The LAB: 2010 in Retrospect
THE LAB:GALLERY is a New York based, converted storefront producing fast paced performance art and site-specific installations. Viewable exclusively from the sidewalk and aimed at the furious midtown foot traffic, THE LAB’s exhibitions seek to throw a moment of uncertainty into the predictable monotony of the midtown shuffle, forcing an interaction between the high energy, “outrospective” work it produces and the nearly 25,000 daily passersby. THE LAB is located on the North East corner of 47th and Lex and is a Roger Smith Collaboration. www.thelabgallery.com
THE LAB: A HISTORY
The LAB Gallery, established in February 2004, began as a collaboration between the Owner/CEO/Artist-in-Residence of the Roger Smith Hotel, James Knowles, their Artistic Director Matthew Semler and Dominick Lombardi as Curatorial Advisor. A “curator’s gallery”, exhibiting group shows focused on a specific concept or theme, it quickly established itself as a place for local, national and international curators to experiment with new artistic ideas, relationships and aesthetics in a short, aggressive 10 day exhibition cycle. The pace of the programming allowed for The LAB to produce over 60 exhibitions in it’s first three years, showing the work of over 150 artists and nearly 450 individual objects of arts. The list of curators in those first three years included Jeff Kóan Baysa, Robert C. Morgan, Anjali Gupta, Helianthe Bourdeaux-Maurin, Enrico Pedrini, among many others. Participating artists included Dennis Openheim, Po Kim, Grimanesa Amoros, Daniel Rothbart, Margaret Envangeline, Rodney Dickson and Mose Hoskins.
In the spring of 2006 The LAB began an evolution, changing from a gallery for curatorial experimentation into a space dedicated to the exploration of installation and performance art. The shift began with Colombian performance artist Káta Mejía and her show titled Beyond the Threshold. For it, Kata requested that the doors to the space be closed to the public, requiring that the audience view the performance from the sidewalk outside. The dynamic and bold effect this simple shift had on the passing public was immediate and powerful. Following Mejías show the gallery began the process of taking the art off the walls and produce works that physically filled the space, saturating the visual field, almost as if threatening to burst out through the windows into the intersection. January 2007 marked the official beginning of the gallery’s new direction. The space was renamed The LAB (for installation + performance art), the doors were permanently locked to the public and the front wall was removed to completely open up the space to the corner. The fresh iteration was kicked off with Detainee, conceived and performed by David Duckworth, a scathing political commentary of the Bush-era stance on enhanced interrogation techniques Other notable shows in the 2007 season were Lee Whitier’s Connectome, Parallel Time by Maureen Catbagan, Kata Mejia’s heart-wrenching Healing and Anindita Duta’s beautifully disturbing depiction of the power dynamics of sex in her installation B&B.
Matthew Semler says of the space, “The idea that despite what we think we know, what we think is definite, the artists we choose and the work that they bring to us continually dismantles our preconceptions, proving to us that there are ways to engage the corner of 47th and Lex we have yet to discover. “
The past four years, whether from Sophie Loss and Veronica Spirenburgh’s Audience to Audience, or Andre Stitt and Fritz Welch’ SHIFTwork, Purgation of Nike by Robert Morgan or La Incubadora by Grimanesa Amoros, The LAB has, and continues to discover new ways of exploring the space and fresh ways of engaging the public.
[a roger smith collaboration]
501 Lexington Ave
New York NY 10017
For all inquiries
Contact: Danika Druttman
Breath of Water is part of the artist’s on-going exploration into the representation of water both two-dimensionally and three-dimensionally. Their work is framed by the ideas of two Presocratic philosophers: Thales and Heraclitus. Thales discusses the omnipresence of water and it’s shape-shifting ability when he claimed that everything is water. Heraclitus, by asserting that one can not step in the same river twice, argues that identity is deeply rooted in change. Breath of Water looks at winter water as an almost secret environment not unlike the world inside a snow globe.
