68-18: 50 Years of New York Art at SHIN Gallery

68-18 is a group show curated by Ludovica Capobianco for SHIN Gallery in New York, on view until April 22, 2018.

Closing reception and panel talk at 5.30pm on April 22: artists Marlous Borm, Matteo Callegari and Joe Fyfe, and Muna Tseng, Director of the Estate of Tseng Kwong Chi, will discuss their experience and perception of the art scene of Downtown New York.

Artists list: Yuji Agematsu, Marlous Borm, Lizzi Bougatsos, Joe Bradley, Kitty Brophy, Matteo Callegari, Borden Capalino, Ching Ho Cheng, Jayne County, Lucky deBellevue, Marisol Escobar, Joe Fyfe, Joseph Geagan, John Giorno, Nan Goldin, Hyon Gyon, Richard Hambleton, Keith Haring, Alex Katz, Ann Magnuson, Steve Nishimoto, Richard Nonas, Kayode Ojo, Dennis Oppenheim, Joyce Pensato, BREYER P-ORRIDGE, Richard Prince, Rene Ricard, Walter Robinson, Tom Sachs, Lucas Samaras, Kenny Scharf, Carolee Schneeman, Pieter Schoolwert, John Sex, Jack Smith, Ted Stamm, Spencer Sweeney, Tseng Kwong Chi, Alan Vega, and Lawrence Weiner.

 

Lizzi Bougatsos, Whitney Houston, Ludovica Capobianco, SHIN Gallery, New York

Lizzi Bougatsos, R.I.P. Whitney (2012)
Installation view at Shin Gallery
Ph. Matilde Soligno

 

Matilde Soligno: This exhibition takes on the challenging task of putting together artwork from the last five decades, in relation to the difficulties of living as an artist in New York City. Since during this time New York has always been changing at tremendous pace, the challenges facing artists have also changed considerably. The inter-generational comparison is particularly striking when confronting 1970s and 1980s lifestyles with today’s perspective, where artists face increasing hardships in affording housing and working space. Was it an urgency to address these relevant topics that made you decide to pursue this project?

Ludovica Capobianco: The idea for this show started from the consideration that a particular area of New York, Downtown New York, has been the center of a fervent artistic community for many decades, not only on a local perspective but on a global one. In this sense, the exhibition wants to focus on the concept of artistic community, and on how the same existence of a community influences the artistic practices of its members. The incredible rise in the cost of housing and real estate in general definitely affected this aspect of New York’s life, both directly and indirectly. In the 1970s and 1980s it was very affordable to find an apartment and a large studio in SoHo, for instance, and so it wasn’t a big deal for an artist to find the right space to live and work. Also, the fact that everybody were “neighbors” enabled the creation of a community, simply because everybody used to go to the same bar or club, and thus the exchange of ideas, the share of concepts and, in general, any kind of theoretical discussion were happening naturally. Right now, the artistic community is very scattered. On the bright side, there’s always a tendency for artists to get together. For example, one of the artists in the show, Spencer Sweeney, started this very beautiful initiative where every Sunday evening he opens his former studio in Chinatown, and there’s music, wine, pizza, and everybody is very relaxed and the vibe is very chill; but it’s very rare.

 

Kajode Ojo, Ludovica Capobianco, SHIN Gallery, New York

Kajode Ojo, Untitled (2018)
Installation view at Shin Gallery

 

MS: Of course artists’ lifestyles influence their work everywhere in the world; but even more so in New York, given that making a living can take up most of one’s time and energy. So personal life must be a core part of this show: can you narrate a bit on how you chose the artists, and on the personal contacts you might have had with some of them?

LC: The process of choosing the artists came from different sources. I had a list at the beginning that I kept on changing as the selection process continued, and of course based on the responses I had. I have to say that I was very touched by the support I received from the galleries, the artists and the collectors who gave the works. Also the research process was very interesting and I met many incredible artists I wasn’t very familiar with at the beginning.
What I was mostly looking for was to do a show that would represent the evolution of the art world in New York. I tried to have the same amount of artists per decade, even if it’s hard to tell since some of them have been around the whole time. Some of them are artists whose practice I’ve been following for a while, and it was a great accomplishment for me to manage to have them in the show, like Carolee Schneeman, John Giorno, Lawrence Weiner, Nan Goldin, Alan Vega, Yuji Agematsu, Pieter Schoolwert, Renee Ricard, Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Jack Smith. The exhibition Club 57 at MoMA was a great source of inspiration and I had the chance to meet Ann Magnuson, who was so kind to put me in touch with Kitty Brophy, whose drawing Penis Hat is one of the boldest pieces we have in the show in my opinion, who in turn helped me finding a work by John Sex, an icon of New York’s art scene in the 1980s. I already worked with some of the artists in the past – Walter Robinson was in a benefit auction I did at the Jane Hotel for Today is the Day Foundation, and he’s one of the most relevant artists and art critics from the 1990s; I met Joe Fyfe a few years ago and I’ve been following his work since then; and I put Lucky deBellevue and Matteo Callegari in past shows I curated. Matteo and I are also friends, and the same with Marlous Borm, Kayode Ojo, Joseph Geagan and Borden Capalino, who are part of the “new” generation of Downtown artists. I think the most interesting thing is that the way this show came together shows that there’s still a wish and a will to talk about what Downtown New York represents and about its artistic legacy, and that people are happy to get together to create something new and challenging.

 

Richard Prince, Joe Bradley, Ludovica Capobianco, SHIN Gallery, New York

From the left: Richard Prince, Joe Bradley
Installation view at Shin Gallery

 

MS: I feel that the presence of artwork from the 1970s and 1980s naturally takes a foreground position in this show. Their strong message, breaking with social conventions, seems to have influenced all of the artwork on show, even the most recently produced. Today’s heartbreak and nostalgia towards those times is apparent in every cultural sector. How do you consider this aspect?

LC: The ever-recurring cycles of human history!

 

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by Matilde Soligno
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