Artists Space

U.S. Projects: Nic Nicosia and Peter Waite

November 6 – December 4, 1982

Nic Nicosia's installation of photographs is a selection from a recent series titled Domestic Dramas and also includes another related group of photographs. The work starts with a real space and fabricates on top of this a fantasy set, in which a narrative situation is implied. This alteration of reality varies in degrees of subtlety, constructing a psychological tableau grounded in a keen sense of the absurd. Nicosia's animated style reproduces a humorously stereotypical view of reality. His use of rich fictional color contributes to the illusion of a very physical space that reads like a relief. In this way his work negates the traditional strict meaning of the term photography and is rather more conceptually informed by performance, painterly and sculptural concerns.

Peter Waite's installation includes two depictions of Las Meninas by Velazquez which face each other, an interpretative text on the floor and sketches on the wall. The text presents two ideologically opposing points of view in reference to the painting. On the one hand literary critics and art historians find it an example of the "golden age" of culture while on the other hand social, economic and military historians see it as an example of the age of "crisis" or "decline". In pointing out this dichotomy, Waite opens up a field of inquiry into the political functions of these "misreadings" of this famous painting. The Las Meninas installation is part of a series, in which Waite explores the social and historical relativity of art by addressing specific issues, such as critical interpretation, artistic perspective and its social implications in the work of art. It is Waite's confrontation of these different aspects of the work's perception that makes the actual piece become problematic and open for discussion.

Nic Nicosia lives in Dallas, Texas and has exhibited his work in Beyond Photography: the Fabricated Image at Delahunty Gallery in New York, C.E.P.A. Gallery in Buffalo, Texas Gallery in Houston, Magnuson-Lee Gallery, Boston, and at Harvard University, the Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, Mass.

Peter Waite lives in Hartford, Connecticut and has exhibited at the Wadsworth Atheneum and Real Art Ways in Hartford and the Sutton Gallery and the Alternative Museum in New York.

Contact sheets made from the installation of the exhibition.
Frames 2-9: installation views of Ken Lum’s “Untitled Sculpture”; Frames 10-23:installation views of Nic Nicosia’s “Domestic Dramas” ; Frames 27-35: installation views of Peter Waite’s “Las Meninas”. Artists Space, 1982. [Contact sheets made from the installation of the exhibition.]

The U.S. Projects series has been funded by the Museums Program of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Artists Space regular exhibition program is sponsored by the New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation and the Samuel Rubin Foundation. Corporate Sponsors are the Art Dealers Association, AT&T Long Lines, Chase Manhattan Bank, Citibank, Exxon Corporation, Morgan Guaranty Trust Company, I.M. Pei & Partners, Philip Morris and Warner Communications.