Carol Mickett and Robert Stackhouse have been collaborating since 1999. During this time, they have produced large-scale sculpture, painting, and prints. Mickett comes to the collaboration from a background in philosophy, film, radio, poetry, and theater. Stackhouse followed a traditional visual arts path, and his individual work can be found in museum collections around the world including the Museum of Modern Art, The National Gallery of Australia, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Both Mickett and Stackhouse hold Ph.Ds: Mickett in philosophy and Stackhouse has an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, the University of South Florida.
This installation, Intersection, concentrates on the stop and go of the traffic outside, the pulse and energy of the city. A string column cycles between stillness and movement, and by the real time continual vibrating and graphing lines of the sonograms and spectrograms, they are make the sound visual. Badt and Sherk’s practice involves cultivating awareness of the qualities of specific spaces through the realignment of the senses.
Pat Badt and Scott Sherk have collaborated on several site-specific installations, shown at Katonah Museum of Art, the Kim Foster Gallery, Point, Line, Lafayette College, Marshall University and Martial Arts Center, Memphis. Pat Badt is a painter and a Professor of Art at Cedar Crest College. Scott Sherk is sculptor who often works with sound. He most recently completed a sound project for the Katonah Museum of Art and is a Professor of Art at Muhlenberg College. Together Pat Badt and Scott Sherk curate thethirdbarn.org.
This piece is comprised of 30 over-sized bear sculptures of different colors and different sizes, intended to seduce the audience with humor, without losing view of the sculpture as a query and an engine for the mind. dEmo’s wildlife, his BEARS, are in the end pleading for a greater harmony between nature and society. Presented in a non-confrontational way, the bears do this without a hint of tension, always with a smile; an engaging smile intended to draw the viewer deeper into the work.
Brent Birnbaum creates a mock organization: The Bureau of Apology, a site-specific installation that will transform The LAB into a defunct office, filled with irreverent bric-a-brac, pre-dating the internet age. Passersby will wonder: Is this a closed office? If so, what was the function of The Bureau of Apology? Over multiple dates during the run of the exhibition, the Bureau of Apology will “re-open.” During these performative evenings an employee and current traveling salesman for the Bureau, Brent Birnbaum, will be engaging with the public. A site-specific work on a paper will be created as he burns the midnight oil.
Brent Birnbaum was born in Dallas, Texas in the year of the snake. He got an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2004 and has been exhibiting around the globe since. Past local shows include Stux Gallery, the project space at Winkleman Gallery, and Marianne Boesky Gallery. Birnbaum’s work traveled to Los Angeles and Detroit this past year and he is currently preparing for solo shows in Miami and Cologne, Germany.
From March 14th-18th, armed with few supplies and no preconceived design, Veca will enter the enclosed gallery, and in full view of the street, will riff spontaneously and directly onto the walls.using nothing more than simple black paint. It is an approach atypical of his oeuvre. Virtually the only wall drawing in his body of work that’s not premeditated, the piece will also be uniquely devoid of color, a pure monochromatic improvisation.The piece will remain on view through April 8th.
Mark Dean Veca attended Otis Art Institute (now Otis College of Art and Design). Veca is the recipient of New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in painting three times and has done residencies for institutions such as the Bronx Museum, the MacDowell Colony, and Villa Montalvo. Veca has exhibited throughout the United states, Europe, and Japan at institutions such as The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, PS 1 Contemporary Art Center, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Bronx Muesum of The Arts, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. www.markdeanveca.com/
Rachel Hayes and Jiha Moon
Chutes and Tears
April 15th-May 6th 2011
Sculptor Rachel Hayes and Painter Jiha Moon have been collaborating since 2007 when they met at Art Omi International Artists Residency. There are many dualities within their collaboration; Jiha’s bold and delicate brushstrokes are painted and embedded within Rachel’s sculptural panels sewn out of fabrics and hanji paper. There is balance found in the graphic structures, sewn grids, gestural mark-making and fluid form. Chutes and Tears is a landscape unfolding and revealing itself as one walks past the windows of The LAB Gallery.
