NEW YORK, May 18, 2017—From May 23 to June 10, 2017, the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program presents That I am reading backwards and into for a purpose, to go on:, curated by the ISP’s 2016–17 Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellows: Magdalyn Asimakis, Jared Quinton, and Alexandra Symons Sutcliffe.
The exhibition takes place at The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street, New York. The exhibition hours are Tuesday–Friday, 12–6 pm; Saturday, 11–6 pm. Admission is free. The opening reception will take place on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 from 5 to 8 pm.
That I am reading backwards and into for a purpose, to go on: presents works by Julia Phillips; Kevin Beasley; Brendan Fernandes; Babette Mangolte; Martine Syms; Silvia Kolbowski; Lorenza Mondada, Nicolle Bussein, Sara Keel, Hanna Svensson, and Nynke van Schepen; Steffani Jemison; Marvin Luvualu Antonio; and Aisha Sasha John. A free companion publication features texts by Park McArthur, taisha paggett, and Tanya Lukin Linklater.
The ISP Curatorial Fellows provided the following description of the exhibition:
Bringing together corporeal art, live performance, and the moving image, the exhibition presents the body as an access point to wider social and political conditions. The performer stands in for the unrepresentable collection of bodies and experiences that constitute our lives. Through identification with or alienation from the human figure—understood both literally as a body and as a trope—viewers are able to destabilize methods of knowing and representing. The duty and responsibility of art that works with bodies is to make tangible the methods through which visible and readable positions are produced.
The current American political crisis presents an acute challenge to the relationship between the visible and knowable, making it now more urgent than ever to consider how truth claims are constructed. This exhibition makes space for the coexistence of historical thought and present action. Working in film, video, sculpture, and performance, the contributing artists tease out the techniques by which the visible and knowable are produced and reckon with the ways the human body is enmeshed in and trained by multiple technologies. The artists use performance, rhetoric, and repetition to remind us that we are historically constructed subjects.
The title of this exhibition is a citation from the essay “Removing the Minus” (2012) by the artist, curator, writer, and teacher Ian White. Taking up White’s pedagogical poetics as a working method, this exhibition reckons with history and the construction of the conditions of the present. It is the privilege and duty of art to address both what is seen and the mechanisms of viewership—the keys to which, as White’s quote suggests, lie in reading backward and into while looking toward the future.