SMMoA Santa Monica Museum of Art

Ara Dymond

13 Sep - 16 Nov 2013

Ara Dymond
Famous, New York, Modernism Everywhere
Installation view
Famous, New York, Modernism Everywhere
13 September – 16 November 2013

SANTA MONICA, CA—The Santa Monica Museum of Art is pleased to present Famous, New York, Modernism Everywhere, the first museum exhibition in California by New York-based artist Ara Dymond. The exhibition, on view from September 13 to November 16, presents a mixed media installation, in which sculpture and video function as allegorical actors in a theatrical setting that explores the critical tensions between art and life.

Famous, New York, Modernism Everywhere includes a series of similar sculptures made up, at first glance, of sweatshirts, Plexiglas pedestals and a Persian rug. The hooded sweatshirts are, in fact, ossified forms sculpted in resin and automotive filler, balanced precariously on their transparent bases. Rather than providing unwavering support, the Plexiglas pedestals contain sandbags that emphasize the need for additional ballast. Dymond’s Persian rug is an enlarged digital photograph, depicting the textile devoid of its texture. Formally, these cryptic sculptural installations allude to the vocabulary of Modernist masters such as Hans Arp, Constantin Brancusi, Alberto Giacometti, and others. Stealing the logic of Surrealism and Dada, Dymond has transformed everyday objects and cast them against type. In the words of Jeffrey Uslip, SMMoA’s curator-at-large and organizer of Famous, New York, Modernism Everywhere, these spectres are “the present ghosts of Modernism’s past.”

The stage for Famous, New York, Modernism Everywhere is further set by Modernism Everywhere, a durational video whose eight-hour running time coincides with the Santa Monica Museum of Art’s business hours. Filmed primarily on the beach in Long Island, New York, Dymond superimposes the Atlantic coastline onto the Pacific. Dymond’s exhibition plays out a duel between the real and the aesthetic, between space and place.

Ara Dymond was born in 1978 in Hawaii and lives and works in New York City. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art History from the State University of New York at Purchase in 2001. Dymond’s recent two-person exhibitions include Ara Dymond and Jesse Willenbring: WimIpeNrsGonSat!ion (2012) at Laurel Gitlen, New York and Ara Dymond and Uri Aran: New Work (2008) at Mesler&Hug, Los Angeles. His work has been included in group exhibitions at galleries including Marlborough Chelsea, (2012); Room East (2012); Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York (2009); Taxter & Spengemann, New York (2009); and Ritter/Zamet, London (2009).

Jeffrey Uslip was born in 1977 and lives and works in New York City. At SMMoA, he most recently organized Joyce Pensato: I KILLED KENNY, Michael Queenland: Rudy’s Ramp of Remainders, Agnes Denes: Body Prints, Philosophical Drawings, and Map Projections, 1969 - 1978, and Samira Yamin: We Will Not Fail. Uslip has also organized exhibitions for PS1/MoMA, New York; Artists Space, New York; Columbia University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, California State University, Los Angeles; and LA><ART, Los Angeles. He has lectured at the Yale University School of Art, New Haven, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and is an online contributor to Artforum. Uslip is currently a PhD candidate at The Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

This exhibition has been made possible by Marlborough Chelsea and SMMoA’s Ambassador Circle.

Tags: Uri Aran, Hans Arp, Constantin Brancusi, Agnes Denes, Ara Dymond, Alberto Giacometti, Joyce Pensato, Michael Queenland, Jesse Willenbring