Rachel Hayes earned a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has had solo exhibitions and projects with BravinLee Programs/NYC Downtown Alliance – New York, Dolphin Gallery – Kansas City, MO, Shaw Center for the Arts – Baton Rouge, LA, Solvent Space – Richmond, VA, LAB Gallery – New York, and Roswell Museum and Art Center – Roswell, NM. Group exhibitions include the Sculpture Center, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Indianapois Museum of Contemporary Art, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Grand Arts, and Fakespace LA. Awards and Residencies include Sculpture Space Residency, Art Omi International Residency, Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship in Sculpture. Most recently she was awarded the Augustus Saint-Gaudens Memorial Fellowship in Sculpture, which concluded with a solo show in Cornish, NH. Rachel Hayes currently lives and works in Kansas City, MO. www.rachelbhayes.com
Jiha Moon received her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa in 2002. Her work has been showcased at premier New York venues including Asia Society and Museum, The Drawing Center, and White Columns. Her work has featured in Vantage Point VII: Turbulent Utopia, Jiha Moon at Mint Museum (Charlotte, NC 2008), and has been showcased in recent exhibitions at Mary Ryan Gallery , Moti Hasson Gallery and Miki Wik Kim Contemporary. She has been selected for international residencies at Art Omi, Acadia Summer Art Program, MacDowell colony, Singapore Tyler Print Institute through the Asia Society, Moon’s work is in the collections at Smithsonian Institute, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; Asia Society and Museum, New York; Mint Museum, North Carolina; and the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Virginia. Jiha Moon currently lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. www.jihamoon.com/
Curator: Ed Rubin
May 13th-June 3rd 2011
For her first exhibition in New York City, Paris based artist Anne Ferrer brings her nomadic sensorial sculptures to The LAB. The artist’s feeling of being foreign and never home, anywhere, inspired her to create an organically inspired installation that would be transportable in a suitcase. The result, Billowing Beauty, is a lush and sensuous, sensitive and bold, mysteriously animated, Parisian soufflé. Comprised of five exuberantly colored, giant, hand-sewn modules; the installation, breathes, grows, and evolves in slow motion, to the ‘lighter than air’ music of Los Angeles based composer Carol Worthey. This ‘live ballet’ brings a continuous element of chaos, surprise and joy, like a floating bubble, or a shimmering shrine, to one of the busiest avenues in New York City.
Anne Ferrer who lives and works in Paris comes from a Catalan family and has grown up in small rural town in south France. She has studied in the US, receiving her BFA from Oklahoma University and her MFA from Yale (1988). Ferrer has shown at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2002), the Centre Pompidou (2005), France, the Blue Star, San Antonio Texas (2009), the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1996), the Ho Ham Museum in Seoul, la Casa de Americas in Madrid, the French Institute in Rome and Naples, etc, and has recently built a monumental installation for the Dumbo Art Festival in Brooklyn. She has collaborated with Perfumers (International Flavors and Fragrances) as well as pastry chef Jean Paul Hevin, for her multi-sensorial sculptures. www.anneferrer.com
Composer Carol Worthey combines elements of classical, jazz and world music into an expressive, playful mix that soars and breathes with life and color. Inspired by family friend Leonard Bernstein Carol began composing at three and a half and had a piano work performed in Carnegie Hall when she was ten. Mentored by the likes of Darius Milhaud, Vincent Persichetti, Walter Piston and Otto Luening, she won First Prize in Composition at Columbia and expanded her dimensions at a jazz/arranging school. Her award-winning music has been heard in England, Italy, France, Germany, China, Japan, Mexico, Canada, and throughout the United States. She lives in Los Angeles where she is writing a book on the art of composing. www.carolworthey.com
Ximena Garnica and Shige Moriya
June 10-24th 2011
Uncovering is a two-part performance-installation that explores human fear, how it affects our humanity, defines personality and constructs society.
