Artists Space


January 27 – March 17, 2001

Artists: Frank Benson, Steven Brower, David Henry Brown, Jr., Alain Bublex, The Butterflies of Love, Kate Howard, Janice Kerbel, Gees Krijnen, Matthieu Laurette

Perhaps the technological explosion, the constructed world of cyberspace and digital manipulation are to blame for the current, seemingly worldwide, obsession with "Real Life." There presently exists a notion that unedited, unscripted, reality is much more exciting than fiction or fantasy; in an age of exponentially expanding entertainment and information options, media presentations repeatedly offer us a window into the real world, however tedious, painful or palpably boring. It is within this context that Artists Space presents Really, a group exhibition of artists who consciously operate in the borders between reality and fantasy, art and life. Using video, sculpture, digital prints, photography and architectural drawings, the artists challenge notions of authenticity, provoking us to question the assumptions, institutions or established narratives that constitute our daily lives. Often using humor, they deliberately position the viewer in the realm of uncertainty.

Miami-based artist, Frank Benson, in a seemingly impromptu live video interview, convincingly recounts a story about his summer vacation, and particularly his relationship with his mother, a tale which sounds tall but might be true. Similarly, although created without digital or other manipulation, his color photographs cause a moment of skepticism-the viewer is left questioning their veracity.

Steven Brower challenges our desire to create belief systems that we can hold onto, or buy into, thereby wholeheartedly placing our trust in society and its institutions of power. In 50% A7L, Brower's recreation of an Apollo space suit to exactly one-half scale, the reality of the replication, and our knowledge that no child has yet walked on the moon, combine to confront our inherent knowledge systems and the propagandist nature of the US space program.

Known for his adoption of the persona of "Alex von Furstenberg" for his last solo exhibition in New York, David Henry Brown, Jr., here presents a piece from his Donald Trump series, whereby he became a true Trump fanatic and attempted to join the Donald's unannounced Presidential campaign. The question is "Who is more "real" in this photograph, the celebrity or the artist?" Will Donald reward his fan with an appearance at the exhibition opening?

French artist Alain Bublex trained at The Industrial Design School in Paris, and worked for eight years as a car designer for Renault before becoming an artist. Based on his knowledge of automobile history, Bublex has created an evolutionary study which recreates the "missing link" between the radical car designs of the 1930's, a revolutionary time for automobile architecture, and the, perhaps banal, cars of today. Laughably, his Aerofiat is based upon the Fiat 126, possibly one of the ugliest car designs of the 1970s.

The Butterflies of Love, a band from New Haven, Connecticut, have been poised for rock super stardom all their lives. Despite a troublesome name and interminable hours at their day jobs in galleries, prisons, churches, one room school houses, town halls, museums, and factories, The Butterflies of Love have spent the last year recording the follow up to their relatively successful debut How to Know The Butterflies of Love. Led by Daniel Greene and Jeffrey Greene­, a theologian and a painter respectively who are unrelated-the band sings songs about drinking, blowing things up, and extended hospital stays. They will release a special edition Valentine's Day single on vinyl for the exhibition, available at the gallery and selected record stores. A live gig in Manhattan or Hoboken will be announced.

The work of Kate Howard questions the creation of hierarchies of artifice and the presentation of reality within drama and documentary. A two-channel video, Tone Clusters seemingly presents an interview with the parents of a school-age participant (whether victim or perpetrator is left unclear) of an event that has become part of a media spectacle. In fact, a rehearsal from a Joyce Carol Oates play, this complex piece highlights the manipulation used in news programming and reportage to create seamless, heart-rending narratives of horror.

Janice Kerbel, a Canadian artist living in London, created 15 Lombard Street over a period of approximately 18 months. Undertaking surveillance of the prestigious Coutts Bank in London's banking district, she masterminded a thorough plan for the perfect bank robbery, from a minute-by-minute synopsis of events, to precise route directions for the getaway to a remote Spanish village. Presented on bulletin boards, as if in a police crime room or a court exhibit taken from the robbers' hideout, the accuracy and detail in the work is disturbing.

Really is made possible, in part, by contributions from Etant donnes and the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York. In-kind services for the exhibition are provided by Zuma Digital.