The Sunken Living Room

ARCHIVE LINKS: Installation Photographs / Gallery Handout / Stamford Advocate Feature / WPKN Interview

The Sunken Living Room is an exhibition of contemporary art that investigates the most recent economic recession. The show’s title simultaneously reflects the interior design phenomenon of the lightly stepped down or “sunken” living room, popular during the 1970s recession, and the crash of the housing market in 2008. Using sculpture, video, texts, drawings, prints, and photos, artists working today tackle recession-related topics that include: labor, debt, the collapse of the housing market, post-industrial cityscapes, unemployment, and banking practices. The exhibition is curated by Terri C Smith and is on view March 22 – May 25, 2014.

“The Sunken Living Room” installation view.

Through a mix of documentation, observation, allegory, and autobiography, the twenty-four artists in this show lend unique perspectives to recent fiscal crises. Some take an individualized approach, overlaying their work with personal experiences and narratives as with Kirby Mages’ video Where’s the Proof? where she combines information on bank bailouts with diaristic voiceovers, or with Danna Vajda’s Tearsforfears installation where the artist uses her own crumpled receipts as source imagery to explore money spent that leaves no physical trace but the transaction’s record itself.

“The Sunken Living Room” installation view

Others in The Sunken Living Room capture current events by resituating elements from cities into the gallery, such as Anya Sirota + Akoaki’s Piranesian Bling series of sculptures that are modeled after disused elements at Detroit’s abandoned Packard plant; and Beate Geissler and Oliver Sann’s photo series, the real estate, which features images of foreclosed apartments in Chicago, Illinois. Documentary style works also are included in this exhibition. Ana Pečar & Oliver Ressler’s video In the Red follows the group “Strike Debt,” an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street that organizes events and protests relating to debt, and Kevin Jerome Everson follows two Cleveland men who repurpose alloys throughout the city to earn income in his film Fe26.

“The Sunken Living Room” installation view (cafe).

The exhibition is also imbedded with references to the 1970s, another recession era. Disco is front and center with Kerry Downey’s video Nursing Disco; workers rights and union slogans appear in Andrea Bower’s Workers Rights Posters; and seventies cinema informs the title of Olga Koumoundouros’ essay “The Getaway,” which is also the title of a 1972 film with Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw. In the Franklin Street Works café, music from the mid and late-1970s, takeaways by Koumoudouros, and Jonah Emerson-Bell’s sculpture “This dude knows where you live” (which incorporates a Bootsy Collins album from 1978) touch on that decade’s popular culture landscape.

Thinking about artworks made during the 1970s recession, the site specificity of the city of Stamford, and in keeping with the exhibition’s themes of exchange and value, five artists were asked to recreate pieces from the UBS bank collection that date from the seventies. UBS has a corporate location in Stamford, Connecticut, and houses the largest stock exchange floor in the world — roughly the size of two American football fields. Each artist was paid a small honorarium to make an artwork by a blue chip artist that conjures art-as-investment, but in actuality has no monetary worth. This special project within the exhibition highlights economic themes surrounding art, including the subjective nature of an artwork’s value and the commissioning of artworks in exchange for payment.

Jonah Emerson-Bell, “The Losers Keeps America Clean,” installation view “The Sunken Living Room.”

By combining artworks from today with popular and high culture items from the past, The Sunken Living Room connects shared cultural experiences with contemporary projects to explore the utopic desires and deflating exasperation of post WWII recession economies. Exhibiting Artsits: Anya Sirota + Akoaki, Michael Bell-Smith, Andrea Bowers, Ingrid Burrington, Nancy Davenport, Kerry Downey, Jonah Emerson-Bell, Kevin Jerome Everson, Beate Geissler and Oliver Sann, Olga Koumoundouros, Urich Lau, Mads Lynnerup, Kirby Mages, Rainger Pinney, Oliver Ressler and Ana Pečar, Sal Randolph, Danna Vajda, and Constantina Zavitsanos, with special projects by Alberta Cifolelli, Roxanne Faber Savage, Peter Gramlich, Liz Squillace.


posted by Owner on March 22, 2014 at 5:00 pm

The Sunken Living Room

ARCHIVE LINKS: Installation Photographs / Gallery Handout / Stamford Advocate Feature / WPKN Interview

The Sunken Living Room is an exhibition of contemporary art that investigates the most recent economic recession. The show’s title simultaneously reflects the interior design phenomenon of the lightly stepped down or “sunken” living room, popular during the 1970s recession, and the crash of the housing market in 2008. Using sculpture, video, texts, drawings, prints, and photos, artists working today tackle recession-related topics that include: labor, debt, the collapse of the housing market, post-industrial cityscapes, unemployment, and banking practices. The exhibition is curated by Terri C Smith and is on view March 22 – May 25, 2014.