During the first two weeks of the show a group of butoh dancers will fill The LAB with 365 umbrellas collected from New Yorker’s during an online campaign titled “Uncovered: surrendering your protection umbrella”. Through a series of performances, the gallery will be transformed from an empty white box to a mass of umbrellas, mirroring a fear-based society of irrational individuals. Throughout the final week of the show the space will once again be transformed by a daily four-hour performance of Garnica. The performer battles between the creation of protective mechanisms and the surrendering of it. The body is then expose and vulnerable. It emerges present in the space as it sheds away its fears.
Over two weeks, Uncovering progresses from the construction of a frantic society to the reconciliation of personal fear as an act of revitalization of humanity.
Ximena Garnica is a Colombian-born interdisciplinary choreographer and artist. She received a B.A. in theater arts with a minor in multimedia studies from the City College of New York. In 2006 she graduated from Akira Kasai’s Tenshikan Dance Institute in Tokyo. Ms. Garnica is active as a curator and producer. She has been awarded with the 2010 Bessie Schonberg Individual Choreographers Residency at the Yard and has been recognized with the prestigious Van Lier Fellowship for young Hispanic directors in New York. Her work has been presented nationally and internationally in Japan, Spain, France, The Netherlands, Mexico and Colombia. She is Co Director of the Brooklyn base art space CAVE and of The New York Butoh Festival. Garnica lives in Brooklyn and leads ongoing training in dance and performance at CAVE. www.ximenagarnica.net
Shige Moriya is a Japanese born video and installation artist. He studied architecture at Kinki University in Osaka. He has been awarded with the 2009 Armani Design Award of the Robert Wilson Watermill Center. In 1996 he co-founded CAVE as a space for the development of experimental and interdisciplinary art in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. For ten years he was curator of CAVE gallery program (1996-2006). Much of Moriya’s work is performed live in interdisciplinary environments, in collaboration with musicians, dancers and other visual artists. His work has been presented in galleries and theaters in Japan, Finland, Vietnam, Germany, France, Amsterdam, Spain, Colombia, Mexico and the United States. www.leimay.org
July 8th-September 2nd 2011
Helen’s work is rooted in the built world of the urban environment. She uses architecture to develop her layered drawings, which are entwined into the photographic process and directly used as negatives to create photographic drawings.
Using the space at The LAB Gallery, Helen will push the concept of her process further. Through manipulation of the space, she will project the outside environment directly into the exhibition space, turning it into a camera obscura. From within, her drawings will unfold to engulf the space and thus, magnify the nuances of urban life. The passage of time and movement on the streets outside will be depicted as Helen’s drawings grow over the duration of the project.
Helen Dennis was born in the UK and now resides in Brooklyn, NY. She studied her BA (Honors) at the University of the Creative Arts in Canterbury and achieved her MFA at Hunter College in 2005. Dennis has been awarded a fellowship from Aljira Center for Contemporary Art as well as a photographic fellowship from The International House, NYC. Dennis has attended art residencies in Beijing, Cyprus and most recently Iceland. She has participated in various exhibitions worldwide and in the US with the support of Queens Council of the Arts, Kent County Council, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, South East Arts UK and the National Lottery Arts Fund for the UK. Dennis’ public art installations have been commissioned by the Downtown Alliance of New York, and NoLongerEmpty. www.helendennis.com
Passing by a Bunch of Beetles Preparing Their Gracious Dinner Party
September 9-30th 2011
This installation is a three dimensional translation of a real life vision, like an illustration from a children’s book. Jongil Ma will create a forest -like enclave, inhabited by a troupe of enlarged and fantastical beetles. A wolf will be watching the beetles as they prepare for their large dinner party.
