The Hole is proud to present "Summer Reading", a group exhibition and transformation of our Bowery galleries into a giant art book reading room. With works of painting, drawing, sculpture and photography, artists in this show explore the relationship of literature and print media to the realm of fine arts, or perhaps the slippages of meaning and experience between the act of reading and that of looking.
While many works are made from book covers, book pages or books and magazines themselves, many of the works deal in a larger sense with words or semiotics, the shapes of letters or the life of the mind within the realm of “arts and letters”. David Shrigley contributes a lexically disruptive bronze sculpture and a work on paper that hilariously looks at the translation of an artist’s oeuvre into print form via an interview. “Do you draw every day? Yes I draw every day.” Troels Carlsen contributes a trompe l’oeil painting on paper revealing the poetry behind a dedication page of a lost novel; while Jen Mazza investigates what psychological content we bring to a simple painting of a closed Psychology textbook.
As a zine collecting bibliophile and a show full of book nerds, The Death of Print Media is less of a theme than is the celebration of print media, but death certainly is lurking: Harland Miller contributes an adjusted Penguin Classics painting asking “Death: What’s In It For Me?” Sean Landers exhibits a memento mori library painting of adjusted titles, Long Bin Chen contributes two massive mausoleal busts of literary giants made from carved magazines, and Simon Evans a letter to the future from William Shakespeare.
That John Waters meme about making books “sexy” again by not sleeping with someone if you go home with them and they don’t own books is certainly a theme, to me: Matthew Higgs has both as a curator and artist always sought to make reading a crucial and cool activity in the art world and contributes two new sculptures that literally bring reading into the gallery. Jesse Edwards perhaps literalizes the potential “sexiness” of reading, as do Devin Troy Strother’s fornicating “Jungle Book” characters, while Kembra Pfahler or Hollie Chastain’s cover girls flirt vintage-ly from their pages.
Various material elements of a book are explored, from their organic origins to their bonding, printing and tactile qualities; however, the duration and temporality of the written word and the unavoidable interiority of the act of reading are explored as well. Peter Funch captures a simultaneous composite moment when we dip into the silent, personal bubble of reading, highlighting the isolating nature of print, just as Andrew Kuo in his geometrically neurotic fashion looks at what part of his life is “best seller” and which part “a recyclable.” Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari of Toilet Paper show an image from their new book where two figures are literally packed into and separated by their library, and attempt to hold hands across the void. Artists like Clare Rojas, Matthew Stone or Miranda July perhaps suggest just that “reaching across the void”, depicting reading as something that we share and that ties us, idiosyncratically, together.
Please join us any lazy summer afternoon to come in to check out the exhibition and grab something off the shelves and sit in a big chair and peruse it. With over five thousand titles within reach on our shelves, including contributions from Printed Matter, D.A.P., powerHouse Books, PictureBox, Anteism and many of our gallery friends, this free reading room will contain a lot of new titles and rare old catalogues.
Our library furniture was generously provided by Bright Lyons in Brooklyn, run by Paul Bright whose contribution to the exhibition is an installation of his massive zine collection installed on the back wall of the gallery.
Please do not take our books home with you, unless you choose to purchase an available title from our shop in the storefront. Many of these guys come from my personal collection of art books and zines that I have amassed over twelve years and I would cry if any disappeared. But I am very excited to share them with you this summer!