Steven Kasher Gallery is pleased to present the group exhibition Alchemical, curated by Kevin Moore. Alchemical features 25 works by 19 contemporary artists. Mainly consisting of large-scale photographs, the show also includes a neon sculpture by Matthew Spieglman and an istallation by Daniel Lefcourt. The show features works by artists Robert Buck, A.K. Burns, Phil Chang, Anne Collier, Melissa Dubbin & Aaron S. Davidson, Liz Deschenes, Elena Dorfman, Roe Ethridge, Zoe Leonard, Ryan McGinley, David Benjamin Sherry, James Welling, Hannah Whitaker, and Minor White.
Kevin Moore writes, “Alchemical is not a show about chemistry. It is not a show about photographic abstraction or manipulated photography or the obsolescence of photography as one more useless modern technology. It is not a show about photography at all. Rather, it is a show about an impulse to visualize radical, quasi-mystical transformation, to turn economic depression into inspiration, stagnant politics into heroic mobilization, environmental disaster into cleansing reordering, dirty coal into light lithium. Short-circuiting the usual channels of science, technology, and expert knowledge, Alchemical looks instead to a cloudburst, an explosion, a strange light, to enact cathartic transformation, viz., the creation of a universal elixir. Viz., a miracle.
Alchemical offers no solutions, explanations, rationalizations. It does not wish to “reach out” to, “move forward” through, or “throw down” any particular set of current problems—the days of rational science, enlightenment idealism, corporate strategizing, and utopian convictions are over. Best hope for a lightening bolt, a golden ray, a glowing goat, just as the millions flocking to churches, playing the lottery, and tuning in to TV shows about vampires and psychics have learned to do. Change is inevitable but one might as well envision it positively, spectacularly, lead-into-goldly. Be wary of stocks, real estate, retirement plans, Rothkos. Trust only intuition and black magic to get you where you need to go.”
Kevin Moore is the author of Starburst: Color Photography in America 1970-1980 (Cincinnati Art Museum/Hatje Cantz, 2010) and Jacques Henri Lartigue: The Invention of an Artist (Princeton University Press, 2004), and a contributing author to Robert Heinecken (Ridinghouse, 2012) and Words Without Pictures (LACMA/Aperture, 2009).