Anthropology: Revisited, Reinvented, Reinterpreted

Nov. 19, 2009 – Jan.17, 2010

Central Booking gallery presents, Anthropology: Revisited, Reinvented, Reinterpreted, an exhibition where artists explore the great cultural landscape of past and present, and take a look at cultures from the inside, the outside, and through the passage of time. Myth and religion are examined and turned inside out. Human events are placed within an historical context that may have happened, could have happened and the most fantastical ones that actually did.

Anthropology is Central Booking’s second exhibition from their series where art meets science; curated by Maddy Rosenberg (artist/curator) and Jon Coffelt (artist/curator) this group show features the work of 29 international artists. The participating artists are:

Pinky Bass, Sang-ah Choi, Paul Clay, Béatrice Coron, Mitchell Gaudet, Laura Gilbert, Janet Goldner, Karen Graffeo, Kelly Grider, Mona Hatoum, Christina Hope, Lee Isaacs, Kahn & Selesnick, Janice Kluge, Eunkang Koh, Chris Lawson & Leng Seckon, Max Carlos Martinez, Dana Matthews, Avery McCarthy, Antjuan Oden, Omar Olivera, Lothar Osterburg, Joel Seah, The Chadwicks (J. Blachly and L. Shaw), Elisabeth Wöerndl, Emna Zghal.

As you explore Anthropology, you will come across the installation of artists Kahn & Selesnick whose work provides a context for the impressive hypothetically “found” artist’s book, The Circular River, which is meant to document through text and panoramic photographs a Russian expedition of a century ago. Jimbo Blachly and Lytle Shaw assure us that they take their role as keepers of the flame for The Chadwicks, an historical New York family, quite seriously, albeit with wit.Béatrice Coron, creates a life-size cut paper human maze for us to wander through while Janet Goldner, influenced by her yearly ventures in Mali, gives us a sequence of metal gates with text and image that are meant to be read as we pass through them.

From the years of studying the Roma of Italy, Karen Graffeo allows us to understand the unique culture of an otherwise private people, and the addition of books made by the Roma children gives us further insight into what their culture means to them as a clan. Chris Lawson’s collages made with Buddhist MonkLeng Seckon in Cambodia become a cultural record while transcending mere documentation. Lee Isaacs brings us “The Day Of The Dead” series that asks us to understand how culture expresses itself through the loss of loved ones. Paul Clay, who studied anthropology and therefore sees his work within that context, in his photographic and video work examines with the same rigor whether it be foreign cultures or ones closer to home. Mitchell Gaudet uses cast and slumped glass as a vehicle to explore our perceptions of specific religious practice and idolatry while Laura Gilbert explores the family unit and asks us to understand how we react to each other as a culture and as individuals.

Mona Hatoum breaks down barriers to understand the domestic and how it is a microcosm of what we understand on a global level. Janice Kluge in her ceramics works within the confines of what many understand as domestic but turns these ideas on their head. Max Carlos Martinez remains haunted by the myths of the American west that his childhood was steeped in. German born Lothar Osterburg explores the myth of his adopted country with his photographs of staged sets of his own making that evoke the romance of the American Great Plains. Sang-ah Choi uses the pop-up book form in her own unique way, as a commentary on her life in America seen from the point of view of the outsider and Eunkang Koh externalizes her internal memories, conflating her past culture with her present in her oversized book worlds.

Emna Zghal responds in her suite of prints to a little known poetic record of a 9thcentury repressed African slave uprising in her native Iraq that through failure still found success in changing the course of that nation’s history. Antjuan Oden’s approach is an organic one, adding pieces of his own culture to his work with found objects. The Austrian artist Elisabeth Wöerndl gives us a video of her response to her time spent in Chicago that becomes a musical integration of humans on the move. Avery McCarthy looks back upon certain photographs that carry with them resonances of high points in western cultural history.

Pinky Bass explores cultural mores as they refer to the feminine mystique in contemporary American culture and its relationship to other cultures around the world while Dana Matthews creates a large accordion book seeing the female as an iconic one. Kelly Grider’s archetypal and sometimes mythic work utilizes photography and delicate darkroom techniques. Christina Hope uses underwater photography towards an interest in a variety of archetypes as she personally conveys ideals of inclusiveness. Joel Seah through “The Hanky Code” utilizes a sexual position charting system which harks back to the1960s and early 1970s, humorously playing upon the old archetypes of gay culture.

View exhibition map and list of works as PDF