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    Searching the Sky for Rain

    Searching the Sky for Rain

    Sep 16–Dec 16, 2019

    Carmen Argote, Tony Cokes, Rafael Domenech, Mandy El-Sayegh, Charles Gaines, ektor garcia, Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon, Tishan Hsu, Rindon Johnson, Becket MWN, Shahryar Nashat, Michael Queenland, Johanna Unzueta, Jala Wahid, Eric Wesley, and Riet Wijnen
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    This exhibition brings together works by artists who disregard the ways in which the art industry regulates, classifies, compartmentalizes, and essentializes difference into sanctioned categories. The artists in Searching the Sky for Rain defy the fracking of particularities into niche-marketed, T-shirt formulations of “identities” for institutional meaning and value production. These exploitative processes administer domination, forcing heterogeneity into operational packages for the stylization of a lukewarm cosmopolitanism.

    The resulting rhetorical conflation of the maker and the work has led some producers to contend for the most bona fide representation in a highly competitive field where “authenticity” is rewarded as the primary source of value. While the proclaimed dominant position enjoys a hotline to abstract and structural thinking, others are often accorded only bare biography or story-time “feels” in the critical consideration and institutional presentation of their work. The question raised by Searching the Sky for Rain is: who has the right to abstraction? This question is neither a “theme” nor is necessarily the main concern of the included works, but it is at times one of their many components, or is indicative of a discursive ambivalence toward the worn-out framing devices that are formulated by the industry.

    Against the backdrop of today’s hyper-expressionism, which in the absence of reflexivity poses the “self” as a coordinate with direct access to “truth,” the works in this exhibition advance the subject’s inherent non-sovereignty and unlocatability. As a character in Becket MWN’s audio work Paranoid House puts it, “anytime individuality is institutionally mandated it becomes a performance.”

    Using various methodologies and strategies, the artists in the exhibition resist prescribing or following readily available image templates, relinquishing the pop-up politics of instant visibility. In Tony Cokes’ video Evil.27.Selma, we read how the pre-television civil rights movement prompted a “social collectivity heavily dependent on the imagination” that created abundance of “fantasy what-if” scenarios. The artists in Searching the Sky for Rain rally for such not-yet-articulated aesthetics. The exhibition is curated by Sohrab Mohebbi, Curator, with Kyle Dancewicz, Director of Exhibitions and Programs.

    The exhibition includes work by: Carmen Argote, Tony Cokes, Rafael Domenech, Mandy El-Sayegh, Charles Gaines, ektor garcia, Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon, Tishan Hsu, Rindon Johnson, Becket MWN, Shahryar Nashat, Michael Queenland, Johanna Unzueta, Jala Wahid, Eric Wesley, and Riet Wijnen.

    Sponsors

    Searching the Sky for Rain is made possible with financial support from the Mondriaan Fund, the public cultural funding organization focusing on visual arts and cultural heritage. Additional support is provided as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.

    Lead underwriting support of SculptureCenter’s Exhibition Fund has been generously provided by the Kraus Family Foundation with additional support by Toby Devan Lewis.

    SculptureCenter’s programs and operating support is provided by the Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides 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; the National Endowment for the Arts; Danielle and Drew Anderman; Andreas Beroutsos and Abigail Hirschhorn; Carol Bove and Gordon Terry; Irene and Allen Brill; Laren C. and Jesse M. Brill; Lee and Robert K. Elliott; Elizabeth and Adrian Ellis; Fred Wilson; the A. Woodner Fund; New York City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer; and contributions from our Board of Trustees and Director’s Circle. Additional funding is provided by the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation and contributions from many generous individuals.