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Make-Shift-Future, curated by Elliott Hundley
March 27 - May 22
Curated by Elliott Hundley
March 27 – May 22, 2021
Gallery hours by appointment: Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Regen Projects presents Make-Shift-Future, a group exhibition curated by Elliott Hundley, featuring Kevin Beasley, Elaine Cameron-Weir, rafa esparza, Max Hooper Schneider, Eric N. Mack, Alicia Piller, Eric-Paul Riege, and Kandis Williams.
“I am interested in studying ancient literature because, like speculative fiction, it can massage loose the underpinnings of our attachments to pervasive contemporary mythologies, so that we might gain a clearer view of ourselves and reveal the blind spots. So many blind spots.
Collage and assemblage function similarly by transposing tactile and familiar signs and symbols into new disquieting and uncanny situations. The medium, for much of its history, has scavenged for the discarded, broken, and disused. In this age of abundant material commerce, the predicted age of peak oil, we no longer need to wait to root through the trash. Objects are produced at such a staggering rate, that the time they spend in our lives is forever fleeting on the way to the landfill (tomorrow’s mine). These artists gather objects, valued and valueless, new and used, from their own material worlds. With the stuff of an ever-speeding present at hand, this current moment increasingly feels like the past.
This exhibition brings together the work of eight emergent American artists who exploit this excess materiality of global commerce to mine history, to attune us to the meaning and artifacts of other people’s lives, and, I believe, to point to potential futures. Though informed and formed by history, they reject any nostalgia. Like Edith and Sodom or Orpheus and Eurydice, there is no looking back!
As assemblage art is assimilated into the canon (see contemporary mythology) it hybridizes and folds back on the more traditional plastic arts. The work in this exhibition includes the full spectrum of the found and the fabricated, and in most cases those distinctions are softened again through artistry. The labor of the artist seems always relevant, intermingled with the labor that produced these original objects in the first place. Did they make this stitch or that one? The intensity of the artist’s hand and this doubling of the making of these objects lend them their charge.
As with an artwork in the studio, unexpected meanings and connections reveal themselves in exhibitions. Seeing these works together, what emerged was a particular concern for the body and protecting it in different stages of life. The incubator, the skin, clothing, shoes, blankets, armor: What will we put on to keep us safe? What will we carry to keep us safe? What will help us in the future? What will liberate us?”
— Elliott Hundley
In preparing this text, I asked each artist how their work might speculate about possible futures. Here are some excerpts from their responses:
MHS: “The future is always present, always on its way, its specificities only characterizable when a thinker arbitrarily stops time and performs a fossilizing gesture—or produces a work of art.”
ENM: “The futures will deal with our waste, what we leave behind. Our present frivolities, material and emotional, may speak for us as points of expression. Hopefully new freedoms will inspire an outward glance to restructure beauty.”
KW: “What would abolition look like if Anna Murray Douglass was where she should be? What would concert music sound like if Nina Simone were positioned where she should be? What would the world look like if Black women were believed?”
re: “My Nike shoe reconstructions offer the possibility of liberation and healing from specters of violence that have historically marginalized and criminalized Black and brown youth especially as it pertains to how we fashion ourselves.”
AP: “Stripping away layers, centuries of culture, race and gender binaries, this work specifically speaks to the evolution of the mind. Literally peeling away the skin to find the truth that is underneath, our humanness.”
EPR: “‘HEAT thru from a pillow or a splinter filing a wrinkle thats a lil Shy..Dam..has it been this
place all the time or was that blanket warm enough ? [//__//] [|-|] = AND then the hide
scrubbed clean and the shield didnt break anymore. . Burnt Water AZ—the pillow has
been in that place all the time’ — HÓLÓ
blankets have warmed us for a long time why not just keep making MORE. Make a
blanket for a blanket—they get cold 2 .”
Kevin Beasley (b. 1985 Lynchburg, VA; lives and works in New York, NY)
Elaine Cameron-Weir (b. 1985 Red Deer, Alberta, Canada; lives and works in New York, NY)
rafa esparza (b. 1981 Los Angeles, CA; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA)
Max Hooper Schneider (b. 1982 Los Angeles, CA; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA)
Eric N. Mack (b. 1987 Columbia, MD; lives and works in New York, NY)
Alicia Piller (b. 1982 lives and works in Los Angeles, CA)
Eric-Paul Riege (b. 1994 Gallup, NM; lives and works in Gallup, NM)
Kandis Williams (b. 1985 Baltimore, MD; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA)
Regen Projects is open by appointment only. Make a reservation to visit the exhibition here.
Image: Kandis Williams, candyman urban threat modeling, becky, karen, nike, athena: a future foreclosed to all but king kong and faye wray, 2020