VIRGINIA LEE MONTGOMERY
Art In America
First Look: Virginia Lee Montgomery
01 October 2018
SORCERY AND CORPORATE creativity don’t make for the most intuitive pairing, but Virginia Lee Montgomery unites them in her persona of Business Witch. This presence haunts the artist’s surreal videos, where, for instance, her Dewalt drill opens a portal to another dimension, and a three-foot-long ponytail from a blond wig (resembling Montgomery’s own long tresses) bounces through a business hotel room.
Montgomery, who has an MFA in sculpture from Yale, lives in her home state of Texas. But she travels up to three weeks a month for her job as a graphic facilitator, diagramming the flow of ideas at focus groups and tech conferences. So it seems fitting that her art highlights disruptions in the smooth machinery of capitalism. This summer at Arsenal Contemporary in New York, Montgomery showed Lincoln Looks at the Moon (2017), a work from her “Glitch Coins” series comprising six misprinted pennies. On each coin, a sliver of the president’s head appears beneath a bare copper planchette.
There was a “Saturday Night Live” sketch not too long ago in which Kate McKinnon pretended to be Brigitte Bardot responding to the #MeToo movement. “Why does woman have breast? It’s for a man to grab and pull!” she said, taking a drag on her prop cigarette. “A drawer has a knob. A woman has two knobs!” Forty years ago, the French artist Nicola L.made the same joke — albeit a little more wryly — with her sculptural furniture. “La Femme Commode,” which she first produced in 1969 and continued to make in various colors (sunflower yellow, coral red) until 2014, is a lacquered wood cabinet shaped like a woman, with eyes, mouth, breasts, bellybutton and even clitoris all serving as tiny knobs to different-size drawers. Next month, it will go on view at Manhattan’s Arsenal Contemporary, along with several other pieces by Nicola L. — now 81 and retired in Los Angeles — as well as a selection of contemporary works by artists including Chloe Wise, Nadia Belerique and Ambera Wellmann, all created to be in conversation with Nicola L.’s oeuvre.
Creating new forms is a mission for me,” said Juliana Cerqueira Leite, “a way of not reasserting the world as it is, but of positing a transformation.” Leite’s sculptures testify to one’s ability to transmute the world around them. Her work is often the result of casting her own body parts in clay or plaster—materials she is drawn to for their timelessness—and sometimes feature striated colors in shades of citrus, or finger marks that recall the work of David Altmejd.
Leite, who will open a solo show at New York’s Arsenal Contemporary in September, is interested in the parameters of the body and the space that it creates. Her sculpture Climb (2012), a gloopy white totem currently installed in a public square near London’s financial district, is made of gypsum, steel, and foam; the artist created it by physically tunnelling through a wooden column filled with wet clay, then casting the negative space left by her body.
The Vancouver Biennale 2018 – 2020 installed Maskull Lasserre’s dramatic Acoustic Anvil: A Small Weight to Forge the Sea in Leg-In-Boot Square on Thursday, July 19, 2018.
Maskull Lasserre’s nearly three-by-eight-metre monolithic red sculpture will have an immediate visual impact. Acoustic Anvil: A Small Weight to Forge the Sea is the physical convergence of both real and imagined histories, relationships, and resonances that mark this seemingly silent site.
Nuuca by Michelle Latimer is available to watch on The Intercept.
Directed by Michelle Latimer
Cinematography by Iris Ng
Editing by Katie Chipperfield
Executive Producers: Laura Poitras, Charlotte Cook and Michelle Latimer
Producer: Catie Lamer
Production Companies: Streel Films and Field of Vision
Sound by Chris Roman, Brennan Mercer and Jane Tattersall
Original Score by Laura Ortman
Film still from Nuuca, 2017
Arsenal Contemporary is pleased to present a performance by Michelle Latimer (Métis/Algonquin) and Laura Ortman (White Mountain Apache) on the occasion of Wanda Koop’s exhibition STANDING WITHSTANDING.