“The Sunken Living Room” installation view.

Through a mix of documentation, observation, allegory, and autobiography, the twenty-four artists in this show lend unique perspectives to recent fiscal crises. Some take an individualized approach, overlaying their work with personal experiences and narratives as with Kirby Mages’ video Where’s the Proof? where she combines information on bank bailouts with diaristic voiceovers, or with Danna Vajda’s Tearsforfears installation where the artist uses her own crumpled receipts as source imagery to explore money spent that leaves no physical trace but the transaction’s record itself.

“The Sunken Living Room” installation view

Others in The Sunken Living Room capture current events by resituating elements from cities into the gallery, such as Anya Sirota + Akoaki’s Piranesian Bling series of sculptures that are modeled after disused elements at Detroit’s abandoned Packard plant; and Beate Geissler and Oliver Sann’s photo series, the real estate, which features images of foreclosed apartments in Chicago, Illinois. Documentary style works also are included in this exhibition. Ana Pečar & Oliver Ressler’s video In the Red follows the group “Strike Debt,” an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street that organizes events and protests relating to debt, and Kevin Jerome Everson follows two Cleveland men who repurpose alloys throughout the city to earn income in his film Fe26.

“The Sunken Living Room” installation view (cafe).

The exhibition is also imbedded with references to the 1970s, another recession era. Disco is front and center with Kerry Downey’s video Nursing Disco; workers rights and union slogans appear in Andrea Bower’s Workers Rights Posters; and seventies cinema informs the title of Olga Koumoundouros’ essay “The Getaway,” which is also the title of a 1972 film with Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw. In the Franklin Street Works café, music from the mid and late-1970s, takeaways by Koumoudouros, and Jonah Emerson-Bell’s sculpture “This dude knows where you live” (which incorporates a Bootsy Collins album from 1978) touch on that decade’s popular culture landscape.

Thinking about artworks made during the 1970s recession, the site specificity of the city of Stamford, and in keeping with the exhibition’s themes of exchange and value, five artists were asked to recreate pieces from the UBS bank collection that date from the seventies. UBS has a corporate location in Stamford, Connecticut, and houses the largest stock exchange floor in the world — roughly the size of two American football fields. Each artist was paid a small honorarium to make an artwork by a blue chip artist that conjures art-as-investment, but in actuality has no monetary worth. This special project within the exhibition highlights economic themes surrounding art, including the subjective nature of an artwork’s value and the commissioning of artworks in exchange for payment.

Jonah Emerson-Bell, “The Losers Keeps America Clean,” installation view “The Sunken Living Room.”

By combining artworks from today with popular and high culture items from the past, The Sunken Living Room connects shared cultural experiences with contemporary projects to explore the utopic desires and deflating exasperation of post WWII recession economies. Exhibiting Artsits: Anya Sirota + Akoaki, Michael Bell-Smith, Andrea Bowers, Ingrid Burrington, Nancy Davenport, Kerry Downey, Jonah Emerson-Bell, Kevin Jerome Everson, Beate Geissler and Oliver Sann, Olga Koumoundouros, Urich Lau, Mads Lynnerup, Kirby Mages, Rainger Pinney, Oliver Ressler and Ana Pečar, Sal Randolph, Danna Vajda, and Constantina Zavitsanos, with special projects by Alberta Cifolelli, Roxanne Faber Savage, Peter Gramlich, Liz Squillace.


Fair Tomatoes: Documentary Film Screening and Discussion

Franklin Street Works is pleased to present the new documentary film Fair Tomatoes: A Story About Justice, Dignity, and Sustainability on Thursday, March 13 at 7:00 pm, followed by a Q & A with its directors, Ernie Zahn and Ron Williams. The 25-minute film focuses on the plight of farmworkers in Immokalee, Florida, and their organized efforts to correct abuses and wage issues that persist today. This free, public screening with the film’s directors invites the community to join in conversation about fair-food practices and workers’ rights. It’s an informative and inspiring event for everyone, including food lovers, consumer advocates, chefs, and civil liberties activists! Franklin Street Works will feature a tomato-inspired snack and each audience member will receive one complimentary beer or wine.

Immokalee, Florida, is the tomato capital of America, but it is also home to abuse, stagnant wages, mistreatment, and unjust labor conditions. In the last decade, the workers have organized the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. The group hopes to raise awareness about corporate social responsibility, community organizing, and sustainable food, while also ending modern-day slavery and other labor abuses. The film explores their efforts in Southwest Florida, but also addresses what restaurants, chefs, and consumers can do to support sustainable food practices.

Produced by All Kicker, the Greenwich-based arts and activism blog, in association with Taranta, a Boston North-end restaurant dedicated to socially responsible food practices, the film is currently on tour to increase the visibility of this issue and to continue to make the workers’ experience part of the conversation on sustainability.

