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Charles Gaines

Active Ingredients: Prompts, Props Performance (group show)
Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown
20 October 2017 - 7 January 2018

Charles Gaines, Notes on Social Justice: Wait Till Next November, (1892), 2013 © Charles Gaines. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York
Charles Gaines, Notes on Social Justice: Wait Till Next November, (1892), 2013 © Charles Gaines. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Active Ingredients: Prompts, Props, Performance flips the script; it reveals the performativity of art objects, and the objectness of human performers. This two-part project consists of a gallery-based exhibition and a series of performances that together meditate on the meanings, subtleties, and complications of the term “performance.”

The exhibition casts props and sculptures as “performers” that prompt audience actions and interactions. The live series, A People’s History of Performance Art, stages iconic photographs of canonical performance art as tableaux vivants, turning actors into objects. Active Ingredients calls into question the distinction between “live and ephemeral” and “dead and static.”

Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown


Additional:

Charles Gaines

Numbers and Trees IV, #2 Xeno (orange) (site-specific installation)
ICA Miami, Miami
1 December 2017 - 4 November 2018

Charles Gaines, Numbers and Trees IV, #2 Xeno (orange), detail, 2017 © ICA Miami, Charles Gaines
Charles Gaines, Numbers and Trees IV, #2 Xeno (orange), detail, 2017 © ICA Miami, Charles Gaines

Charles Gaines’s multi-panel installation activates ICA Miami’s central stairwell, and explores the artist’s approach to seriality through a unique vertical composition.

The artist’s practice places him within the legacy of Conceptualism, evidenced by works such as his gridded, serial images of trees painted on plexiglass that successively plot the shape of trees on one another. Since the 1970s, he has used self-determined rules in order to translate photographic information; he has said: “I use systems in order to provoke the issues around representation.” Here, photographs of trees are translated in various forms of colorful abstraction.

Gaines’s strict method of presenting his works is notably inspired by early Conceptual practices, but he doesn’t utilize the formal rules or use of language and pictures in the same way that artists such as Joseph Kosuth would. What he intends to lay bare is the arbitrariness and dependence on context of all processes of significance. In simpler terms, in the artist’s view, content, meaning, and emotions do not develop naturally, nor are they universal.

ICA Miami, Miami