NEW YORK: EXIT ART
Exit Biennial: The Reconstruction
8 March – 4 May 2003
Almost a thousand people turned out for the inaugural exhibition of New York’s Exit Art at its brand new location on 10th Avenue at 36th Street. What they found was not only a great space for contemporary art but also a show featuring the not yet finished works of 46 emerging artists. Their 34 interdisciplinary site-specific installations were selected from a pool of more than 400 submissions, sent in after an open call for proposals last December. Artists were asked to create an installation as a metaphor for Exit Art’s reincarnation and its relationship to the new location. The entries on show were all works in progress, with a second leg to the exhibition (beginning 5 April) presenting the evolution of the exhibition.
Although the opening night sported a who’s
who of the New York art world, the sad fact is that the work on show here
certainly wouldn’t stir more than a raised eyebrow if presented in London or
Berlin. Artist collective TAG’s Wall of Mist more closely resembled a school
science project than a radically progressive artwork, while the opening
night’s performances hardly fared any better. Artist Rob Andrews cleaned the
floor of the gallery with a toothbrush and will continue to do so for the
duration of the exhibition.
The Reconstruction, curated by Exit Art’s co-founders Papo Colo and Jeanette Ingberman, is the first in a series of five Exit Art Biennials slated to take place over the next ten years. Each biennial exhibition will have a theme, purpose and focus in which individual projects will contribute to a collective body of work. Founded in 1982, Exit Art is a non-profit interdisciplinary cultural centre for contemporary arts and culture with a mission to explore all aspects of the visual arts, design, music, film/video, and performance/theatre. Having spent the last 20 years in two separate locations in SoHo, the new space allows for further development and wider audiences.