Petzel is pleased to present Community Board, an online exhibition highlighting artists who rely on, and incorporate, their communities and networks to realize their work. At a time when our communities are forcefully insular and our social and physical dynamics are drastically changing due to the implications of COVID-19, the relationships and systems of support we have maintained are arguably more important than ever. These links are the results of both physical closeness, as with roommates or doctors, as well as emotional closeness, whether that is calling home, a wedding officiated over Zoom, or somewhere in between with a shared demand for justice and change through protest. These relationships and interactions correlate with what we have decided is most important to focus our energy on in the current state. The works included in Community Board, all executed pre-pandemic, are transformed under our new circumstances. Community Board presents the dichotomy of our more intimate and personal bonds alongside the virtual connections that are increasingly prominent in our lives, to explore what community means today.
Community Board includes works by Walead Beshty, Ross Bleckner, Cosima von Bonin, Fiona Connor, Wade Guyton, Allan McCollum, Sarah Morris, Seth Price, Pieter Schoolwerth, and Rirkrit Tiravanija.
It’s an interest in that kind of aspect of objects which is not so much about art and our expectations for authorship, but about the way that objects can embody more complex social relationships… I guess that an object is dependent on its context. It comes from somewhere at a certain time and doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Art and objects are the products and constructs of the people that either bring them into being or live with them. I’m interested in how a built thing interacts with many different kinds of people during its lifetime.
Fiona Connor, Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer, Interview with Fiona Connor, 2017
I work very differently, I think, from how other artists work. And the word “assistant” breaks my heart. It’s not in my vocabulary. They are my slaves and I am their slave. It’s the same with the word “project.” You don’t have a project, you have an idea or you steal the idea, or you work together with people on an idea. Everyone is allowed to do what he wants to do.
Eleanor Heartney, “In Conversation: Cosima von Bonin with Eleanor Heartney,” The Brooklyn Rail, 2018
In his series of Copper Surrogates Beshty explores the ways in which objects accrue and produce meaning through their placement and circulation in the world. For Petzel Gallery’s 2014 exhibition, Beshty created polished raw copper sculptures built to the dimensions of the gallery’s work surfaces. As the gallery staff carried on with their daily routine, their natural contact and resting bodies tarnished a patina on to the reflective copper surfaces. Just as a camera captures a moment in time, the copper surrogates trace the movement of the staff’s immaterial labor.
In Rirkrit Tiravanija’s “Demonstration Drawings” the artist has taken images from the then-current issues of the International Herald Tribune and asked his former students in Thailand to redraw the depictions of protest. The resulting drawings reveal not only Tiravanija’s and the individual author’s perspective of those demonstrations, but also their interpretations of the media’s portrayal at the time, examining the relationships of several communities at once. Despite the nearly 15 year old subject matter, these drawings feel particularly relevant at the present moment, especially when thinking of the physical distance between author and imagery.