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2019-2020 Exhibitions

The Unbearable Impermanence of Things

This exhibition presents work by contemporary artists whose projects incorporate ideas and aesthetics from nineteenth-century naturalism and natural history. The featured artists focus, in particular, on the pervasive yearning to arrest and preserve nature in the face of inexorable change and decay. In representing the impermanent as stable, the study of nature became an antidote to mortality. Through their exploration of these themes and tropes, the artists demonstrate and problematize the near-universal desire to create stable understandings of things and phenomena that are ever in flux.

“The Art Happens Here: Net Art’s Archival Poetics”

presents sixteen artworks selected from Net Art Anthology (anthology.rhizome.org), a major online exhibition charting the history of net art through one hundred key works. Organized by the New Museum’s affiliate Rhizome, “The Art Happens Here” culminates this two-year research and preservation initiative.
More than just the creative use of the internet, net art involves diverse practices that “happen” via encounters among users and machines on and through networks. Its live, performative quality means that questions regarding its archival status often emerge—at the point of a work’s creation, when it is taken up by an institution, or in response to changing technological circumstances. How can net art be made to last without losing its variability? How can it be reperformed and recirculated as network contexts change? How can we note its absence or loss?

Faith Wilding: Natural Parables

The magical work of life-making and world-making lies at the core of human existence and imaginative creation. From this sacred space emerges Natural Parables, a series by prolific artist-activist Faith Wilding. Natural Parables uses imagery from her native Paraguay to explore  themes of alchemy, dreams, goddess-lore, botany, mythology, feminist theory, women’s histories, and environmentalism.

Originally created in the 1970s, Wilding revisited Natural Parables in 2017 after returning to Paraguay for the first time in several years to find the lush forests of her childhood almost completely destroyed. She has since begun working through the immeasurable loss of Paraguay’s unique environment through art making.  Through the exhibition of these works, and in her collaborative performance with the local collective Hexus, Wilding encourages reflection and rediscovery as we reform our relationship to the natural world.

Placeholder: 2020 BFA Exhibition

Placeholder showcases the work of this year’s BFA seniors: Melia Ortiz, Daniel Goldstein, and Sofi Hailu. These artists take an experimental approach to their practice as they challenge their traditional ways of thinking and working. Through this experimentation, they have grown their artistic expressions and found ways to creatively explore concepts such as identity, nature, and belonging. Using the mediums of ceramics, photography, and animation these artists look at how people relate to themselves, others, and the earth.

Even as their work culminates in this exhibition, the artists continue to grapple with this need to build connections in light of necessary social distancing during this pandemic. It is important to acknowledge the effect these circumstances have on creative expression. However, Ortiz, Goldstein, and Hailu believe that art can provide an outlet for emotions they are experiencing during isolation, and it has provided them with new perspectives on their work. The viewers are invited to explore this showcase virtually and use art as a means to connect with themselves, the earth, and others through the art.