Press Release (pdf)
Sep 20, 2019 – Oct 20, 2019
Animals elicit human’s interest through their simultaneous estrangement from and congruence with ourselves. They mark continuity: they are what we evolved from. But they also mark rupture: the seemingly fundamental disconnect between humanity and the rest of the natural world. The artists in this show work within these connected aporias and contradictions. They employ a wide range of concepts, styles, techniques, and mediums to explore, express, and understand the creatures with whom we share the world. Much of the work is figurative, with nods towards abstraction, fantasy, and science-fiction as well.
Some of the work examines how, from our earliest recorded history onwards, animals have been employed in fairytales and allegories, possessing both a life of their own, and being used as an instrument for humankind’s intellectual and moral expression. Updating this long tradition, a number of artists deftly weaved what we usually consider more anthropomorphic concerns such as feminism, consumption, and disgust, into their practice. The work ranges across mediums well. Some, as our juror Alina Cohen noted, “used clay to convey animal elements. Assemblage also seems to be in right now—I saw some clear threads, in line with what's up at the Whitney Biennial, that Rauschenberg's influence is as strong as ever on contemporary artists.” While formal techniques and mediums vary, each work, in its own way, attempts to grapple with exceedingly complex, strange, and important relationship humanity has with the animal kingdom.
About the Juror:
Alina Cohen is a staff writer at Artsy. She has written on a freelance basis for The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Art in America, New York Magazine, Hyperallergic, and a number of other publications. She previously worked at Nadine Johnson, The Pulitzer Arts Foundation, and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.
Jessica Alazraki, Florence Alfano McEwin, Ry An, Maggy Aston, Molly Aubry, Deana Bada Maloney, Mary Ball, Linda-Marlena Bucholtz Ross, Jin Yong Choi, Dan Cohen, Kelly Duffield, Katherine Earle, Lauren Goldenberg, Alison Haselbeck, Cheryl Hochberg, Trish Igo, Wendell Jeffrey, Barbara Johansen Newman, Jody Joldersma, Molly Kaderka, Sahar Kubba, Brandon Lowery, Tommy Mavra, Leah Netsky, Maureen O'Hara Ure, Jill O'Brien, Miller Opie, Eva Redamonti, Jamie Rodriguez, Anya Rosen, Bahar Sabzevari, Leslie Schomp, Francesca Schwartz, Karina Serapio-Rendon, Mary Sweeney, Brian Turkowski, Win Zibeon