The artists will perform a live iteration of NUUCA, directed by Latimer and scored by Ortman. NUUCA considers the landscape of North Dakota in its current state, populated by oil drilling and towers of fire, connecting the violence of this landscape with the violence against the women and girls of its Indigenous population.
First monograph: an overview of the artist’s career, spanning more than a decade of work. The publication features more than 350 illustrations and a critical apparatus gathering texts by curator and critic Magali Nachtergael and historian Mieke Bal, an interview with the artist by art critic Rahma Khazam and a visual essay by curator Vincent Honoré.
British artist Hannah Perry (b. 1984 in Chester) combines fragments of blurry found footage videos and self-produced material with bits and pieces of language, ranging from spoken word to street slang. Using sampling techniques as well as processes of collage and assemblage, her works reflect the self-fragmentation and (self-)representation performed on social media networks. The artist’s large-scale installations, often comprised of construction scaffolding and mattress landscapes visibly damaged and marked by use, evoke feelings of insecurity and disquiet. At the centre of Perry’s performances, in which she collaborates with dancers, actors, choreographers, and fashion designers alike, also lies an examination of gender roles and models of identity.
Koop’s expansive view became the inspiration for a series of paintings that depict the skyline in stark, spare shapes filled in with rich gradients. Through minimal but highly evocative forms, the viewer is able to discern skyscraper from sky, foreground from background, solidity from void. What appears at first glance as pure abstraction is in fact a careful composition of colors in an indexical relationship. We are left with an impression of the natural and the manmade in harmony, co-constituted, suggesting the sublime.
In Man Made Moon, Kathleen Ryan’s first solo exhibition in China, an arrangement of three sculptures, titled Frequency, Cool Breeze, and Bacchante, emphasizes Ryan’s ongoing interest in exploring the sculptural possibilities of materials like stone, iron, concrete, and clay. Drawing symbolic resonances from ancient Roman mythology, 1980s broadcasting technology, and the flora of Southern California, Ryan’s work is insistent on its physicality yet ultimately tied to the intangible weight of time and memory.
Bringing together nearly 80 works, Thebes represents a new chapter for Benoît Maire (born in Pessac, France in 1978) whose work, which stands at the crossroads of art and philosophy, is the result of a fictile materialization of his aesthetic theories. It expands on the reflections that Benoit Maire has conducted since 2008 around concepts of dispute. He explores, through a generalized economy of collage, points of disjunction and spaces of irresolution, that have been created through the meeting of objects and concepts, but also by the meeting of matter and thought.
The tipi, an iconic symbol and perhaps one of the most widely recognized structures of early life for Plains Indians, gets a space-age makeover in the newest installation at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Heye Center in New York. The installation is the creation of the ITWÉ Collective, a trans-disciplinary art collective dedicated to research, creation, production and education in the field of Aboriginal digital culture, based in Winnipeg and Montréal, Canada, and composed of Sébastien Aubin (Cree/Métis), Kevin Lee Burton (Swampy Cree) and Caroline Monnet (Anishnabe/French).
MATERIAL ART FAIR
8-11 February, 2018
Arsenal Contemporary is proud to present Ed Fornieles: The Finiliar, marking the artist’s first presentation in Mexico. Sculptures and LED screens together present an imagined brand, adapting the symbols of Japanese collectibles to examine the global circulation of capital.
The Finiliar’s existence is tethered to structures far beyond the control of any singular author, including the artist. Instead, its fate is predicated upon the data on which it relentlessly feeds—the perpetual flux of an unreliable market returned and reembodied as the creature’s psychological states.
For this presentation at Material Art Fair, Fornieles has created two new Finiliars, avatars of Televisa and Netflix, a traditional national media company and its global competitor. Each Finiliar’s health is inexplicably linked to the other’s as they vie for your attention, in and out of their art context, fighting to dominate in an already over-saturated market. In this sense, the Finiliars battle for survival, or at least an awkward co-existence, each aware that one’s success might lead to the other’s demise.