The Arts at Trinity Church Wall Street and Phenomena Project are pleased to present a new group exhibition.
All Insignificant Things Must Disappear
The Social Sphere and the Post Economic Landscape
Opening reception for artists and public – Friday, November 12, 2010 - 6-8 pm
Organization; artist and curator Darren Jones
exhibition concept by Madina Stepanchenko
The global economy while rarely stable has undergone a recent seismic shift. This almost unprecedented crisis has opened up a range of social and cultural consequences that we are still struggling to comprehend. All Insignificant Things Must Disappear is an attempt to uncover new ways of thinking about what has become an encompassing event. A dynamic group of thirteen international artists will present their work within this context. London based Jo Wilmot’s lush, degrading environments melt off the canvas to expose the artifice beneath; Ryan Roa examines the functionality of consumer products, raising them to new levels of desirability while Sandra Eula Lee’s innovative and effective footwear offers a way for us all to keep track of where we may be going next. Elsewhere in this exhibition Jo Yarrington engages with the fabric of Trinity Church through light and image, Slavs and Tatars take a reflective approach and Joseph Farbrook invites you inside his head.Having broken out beyond the confines of the financial world the consequences of this event have affected a wholesale re-evaluation of our individual and collective existence. How we engage with our altered circumstances today, will affect our successes and failures tomorrow within this tentative new landscape. Artists, so often acting as barometers for society’s evolution have a role to play in navigating this latest challenge. By offering alternative ways of seeing the volatility of recent times, All Insignificant Things Must Disappear aims to foster discussion and consideration for the road ahead.
November 13th - December 31st 2010
Gallery hours - Mon-Fri 9:00-11:45; 12:45-5:00 - Sat. 9:00-3:45 - Sun. 12:45-3:45
Trinity Museum (inside Trinity Church)
Broadway at Wall Street
Nearest Subways: Rector Street (R.W.1.) Wall Street (188.8.131.52)
In conjunction with the exhibition All Insignificant Things Must Disappear Trinity Wall Street and Phenomena Project present a panel discussion.
The Nature of Creativity
How do we become conscious of our own creativity; how does one foster and employ it for the benefit of ourselves and society as a whole? Composed of representatives from the financial, art and theological worlds the panel will discuss if and how each of us can unlock creativity within various aspects of our lives so that who we are and what we do can participate in the very nature of creation itself. It’s how we evolve, how we push boundaries and ultimately it is at the core of how we grow.
The discussion will take place at Trinity Church in early December - More information to follow.
The Origin of Things
Almost two years ago in January 2009 I was fortunate enough to accompany Joachim Pissarro to the Queens Biennial at the Queens Museum of Art. I was trying to take in all that was going on around me; listening to the comments of the museum director and attempting to comprehend what the artists wanted to convey with their art, all of them eager to share their ideas with us. In that creative and cacophonous environment I turned away for a second to see an inscription on the wall across the gallery; clear black letters against a white background, as if engraved, “all insignificant things must disappear”. In that instant, time seemed to stop and the sounds around me faded.
When questions accumulate and answers are not clear, as happened for example when the recent financial crisis hit, the central points that people want to understand are: “how did this happen?” “When will this end”, and “is there anything that will improve the situation sooner?” A journalist at heart, I began searching for answers. Using familiar methods I investigated various sources of information, held conversations with experts and read various reports.
Often, as a result of my research, something clicks and I am able to reach some insight into the topic I am examining. In this particular case, however, it was difficult to gain clarity. If it were a more personal matter I could have looked within myself or sought spiritual guidance. But it was not clear how to address an issue with such far-reaching and global implications as the current state of the economy.
At this point, an idea came to me from a conversation I had read about. It was between two great Russian artists - Ivan Shishkin and Arkhip Kuinji. They came to the conclusion that “art is the religion of the future”. How true. Let us only think of the artist who is focused from dusk until dawn on the oeuvre he’s creating.
This thought was reaffirmed to me: art can, under the right circumstances allow us to understand the great themes and mysteries of life. What if we were to utilize the vision and responses of artists and apply those to the post-crisis landscape as a flow of information? What if, immersing ourselves in their creativity we were able to discover a way to evolve beyond our current position?
The moment passed and the noise returned. Pissarro and his group were moving on to the next art work. Gaining his attention, I inquired about the inscription and its author. He replied to me that it was the work of an artist he knew, Darren Jones, and that I should meet him. It was at that moment when this exhibition All Insignificant Things Must Disappear began to form.
Madina Stepanchenko is a journalist and the founder of Phenomena Project.