This program precedes a related exhibition, “The Sunken Living Room,” which opens March 22 and focuses on labor, debt, banking and other issues surrounding the recession as seen through the work of fifteen contemporary artists.

ABOUT ERNIE ZAHN: Ernie Zahn is the current Executive Director of NPeaches. He began his media filmmaking career in high school with his first short film which went on to be screened in film festivals domestically and internationally. His skills in media merged with his activism shortly after college when he was hired by Mozilla Foundation to be a part of the organizing team for the Open Video Conference, an annual event focusing on issues such as digital rights, human rights and egalitarianism through online video. Ernie has since gone on to found a social justice non-profit that focuses in media, NPeaches – seving as the parent company to All Kicker.

ABOUT RON WILLIAMS: Ron Williams is a producer at NPeaches. Applying his skills in kendo, fencing, and other martial arts, Ron entered the film industry as a fight choreographer. He later moved in front of the camera as the host of the web series Ronaldo Tours, a food and travel series focuses on Italian culture in America. Ron has since moved into various roles in filmmaking through NPeaches as one of the organization’s founding members.

posted by Owner on March 13, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Fair Tomatoes: Documentary Film Screening and Discussion

Franklin Street Works is pleased to present the new documentary film Fair Tomatoes: A Story About Justice, Dignity, and Sustainability on Thursday, March 13 at 7:00 pm, followed by a Q & A with its directors, Ernie Zahn and Ron Williams. The 25-minute film focuses on the plight of farmworkers in Immokalee, Florida, and their organized efforts to correct abuses and wage issues that persist today. This free, public screening with the film’s directors invites the community to join in conversation about fair-food practices and workers’ rights. It’s an informative and inspiring event for everyone, including food lovers, consumer advocates, chefs, and civil liberties activists! Franklin Street Works will feature a tomato-inspired snack and each audience member will receive one complimentary beer or wine.

Immokalee, Florida, is the tomato capital of America, but it is also home to abuse, stagnant wages, mistreatment, and unjust labor conditions. In the last decade, the workers have organized the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. The group hopes to raise awareness about corporate social responsibility, community organizing, and sustainable food, while also ending modern-day slavery and other labor abuses. The film explores their efforts in Southwest Florida, but also addresses what restaurants, chefs, and consumers can do to support sustainable food practices.

Produced by All Kicker, the Greenwich-based arts and activism blog, in association with Taranta, a Boston North-end restaurant dedicated to socially responsible food practices, the film is currently on tour to increase the visibility of this issue and to continue to make the workers’ experience part of the conversation on sustainability.

This program precedes a related exhibition, “The Sunken Living Room,” which opens March 22 and focuses on labor, debt, banking and other issues surrounding the recession as seen through the work of fifteen contemporary artists.

ABOUT ERNIE ZAHN: Ernie Zahn is the current Executive Director of NPeaches. He began his media filmmaking career in high school with his first short film which went on to be screened in film festivals domestically and internationally. His skills in media merged with his activism shortly after college when he was hired by Mozilla Foundation to be a part of the organizing team for the Open Video Conference, an annual event focusing on issues such as digital rights, human rights and egalitarianism through online video. Ernie has since gone on to found a social justice non-profit that focuses in media, NPeaches – seving as the parent company to All Kicker.

ABOUT RON WILLIAMS: Ron Williams is a producer at NPeaches. Applying his skills in kendo, fencing, and other martial arts, Ron entered the film industry as a fight choreographer. He later moved in front of the camera as the host of the web series Ronaldo Tours, a food and travel series focuses on Italian culture in America. Ron has since moved into various roles in filmmaking through NPeaches as one of the organization’s founding members.

Closing Dance Party for the exhibition “Neuromast: Certain Uncertainty and Contemporary Art”

Franklin Street Works will host an exhibition closing party for “Neuromast”.  Co-curator Taliesin Gilkes-Bower and several exhibiting artists will be here to say goodbye to this group exhibition on Saturday, March 8 from 7:00 – 10:00 pm. With special extended hours, the party for Neuromast: Certain Uncertainty and Contemporary Art is a great opportunity to share Stamford’s contemporary art gem with friends and family. Come dance, snack, drink and check out this intriguing, original exhibition before it closes!

Taliesin Gilkes-Bower is a DJ and producer who has worked across the Western Hemisphere. He has DJ’d at such hot spots as the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and has worked on music projects internationally. He will be joined by Sean Oloane (DJ OS), a Florida transplant whose been making some of the North Easts most essential stoner metal with his band Cool World. Both are fascinated by regional dance genres, autonomous musical ecologies, and post-ethnographic field recordings. They will be exploring their deep collections of analog and digital audio recordings.

