At the Annual Meeting, members will have an opportunity to hear presentations on acquisition finalists, and then vote on a work for the SCA to purchase for the Art Institute of Chicago’s permanent collection.
The Acquisition Committee of the Society for Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago is pleased to announce the five acquisition finalists for 2017: a triptych by Charles Gaines; a painting by Jutta Koether; a film by David Lamelas; a selection of photographs by Josephine Pryde; and a sculpture by Cameron Rowland.
An exhibition of the acquisition finalists will be on view in the Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago May 27 – August 15, 2017.
On May 31, Society for Contemporary Art members will be invited to hear presentations and will select two works to purchase this year. Please be aware that you must be a member in good standing to vote. Couples may share a single membership vote. Absentee ballots will only be available May 30th and 31st. Please contact the SCA at 312-443-3630 for more information on absentee ballots.
Sponsored by Sotheby’s
American, born 1944, active in Los Angeles
Walnut Tree Orchard: Set 9, 1975-2014
Black-and-white photograph, ink on paper
Three parts, 31 3/4 x 25 1/2 inches each (framed)
Courtesy of the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery
For over 40 years, Charles Gaines has created rigorous, rule-based photographs, drawings, and prints to reveal systems of order and meaning. As a leading exponent of Conceptual art in the 1970s, he created serialized representative images based on exacting, self-imposed constraints. His works use dense grids of hand-drawn lines, numbers, and colors to demonstrate methodical ways of realizing forms such as trees and the human body. His arbitrary yet exhaustive processes provide alternative ways of representing universally known images, thereby investigating their visual content and potential meaning.
For Walnut Tree Orchard, Gaines photographed 26 barren trees in a documentary fashion then devised systems to map each organic shape on hand-drawn grid on paper. In the first drawing, the unique form is painstakingly drawn as an outline and thus generalized into an iconic “tree” in flattened space. For the third and final representation, the tree is sequentially plotted with others that have come before it in the series—in this case, the ninth with the first eight. With quiet restraint, visual precision, exacting marks, and mathematical sequencing, Gaines depicts this seemingly familiar natural form with unexpected curiosity, neutrality, and richness.
German, born 1958, active in New York and Berlin
A Bar at … #5, (feat. a Bar, AM-painting, Pain Bottle, Man, Bruised Grid, Infiniti, Balls, Spectator), 2013
Acrylic, pastel, pencil, and metallic paint on canvas; Dibond; wooden shelf
48 x 72 1/4 x 2 1/3 inches (painting)
5 3/4 x 6 x 118 inches (shelf)
Courtesy of the artist and Bortolami Gallery
For over 30 years, Jutta Koether has worked as a painter, performance artist, musician, writer, and theoretician. She engages and challenges the canonical male figures of painting through a distinctive perspective that is at once decidedly irreverent, self-reflective, allegorical, and gendered. Always attentive to questions of staging and contingency, Koether has hung paintings from the ceiling or on floating glass panels, and she frequently experiments with lighting conditions. From early on she understood painting as, in her words, “a platform, a potential, an island, a lifeboat, a discipline to negotiate life.”
A Bar at . . . #5 comprises a painting and a mirror that simultaneously rest on a shelf and lean against the wall. Koether’s canvas reimagines Édouard Manet’s renowned A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882; Courtauld Gallery, London), in which a barmaid stands behind a marble bar, backed by a long mirror, and seems to gaze pensively out into the space of the viewer; a male figure, which could be the subject of her gaze, appears as a reflection behind her. In Koether’s reworking of this masterwork, the subject is now naked, and the confrontation is directly with the viewer. Koether holds a mirror to us as its spectators, who are implicated into the work’s content through our own act of looking.
Argentine, born 1946, active in Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, and Paris
A Study of the Relationships between Inner and Outer Space, 1969
16mm black-and-white film, sound; 19:35 min. loop
Courtesy of the artist, Jan Mot, and Sprüth Magers
A central figure in the emergence of Conceptual art in the 1960s, David Lamelas has used sculpture, film, and photography to analyze how meaning is constructed within certain social, political, and historical contexts. The artist has said that he works “as a response to the conditions of life in which I function at a particular moment and location.”
A Study of the Relationships between Inner and Outer Space, Lamelas’s first film, was produced for an exhibition at the Camden Arts Centre in London in 1969. Employing a documentary format, Lamelas initially focuses on employees at the center, as a curator, gallery attendant, and custodian each describes his or her job. He then proceeds from a presentation of the center’s physical boundaries and day-to-day operations to an exploration of the various neighborhoods, demographic makeup, and climate of London. He also interviews passersby about a major event occurring on the day of the filming, which happened to be the launching of the Apollo 10 mission, and the prospect of the first man landing on the moon—asking his subjects whether they would be surprised if the first man on the moon turned out to be black. In connecting this small arts institution to its specific time and place, Lamelas not only merges “inner and outer space,” but also presents a powerful demonstration of the inextricable interconnectedness of art and life, and of all our lives.
English, born 1967, active in London and Berlin
Dimmable Lights Level 2, 2014 (one of 10)
10 C-prints, 31 ¼ x 24 2/3 inches each (framed)
Courtesy of the artist and Reena Spaulings Fine Art
Since the early 1990s, Josephine Pryde has produced subtle yet provocative photographs and sculptures that at once incorporate and elude the conventional applications of these media. Pryde’s photographic practice is essentially interrogative, as she applies a female perspective to subjects that in many cases represent and use women, including motherhood, beauty, consumer culture, and tourism. Produced in series, her images appear to be informal but are decisively staged, drawing consciously or otherwise from advertising and fashion photography as well as from documentary, snapshot, and historical modes.
This group of closely cropped images comes from an ongoing series (currently comprising 36 works) that focuses on hands, an expressive pictorial convention, capturing subjects in the midst of making gestures or holding consumer items. Along with the phrase Für Mich (for me), which appears in multiple titles, the heightened sense of touch in the photographs emphasizes desire, self-identification, and a personal connection to the products. Nail color and gesture are specific and individualized, recalling not only the way advertisers idealize and commodify the body but also the way wearers choose colors for purposes of fashion or self-expression. Formally, the nail varnish helps draw attention to the point of contact between the hands and the object they are holding, of particular interest to Pryde. Variations in nail color, ordinary imperfections, signs of age, oddly placed electric cords, and wet surfaces are examples of how Pryde employs subtle irreverence to interrogate the photographic medium and its applications. These are not polished advertisements promoting physical perfection but rather meditations on beauty, aging, and individuality.
American, born 1988, active in New York
Lashing bars, Lloyd’s Register certificates
102 x 96 x 11 ½ inches
Courtesy of the artist and Essex Street
Lloyd’s of London monopolized the marine insurance of the slave trade by the early 18th Century. Lloyd’s Register was established in 1760 as the first classification society in order to provide insurance underwriters information on the quality of vessels. The classification of the ship allows for a more accurate assessment of its risk. Lloyd’s Register and other classification societies continue to survey and certify shipping vessels and their equipment. Lashing equipment physically secures goods to the deck of the ship, while its certification is established to insure the value of the goods regardless of their potential loss.