Jongil Ma received a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2002. He has participated in public art projects sponsored by the Ministry of Culture & Tourism of Korea in Kwangju and Damyang respectively. He has had a solo exhibition at The LAB Gallery in Manhattan and participated in Jamaica Flux: Workspaces & Windows at Jamaica Center For Arts & Learning in Queens, LMCC Governors Island Project in 2010. His work has been featured in international exhibitions including the 2009 International Incheon Women Artist’s Biennale in Korea and he participated in the Lodz Biennale 2010 in Poland. He will be participating in the AIM Bienial Exhibition in the Bronx Museum in June and a Group show in the Islip Art Museum in May, 2011. His awards have included the INC Visual Arts Award from the AHL Foundation and a Fellowship from Socrates Sculpture Park. www.majongil.com
October 7-28th 2011
Kata Mejia is a performance artist with a background in painting and dance who lives and works in Philadelphia. She graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a Masters degree in Performance in 2004. She received her BFA from Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Medellin. She has been awarded several grants and scholarships, including the James Nelson Raymond Fellowship in 2004, the Trustee Scholarship from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, a Colombian Government Scholarship for Graduate Studies abroad, and a Graduate Studies Scholarship from Universidad Nacional de Colombia in 2002. Kata Mejía received a 2009 Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. www.katamejia.com
November 4-25th 2011
A London based group of artists will present an installation consisting of 101 individual screen works by 42 artists. Each of the works is silent and of 101 seconds (1′ 41″) duration; they include animation, live action, sequential stills, written text and computer-generated image. Each of these will be screened on one of numerous monitors positioned throughout the gallery to be viewed from the street.
Initiated and overseen by London based artists Sophie Loss and Joanna Hill, The 101NY project began with 23 screen pieces shown at The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds in March 2010. The success of this encouraged the group to expand the project by inviting an open submission for new works, with the same time specification as the only constraint.
Working in various disciplines but sharing a common intention to experiment, and to extend their usual practice, a group of artists came together as AMBruno. Initially this exploration focused on the medium of artists’ books; of which a number are in private and major public collections, including those of the Tate and the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Hyong Nam Ahn
Curator: SooJung Hyun
December 2nd 2011-January 6th 2012
In “The Dehumanization of Art (1925)” Spanish philosopher, Ortega y Gasset looks at the intrinsic conflicts of modernity. He discusses the rapid spread of civilized life, industrialization and mass production with an emphasis on maintaining an equal balance between the spiritual and societies material realities.
The work of Hyong Nam Ahn confronts similar concerns, as well as ones like those explored in T.S. Eliot’s poem, “The Dry Salvages” Through the use of fluorescent tube lighting, Ahn’s work functions as a symbol of the intense, arduous struggle that is the human condition. His work gives us a message of healing, “The River is within us.”
The Dry Salvages (No. 3 of ‘Four Quartets’)
The river is within us, the sea is all about us;
The sea is the land’s edge also, the granite
Into which it reaches, the beaches where it tosses
Its hints of earlier and other creation:
The starfish, the horseshoe crab, the whale’s backbone;
The pools where it offers to our curiosity
The more delicate algae and the sea anemone.
It tosses up our losses, the torn seine,
The shattered lobsterpot, the broken oar
And the gear of foreign dead men.
The sea has many voices,
Many gods and many voices.
The salt is on the briar rose,
The fog is in the fir trees.
Hyong Nam Ahn has lived and worked in the United States since 1973. He holds an MFA (1980) in Sculpture with Kinetics and a BFA (1978) in Painting & Experimental Art from School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has worked in the fields of sculpture, installation, and public art installation.He earned Illinois Project Completion Grant (1982), Wiebolt Artist Contest, Gold Key Award Scholastic National Drawing Contest, First Prize Award (1974). He has shown in many solo and group exhibitions in Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Tweed Museum; MN, Jamaica Cultural Center in New York, and IHN Gallery (Korea). www.hyongnamahn.com