Neuromast: Certain Uncertainty and Contemporary Art is an exhibition that explores “emergence,” the theory that says unforeseeable results happen when a system reaches a certain level of complexity. The show’s title is inspired by a very specific emergent phenomenon, “neuromast,” which is the sensory organ that allows fish to effectively behave in unison against the threat of predators. Neuromast features sculpture, videos, text-based works, photographs and more by contemporary artists, writers and theorists interested in theories of emergence.  Exhibiting artists are: Kari Altmann, Christian Bök and Micah Lexier, Ingrid Burrington, Kaye Cain-Nielsen, Mircea Cantor, hint.fm, David Horvitz, Brian House and Jason Rabie, Juliana Huxtable, Thilde Jensen, Carolyn Lazard, M. M. Mantua, Preemptive Media, Robert Spahr, Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle’s Sexecology collaboration, and The Waterwhisper Ilse. The exhibition is curated by Taliesin Gilkes-Bower and Terri C Smith and is on view through March 9, 2014.

posted by Owner on March 8, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Closing Dance Party for the exhibition “Neuromast: Certain Uncertainty and Contemporary Art”

Franklin Street Works will host an exhibition closing party for “Neuromast”.  Co-curator Taliesin Gilkes-Bower and several exhibiting artists will be here to say goodbye to this group exhibition on Saturday, March 8 from 7:00 – 10:00 pm. With special extended hours, the party for Neuromast: Certain Uncertainty and Contemporary Art is a great opportunity to share Stamford’s contemporary art gem with friends and family. Come dance, snack, drink and check out this intriguing, original exhibition before it closes!

Taliesin Gilkes-Bower is a DJ and producer who has worked across the Western Hemisphere. He has DJ’d at such hot spots as the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and has worked on music projects internationally. He will be joined by Sean Oloane (DJ OS), a Florida transplant whose been making some of the North Easts most essential stoner metal with his band Cool World. Both are fascinated by regional dance genres, autonomous musical ecologies, and post-ethnographic field recordings. They will be exploring their deep collections of analog and digital audio recordings.

Neuromast: Certain Uncertainty and Contemporary Art is an exhibition that explores “emergence,” the theory that says unforeseeable results happen when a system reaches a certain level of complexity. The show’s title is inspired by a very specific emergent phenomenon, “neuromast,” which is the sensory organ that allows fish to effectively behave in unison against the threat of predators. Neuromast features sculpture, videos, text-based works, photographs and more by contemporary artists, writers and theorists interested in theories of emergence.  Exhibiting artists are: Kari Altmann, Christian Bök and Micah Lexier, Ingrid Burrington, Kaye Cain-Nielsen, Mircea Cantor, hint.fm, David Horvitz, Brian House and Jason Rabie, Juliana Huxtable, Thilde Jensen, Carolyn Lazard, M. M. Mantua, Preemptive Media, Robert Spahr, Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle’s Sexecology collaboration, and The Waterwhisper Ilse. The exhibition is curated by Taliesin Gilkes-Bower and Terri C Smith and is on view through March 9, 2014.

An Evening with Artist Juliana Huxtable: Reading and Performance

On Saturday, March 1 from 5:30 – 7:30, please join us for a performative reading by Juliana Huxtable, one of the exhibiting artists in “Neuromast: Certain Uncertainty and Contemporary Art“.

Juliana Huxtable and a number of her NYC contemporaries will be reading and performing a diverse body of work that highlight new voices in New York’s growing underground. Themes of the body, technology and identity will be explored. Juliana Huxtable is a writer, artist and DJ based in New York City. She creates and speaks from the positions of cyborg, priestess, witch, and trans girl. Her writing has appeared or been referenced in ArtForumMousse, and Maker Magazine. She has read and performed at New York City venues such as Envoy Enterprises, Brooklyn Academy of Music and Artists Space. For more on Juliana Huxtable, check out this INTERVIEW.

posted by Owner on March 1, 2014 at 5:30 pm

An Evening with Artist Juliana Huxtable: Reading and Performance

On Saturday, March 1 from 5:30 – 7:30, please join us for a performative reading by Juliana Huxtable, one of the exhibiting artists in “Neuromast: Certain Uncertainty and Contemporary Art“.

Juliana Huxtable and a number of her NYC contemporaries will be reading and performing a diverse body of work that highlight new voices in New York’s growing underground. Themes of the body, technology and identity will be explored. Juliana Huxtable is a writer, artist and DJ based in New York City. She creates and speaks from the positions of cyborg, priestess, witch, and trans girl. Her writing has appeared or been referenced in ArtForumMousse, and Maker Magazine. She has read and performed at New York City venues such as Envoy Enterprises, Brooklyn Academy of Music and Artists Space. For more on Juliana Huxtable, check out this INTERVIEW.

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