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Diana Shpungin, “Business As Unusual,” 2022.

January 15–February 20

Diana Shpungin: Always Begin At The End

at Smack Mellon

Always Begin At The End uses common iconography to address loss, memory, empathy and failure between the private and public, personal and political spheres. The exhibition centers around a marble tiled arena covering a significant portion of Smack Mellon’s 4,000 square foot main gallery floor. A felled chandelier, a record player, seashells, chairs, chain link fencing, cast body parts, doors, cardboard boxes, a reconfigured American flag, and loose change add to the range of quotidian objects that the artist has carefully scattered throughout this sprawling stage and across the gallery walls. Displayed together at Smack Mellon for the first time, this new body of work has been made within the past five years, encompassing two polarizing presidential elections and the most extreme lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This exhibition features many objects made from cast paper, alongside combined found objects that the artist alters, construction materials, and a single hand-drawn pencil animation metaphorically smashed by rocks. Much of Shpungin’s works can be seen as “drawings” in the sense that they are literally covered in drawing’s most ubiquitous medium: graphite pencil. This material marks, delineates, coats, and covers the surfaces and crevices of her objects, transforming them into solid shadows. Graphite itself is a dynamic medium that amasses darkness as well as reflectivity the more it is layered onto a surface. Shpungin painstakingly covers each object but does not obscure it, in a process that both masks and gives depth. She also uses drawing to sketch and to plan, outlining the possible future incarnations of a thing—an object, a building, an idea. Shpungin’s self-reflexive works are their own loops that construct, mark, and imagine through the process of their own creation.

Shpungin’s objects often begin as symbols from the artist’s personal history but are disguised within their own common representations. The works come together as an archive, a futile and heroic attempt to chronicle absolutely everything in the world. Her works are led by a heartstrong conceptualism based on personal and collective memories and formed through careful intersections of familiar objects and materials. In some cases the works are embodiments of literal metaphors, and, in others, their meanings are embedded in the actions that caused their creation, such as Paper Weight (Win), (2016), a graphite covered brick crushing a sheet of drawing paper. The exhibition’s title Always Begin At The End, and its acronym ABATE, signal to the way that time can loop, how stories can start in unexpected places, and how a journey’s end might be less than its imagined start. At the end, afterall, the material we will have had to work with is all already there.

Smack Mellon

92 Plymouth Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201 United States

Open: Wed–Sun, 12–6 PM

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Nearby

  1. Special Event

    Closing Reception: Curious Devices & Other Objects

    Klompching Gallery

    February 24, 5:00 PMFebruary 24, 7:00 PM
  2. Special Event

    Wasteland: Rafika Chawishe Performance

    Undercurrent

    January 23, 1:00 PMJanuary 23, 7:00 PM
  3. Exhibitions

    Wasteland

    Undercurrent

    January 18January 23
  4. Exhibitions

    CURRENTS: Identity Politics

    A.I.R. Gallery

    February 12March 13

1. Special Event

Wasteland: Rafika Chawishe Performance

January 23, 1:00 PM–7:00 PM

Undercurrent

Open: Thurs–Sun, 1–7 PM

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2. Special Event

Closing Reception: Curious Devices & Other Objects

February 24, 5:00 PM–7:00 PM

Klompching Gallery

Open: Wed–Sat, 11 AM–6 PM

View in map

3. Exhibitions

Claudia Wieser: Rehearsal

July 29 2021–April 17 2022

Main Street Park

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4. Exhibitions

Curious Devices & Other Objects

November 10 2021–February 26 2022

Klompching Gallery

Open: Wed–Sat, 11 AM–6 PM

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5. Exhibitions

Closing Soon

INCANALARE (To Channel)

December 1 2021–January 22 2022

Superfine

Open: Tues, 2–10 PM; Wed–Sat, 12–10 PM; Sun, 11 AM–10 PM

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6. Exhibitions

VIVA CUBA VIVA! Poster Art of the Revolution

December 2 2021–February 19 2022

Cuban Art Space

Open: Mon–Fri, 1–6 PM (By Appt.); Sat, 12–6 PM

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7. Exhibitions

Keisha Scarville

December 4 2021–February 12 2022

Higher Pictures Generation

Open: Mon (By Appt.); Tues–Sat, 11 AM–6 PM

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8. Exhibitions

Diana Shpungin: Always Begin At The End

January 15–February 20

Smack Mellon

Open: Wed–Sun, 12–6 PM

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9. Exhibitions

Farima Fooladi: A Moveable Feast

January 15–February 20

Smack Mellon

Open: Wed–Sun, 12–6 PM

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10. Exhibitions

Closing Soon

Wasteland

January 18–January 23

Undercurrent

Open: Thurs–Sun, 1–7 PM

View in map

11. Exhibitions

Sylvia Netzer: S...as in Sylvia

February 12–March 13

A.I.R. Gallery

Open: Wed–Sun, 12–6 PM

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12. Exhibitions

CURRENTS: Identity Politics

February 12–March 13

A.I.R. Gallery

Open: Wed–Sun, 12–6 PM

View in map

First Thursday Gallery Walk

The first Thursday of every month, the galleries of DUMBO stay open late, hosting special events and receptions. Neighborhood restaurants and bars have specials for First Thursday patrons.

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