October 26, 2012

Peter Scott's two-part disappearance and James Siena's Sometimes

Part two of Peter Scott's exhibit "Pardon Our Disappearance" is on view at  Sometimes (works of art), painter James Siena's small gallery on a sixth floor space in Chinatown, through the end of the month. Questioning the idealized lifestyle displayed in luxury construction site banner and scaffolding ads, the exhibition examines how the environment has been transformed to suit the leisure economy. Work included in the exhibition documents the ephemeral nature of the development sites that have reshaped the city. "What may in the long run appear to be a fleeting moment in the perpetual reshaping of the city now represents the culmination of the effect of the boom years on its many neighborhoods," Scott writes in his project statement. "As a photographic record of this process, the photographs included in Pardon Our Disappearance, Part Two are part documentary and part conceptually based, an informal archive rooted in perceptual ideas."

Peter Scott, installation view of Distant Condo, Reflective Moment, Walk in Water, with Archival Material (Lego Farnsworth House). All images courtesy of Serra Sabuncuoglu.
After checking out Scott's work, I chatted briefly with Siena about the show, the space, and the artists Siena champions.

Samuel Jablon: When and why did you decide to open Sometimes (works of art)?

James Siena: It was in the fall of 2009, as the art world was at its nadir; galleries were closing, artists weren't selling, pessimism abounded. I decided the time was ripe for and artist-driven response to all this, and to make something happen outside the gallery system. Shows would be longer; there would be music or performances at the openings; events during the run of the show would be encouraged (readings, music, discussion), and the artist, if possible, would sit the gallery on the one day per week it would be open. That way, viewers would meet the person who made the work, thus encouraging a new kind of interaction.

SJ: I see the space as a place for conversations to emerge that reach beyond age, reputation, and career. It is a nicely tucked-away spot that seems to create a space that is not market driven. What are you looking for in an artist or their work when you invite them to exhibit?

JS: I have shown only artists who have been working in a mature phase of their work for at least two decades (most, if not all of the artists have been over fifty years of age). They are all, in my opinion, deserving of more attention than they have received. Some are old friends; some are people I've become aware of through friends and colleagues. My intention this season (my second, as in 2011 I was out of the country for four months) is to show some of the artists from the 2010 season a second time, reinforcing my conviction that their work merits continued attention and consideration.

SJ: Could you talk about the current show of Peter Scott's work, Walk on Water?

JS: Peter Scott is not only a highly accomplished visual artist who works at the boundary of conceptual art (but who makes highly charged object oriented works); he is also the director of carriage trade, a nonprofit gallery in Tribeca. I thought it would be a good thing to open the 2012 season with a show by someone who easily wears two hats (at least, as he is also an independent curator and writer), not only to underscore the complexities inherent in our practice as artists and members of a community, but to draw out links between our spaces. Serendipitously, it so happened that Peter also has a show up at Mieko Meguro's space, Gallery 3A, just a couple of blocks to the west, also on Canal Street, going towards carriage trade. Peter Scott's work speaks to the fragility of, and the contradictions between what appears to be real and what is the actual nature of contemporary society.

SJ: This type of interaction between artist-art-audience seems needed now, it steps away from the market, and actually looks at what this is all about in the first place. Could you talk about any up coming projects and events at the space?

JS: Upcoming: Dan Schmidt, new gouaches, opening November 7th. He's an artist whose work is deeply personal and almost hermetic, yet which draws on everyday forms and objects translated into shapes. He uses packaging and other anonymously made forms to reveal a visual reality that exists before our eyes, but that remains unnoticed. I'll also show Fred Valentine (who happens to own Valentine Gallery in Ridgewood), a painter of wide range, from domestic settings to charged portraits of snowmen and bears, and also Aura Rosenberg will show this season, revisiting her miniature porn paintings, as will Tim Maul, a conceptual photographer deeply concerned with a sense of place in the image. All of these artists had shows in the 2010 season, and I'm delighted they've agreed to show at Sometimes again.
Peter Scott, Walk in Water.
Peter Scott, Reflective Moment.
Peter Scott, Archival Material (Lego Farnsworth House).
Peter Scott, Distant Condo.
Peter Scott, installation view, Distant Condo, Reflective Moment, Walk in Water. 
"Peter Scott: Pardon Our Disappearance Part Two," Sometimes (works of art), Chinatown, New York, N.Y. 10002. Tthrough October 30th, 2012.

Related posts:
Slick digital in Wendy White's new work
Show of the week: James Siena At Pace Wildenstein
Marjorie Welish and James Siena: Doing and undoing


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