All Insignificant Things Must Disappear
Exhibition essay by David Carrier
In the 1990s, when I flew to Manhattan to write art criticism, my favorite hotel was the Millennium Hilton at 55 Church Street. On weekends, emptied of its usual clientele, downtown business people, it was affordable. And it had a fifth floor indoor pool, which allowed me to do laps on Sunday morning overlooking St Paul’s Chapel of Trinity Church, which is at Broadway and Fulton Street. In a very commercial neighborhood, it was wonderful to see this old building, the longest in continuous public use in Manhattan, which was dwarfed by the hotel and the other neighboring skyscrapers. Built in 1766 it is one of the few reminders of the city’s past in that neighborhood. There is a small cemetery behind the church building. When you became a repeat visitor to the Hilton, you could ask for a room forty floors up, near the top. The views were great, for the World Trade Center was just across the street, and late at night you could see the traffic moving quickly towards uptown. I published an essay, “The Aesthete in the City” in Arts Magazine in which I reflected upon this situation. No doubt comparing my entry from Newark into lower Manhattan to John Ruskin’s travels to Italy was a little pretentious. What interested me, still, and remains, I think of lasting fascination, is the relationship between visual art and the places where it is viewed. I never walked east to Wall Street, but always went north to the Chelsea and mid-town galleries. But it wasn’t hard to understand the immediate relationship between nearby Wall Street finance and the art world. In Chelsea, an upscale shop offered fifty dollar tea, which is now closed and at Commes des Garçons on Twenty-Second Street, which is as posh architecturally as the grandest galleries, you could look at three hundred dollar t-shirts and six hundred dollar blue jeans. The boom economy made possible the grand galleries, which soon filled the side streets from Seventeenth to Twenty-Ninth Streets between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues. If you worked on Wall Street, you could stop to buy something on your way home. Our most influential academic scholars of late modernist and contemporary art are Marxists. And so there always was a clear contradiction between the obvious dependence of this commercial market upon the Wall Street boom and the leftist worldview of these writers. Soon after 9.11, I saw a show of Richard Serra’s torqued ellipses. Earlier Rosalind Krauss and her colleagues publishing October, who identified him as a leftist artist who revealed the manipulative nature of American capitalism, had championed him. But his massive 1990s sculptures were art that only billionaires could afford to collect and which only the grandest museums had the space to display. In any event, in late Fall, 2001 their menacing high walls seemed a perfect artistic commentary on the recent disaster. The recent grand economic era is over, and so now the art world needs to rethink basics. Such exhibitions as “Lucky Number Seven, SITE Santa Fe Seventh International Biennial Exhibition 2008” and of course the 2010 Whitney Biennial, self-consciously low-key displays are one response to this novel situation. “All Insignificant Things Must Disappear” is another. Now when our galleries and museums aren’t so rich, they need to become more ingenious. The relationship between artistic originality and finance is complex. In the early seventeenth-century many northern artists moved to Rome, which then was prosperous. But by the late eighteenth-century, Paris was an important art center, and Rome a backwater. But then the defeat of France by Prussia in 1871 did not cause the art world to move to Berlin. Degas, who copied Dinner at the Ball by his German contemporary Adolph Menzel, is the greater artist. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the center of the art world was in Paris. Then after World War Two, it moved to Manhattan. To some extent, then, art follows the money, which is why so many Mainland Chinese artists recently have been exhibited in Chelsea. Exhibition catalogue essays have to be written before the show goes up, which creates one obvious problem: You need to imagine the effect of the installation before you see it. One reason that I look forward to this exhibition is that I am immensely curious to see how these artists respond to this pregnant site, which is so intimately linked into the recent history of America.
David Carrier is the Champney Family Professor of Art with a joint appointment at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Art.
Some Thoughts on This Exhibition and the Arts.
Essay by (Rev) John Moody
The arts are in the vanguard of civilization, according to Suzanne Langer, the great philosopher and aesthetician of the 20th Century. Visual art catches up our past and present and pushes and urges us into the future. Artists are out there as forward observers making virtual reality out of their experience, envisioning beauty, and reforming and reshaping their world into new horizons that we shall encounter. This is a heavy responsibility and one which is easily subverted or manipulated for transitory gain. To discern authenticity is the task of the viewer and one which is aided by those who are gifted in bringing together the work of artists around relevant and timely themes. In this exhibition, All Insignificant Things Must Disappear, Darren Jones has identified and assembled selected artists who address the present economic climate. We present this selection in this venerable institution in the midst of Wall Street, itself a nexus of the world’s economy. We do this, I truly pray, without hubris and as part of that band who seek to uncover truth and reality in ways that are fresh and challenging. This is a proper role of the artist, the seer, the shaman, the theologian. At best, all are truth tellers and they open doors and windows for us. By viewing these works by gifted artists addressing this theme in this place at this time, we hope that quite another reality begins to dawn. Creativity is an aspect of all our lives. As a culture we have too often related creativity to the arts alone and assigned it to a non-essential role in our lives and culture. But, as we are sentient beings, creativity is an engine of our progress and development. It is central to all of our works and interests. It is when we take what is and pushing the edges, develop something new. It involves us as participants in our work, our studies and our recreation; our inner and spiritual life. We could say that creativity is what drives the evolution of the species. Christian theologians among others might say that creativity enables us to be co-creators, participants in the ongoing drama of all that is. This makes even our seemingly infinitesimal lives and the choices we make, of importance and significance. It is the arts that help to uncover these truths and mysteries. It is a gift to be involved with Phenomena Art Project and all at Trinity Church as we make this exhibition a reality.
The Rev. John W. Moody, Visual Arts Chair The Arts Committee of Trinity Wall Street