In Gallery 1, John Riepenhoff presents HANDLER, a series of collaborative figurative sculptures, papier-mâché legs outfitted in Riepenhoff’s pants and shoes holding large-scale paintings by Peter Barrickman, Nicholas Frank, Richard Galling, Michelle Grabner, Greg Klassen, Jose Lerma, Scott Reeder and Tyson Reeder.
A painting walks into a gallery and hangs out on the wall. The gallerist says "move up a little". The painting moves up a little. The gallerist says "looks great". The painting doesn't say anything, it's legs walk away to do something else.
In Art Stand Series, pairs of papier-mâché legs outfitted in Riepenhoff’s pants and shoes hold large-scale paintings by other artists. These unconventional easels simulate the perspective of the art-handler, making visible one of the unseen laborers integral to exhibition making. By ascribing equal value to handler and artist, the artwork suddenly renders the social boundaries within the art community permeable.
Slipping into the role of impresario, John Riepenhoff has developed a strategy that enables an examination of the many positions within the art community. In his praxis he is an artist, curator, installer, gallerist—even an art fair director. Each role is adopted as a means to locate and make visible the greater framework in which an individual participates. Projects are not limited to a specific format or medium; they overlap in their aim to facilitate community on one hand, and enhance a viewing experience on the other.
From the Catalog Essay from The Greater Milwaukee Foundation's Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowships for Individual Artists
Written by Piper Marshall, writer and assistant curator at Swiss Institute New York