Summer Guthery is a New York-based independent curator and 2009 Masters degree candidate at Bard College's Center for Curatorial Studies. Her curatorial projects have included group shows, commissions,screenings and performance events including Salad Days, Artists Space, 2008; Other Certainties, NY Art and Media Center, 2008; Second Thoughts, Hessel Museum, 2008; Jamie Isenstein at the Hessel Museum, 2008; High Resolution, Seventh Regiment Armory, NY, 2008; Squaring the Circle, Suite 402, 2008; Untitled: About to Happen, Lumen House, 2008; and Analogous Logic, Temporary Storage Gallery, 2007.
Guthery has been a visiting curator and lecturer at the School of Visual Arts (New York, NY), U-Turn Quadrennial/DiVA (Copenhagen, Denmark), Bard College ICP (New York, NY), and Brooklyn College (New York, NY). She has contributed to exhibition catalogs and has had her writing featured in the upcoming Performa 2009 catalog, Second Thoughts at the Hessel Museum, Salad Days 3 at Artists Space,Whitewalls Magazine, and NY Arts. Her curatorial work has been reviewed and featured in Artforum.com, Time Out, White Wall Magazine, NY Arts, Art Review, The New York Sun, Tomorrow Unlimited, and Rhizome.
Guthery is a founding member of the online curatorial project whyandwherefore.com collaborating with Gallerie Loyal (Stockholm, Sweden), Vox Populi (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA), Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (Portland, Oregon, USA), and Bastard (Oslo, Norway). Currently she is a curatorial researcher for Performa, the Biennial of Visual Art Performance, and is curating her thesis exhibition Changing Light Bulbs In Thin Air to happen at Bard College as well as two performance events to happen at The New Museum (NYC) and Capricious Art Space (Brooklyn, NY)in the Spring of 2009.
Changing Light Bulbs In Thin Air brings together a constellation of work by nine artists. Using the book House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski to provide a framework for the exhibition, two directions explored are architectural representations of the mind and the deconstruction and reconstruction of text. House of Leaves is a winding tangent of a novel with multiple narrators intertwining and contradicting themselves while describing a journey into a paradoxical house in which the inner dimensions are larger than the outer. The book gains an ergodic dimension meaning that the graphic design and layout of the text mirrors the narrative, i.e. when a character is running down a hallway there are fewer words on the page causing the reader to flip faster. Some of the works in the exhibition relate through their textual sources, optical and spatial illusion, recursive imagery, and graphic experimentation.
Tauba Auerbach’s Alphabetized Bible is the entirety of the bible alphabetized, from cover text to interior punctuation. The new book is simulateously recognized through its reverent gold-embossed lettering and familiar heft yet remains illogical for the reader. There is the sense that running the text through alphabetization as a sieve can uncover additional meaning. Similarly Brian Clifton’s work The Meaning Field, Index, Ghost-Memory of a Room presented here as a table-top installation with photographs and photocopies uses an existing language set, that of physics and the theory of relativity, to speak about the subjective. He postulates on a new theory on the formation of relationships between people and places. Starting from literature, Christian Andersson’s large-scale vitrine, Looking Backward, takes an exacting look at the novel Looking Backward (2000-1887) written by Edward Bellamy in 1887. It is a prophetic novel about a man who falls asleep to wake up 133 years in the future in his Boston home now a socialist utopia. The novel’s role is reexamined here through an empirical lens as a bright theatrical light glares at the book and it’s eerily absent shadow.
The house in House of Leaves expands and contracts erratically according to the actions and emotions of the characters. This is then mirrored in the graphic layout of the text. Garth Weiser’s large scale painting The 2009’s relates as an aggressive graphic breakdown while Matthew Sheridan Smith’s newspapers, Untitled, and Adam Putnam’s Untitled (headbox) present a recursrive visual loop. Mungo Thomson’s Silent Film of a Tree Falling in the Forest portrays trees continually falling in the forest to the buzzing and clicking of the 16mm projector. Playing on the well-known aphorism “if a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?” the film conveys a playful circular logic as it proves and then negates its own epistemological quandry. Finally, Zak Kitnick’s installation, The People Behind Our Products, mirrors each gallery space pulling the architecture outwards with its deep recesses. Part of my interest here is in the relationship between text and sculptural objects and the manners in which a written text can be unraveled structurally and what this deconstructed form allows to be seen. This interest is then filtered through conversations with the artists, several of who shared an interest in the book.
In a desire to relate back to the book more literally, this butterfly fold booklet includes two additional projects. Uncertainty Mark presented by Carson Salter and Snowden Snowden calls for the return of the ambiguity and play in punctuation. Their project includes a cd containing the described font, Helvetica Uncertain, available in the gallery while supplies last. This project is followed by WL14/TC09 by Tyler Coburn in which he took the introduction to the MA written thesis which accompanies this exhibition and created a collaged manifesto/poem through a rule-based scrambling and expansion of the text. Finally, the photograph on the interior of the booklet is Nie Ma by Catherine Czacki. “Nie Ma” in polish loosely means it does not exist, we don’t have it, there is none, no more, or the end.