The future has no presence
July 12 - August 23
20 Jay Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201 United States
Your interior life is terrifying to American fascists. Words spoken in a language they can’t understand: Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Kurdish. “Sound American.” Abstraction, ideas, art itself: a threat. “My kid could do that.” The truth. “You lie.” Whispered pillow talk. “Alexa is listening.”
At the height of a very hot summer, shadows grow ever longer. What remains of the public sphere has been willfully surrendered to electronic wights masquerading as citizens. Discourse is limited to furious invective thumbed on virtual keyboards. Political consciousness is a dreary sigh. We can’t (or won’t) talk to each other anymore, much less listen. Contemporary art? A monument to its own preposterous illusions: the symbolic possibilities and real alternatives it once afforded are entombed in a series of Richard Serra’s monoliths in the Qatari desert, the playthings of a sociopathic king.
It is now confirmed that the past never was. The future has no presence. Utopia is a graft. Dystopia is the pornography of despair.
What’s left for us then? The works in this exhibition variably describe new edges to dance upon: a private chat with a lover, inside jokes, a respite from coarseness, the gift of sensuality, a paean for making, a dialogue with materials, cryptic narratives, asylum from and for the “haters and losers.” The artists in this exhibition trust themselves. And they trust you not to fall apart or otherwise fall off the edge.
Paul Celan’s deeply personal, fractured, and difficult poetry tested the edges of language and comprehension. Nevertheless, he insisted that his art was “ganz und gar nicht hermetisch” [certainly not hermetic]. Celan also described the poem as a “desperate conversation.”
Post-empathy, post-truth, perhaps even post-aesthetic, perhaps now it is time to, at once, turn inward and get closer, a time for a desperate conversation.
This exhibition features new and recent work from Jeff Kraus, Vanha Lam, Christopher Russell, Heidi Schwegler, Stan Van Steendam, Clary Stolte, Nicholas Szymanski, and Bobbi Woods.