. Elliott, Eleanor Heyman Propp, Miyoung Lee and Neil Simpkins, and Robert Soros and Jamie Singer Soros.

    SculptureCenter’s annual operating support is provided by the Elaine Graham Weitzen Foundation for Fine Arts; the Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation; the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; Jacques Louis Vidal; A. Woodner Fund; Libby and Adrian Ellis; The Willem de Kooning Foundation; Teiger Foundation; Helen Frankenthaler Foundation; Cy Twombly Foundation; Arison Arts Foundation; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and contributions from our Board of Trustees, Director’s Circle, SC Ambassadors, and many generous individuals and friends.