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Chapter 1: Ever After… 2010

November 13th through December 29th (Fri.-Sun., 12-6 PM or by appt.)
Opening: Saturday, November 20th 6-9 PM
C. Bass International Fine Arts Co. is an experimental commercial venture located in a small 1940s storefront on Main Street in art world “outpost” Beacon, NY. Its projects will feature an interdisciplinary approach that references art history, cultural studies, material culture and popular culture.
The inaugural project entitled Chapter 1: Ever after….. brings together a group of artists whose engagement with appropriation, pastiche and quotation foregrounds their relationship to art history in ways ranging from irony to violence. The physical installation of the exhibition is reminiscent of the Barnes Foundation’s “wall ensembles” that include examples of decorative metalwork hung alongside masterpieces of painting such as Courbet’s Woman with White Stockings.  Utilitarian items such as hooks, hinges, candlesticks, pot racks, door knockers and coat racks, hand forged by blacksmith Gary Cheney of Windham, Vermont and based upon historical colonial forms, will be displayed in relation to works by contemporary artists Wolfgang Berkowski,
Peter Coffin, Christina Leung, Richard Pettibone, Elaine Sturtevant, Andra Ursuta and George Wichelns. The visitor will be confronted with two types of cultural experience as well as two simultaneous levels of consumption. Richard Pettibone and Elaine Sturtevant prefigured the 1980s discourse surrounding “appropriation” and yet were largely excluded from it. In the case of Richard Pettibone’s meticulous, miniaturized renderings of works of art or ephemera, often the work of his contemporaries, questions of originality and scale are explicitly and ironically addressed. In an art world where grand often seems to equal quality Pettibone’s work performs a critical function as
well as an ethical one. Sturtevant’s large-scale installations of various artists’ work from Marcel Duchamp to Felix Gonzalez-Torres probe the boundaries of authorship through multiplicity and fracture. Her work also adds to the conversation questions of re-enactment, an absorbing preoccupation in the display and collection of performance art. Wolfgang Berkowski’s Daily Paintings use a personal and conceptual symbolic language that combines references to On Kawara’s date paintings with popular culture and daily events from newspapers. Like On Kawara’s three part work entitled Title (One Thing, 1965, Vietnam) these works remind us of the connection between Conceptual art and the everyday, including the political, the spectacular and the mundane, something which is often erased from Conceptual art discourse. Christina Leung’s process-oriented work relies heavily on photography to capture the moment of the work’s becoming. Leung’s work straddles a line between installation and performance; the objects on view reference a moment long past and/or a work that no longer exists. George Wichelns’ use of lenses to split a video image of people coming and going, back and forth, through a corridor, confuses identities as people merge into one another. The viewer is trapped by notions of perception and subjectivity through Wichelns’ distortion and repetition. Peter Coffin and Andra Ursuta take on verticality from modernism (Brancusi’s Endless
Column) to Conceptual art (Daniel Buren’s vertical stripes). Coffin’s floor to ceiling neon
installation softens the “line” and erodes its modernist severity by allowing a loose and wavering verticality while suggesting a flow of energy through time and space. Andra Ursuta’s comment on Brancusi’s column has multiple references, most importantly war, interpenetrated with Vlad the Impaler, and the horror genre; Dario Argento comes to mind.
498 MAIN ST, BEACON, NY 12508