AC Institute presents three solo exhibitions on the theme of exchange and value

Event  |  Reviews  |  Comments
AC Institute presents three solo exhibitions on the theme of exchange and value

16 E. 48th St.
4th Floor
New York, NY 10017
October 28th, 2010 - December 4th, 2010
Opening: October 28th, 2010 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Tue-Fri 1-5
photography, mixed-media, digital, installation, video-art, performance, conceptual, sculpture


The AC Institute presents three solo exhibitions on the theme of exchange and value


October 28- December 4, 2010

Opening Event: Thursday, October 28, 6-8PM



Derek Curry: Viaticus Par Eximo Sermo (money is free speech) and Tulipeo Feteo

Jennifer Gradecki: IRB# G10-02-066-01

Dima Strakovsky: The Erotic Life of XAU


Derek Curry: Viaticus Par Eximo Sermo (money is free speech) and Tulip Feteo

Derek Curry’s work aims to make people aware of their own actions as performing a function within a social system.  He intends to make visible the underlying structure that dictate how people react to, or work within a paradigm or set of unquestioned assumptions.  Ultimately, the goal is to provoke people to question their unarticulated presuppositions. To accept certain precepts is to give credence or power to a belief or authority.  By demonstrating that those precepts are the result of a paradigmatic belief system, Curry hopes to undermine, or at least to encourage the viewer to question, that system’s authority.

Viaticus Par Eximo Sermo (money is free speech) is an installation that demonstrates how legal rulings that regard the spending of money for political campaigns as free speech effectively means that increased spending power is speech amplification.  Crickets encased in a series of steel and Plexiglas boxes accompanied by a megaphone and paper money represent this relationship. Charts, diagrams, and drawings convey the history of money being legally considered free speech and illustrate how loud a cricket would be if it had the wealth of a major corporation. 

Tulipa Feteo aims to cross the genes of a tulip with a carrion flower, creating a tulip that smells like rotting flesh.  The tulips will be planted at sites affected by economic bubbles as a reminder of the first economic bubble, the Tulip Bubble.  Presently, viewers are invited to place scratch and sniff stickers in place of the flowers.

Jennifer Gradecki: IRB# G10-02-066-01

Over the past six years, Jennifer Gradecki’s work has pulled from the histories,   methodologies and values of both social science and art, often mining the darker sides of human behavior.   Utilizing techniques traditionally employed by social scientists, she provides a framework that enables people to reflect on their perceptions, while questioning the belief that science and art should be exclusionary to one another. Through staged clinical lab settings, scripted performances, sculptural installations, data visualization, and both hidden and explicit data collection techniques, she investigates and displays the viewer/participant’s behavior as well as systems of power relations.

IRB# G10-02-066-01 is a participatory installation that questions the boundaries of ethics in psychological research, explores the possibility of exchange between the fields of art and psychology, and examines the social relations that a shock machine may represent or produce in a gallery setting. The piece consists of an Institutional Review Board (IRB) application for a study entitled Social Interaction as a Function of Voluntary Engagement with a Shock Machine, letters of correspondence with the IRB, two chairs flanking a small table that holds a shock machine, and a sign that explains the guidelines for participation. The letters of correspondence on display contain Gradecki’s efforts to convince the IRB that she is producing meaningful information and preserving participant autonomy. Viewers are invited to use the shock machine, which has two electrode leads and two hand-held push buttons to allow for two people to shock each other simultaneously.

Dima Strakovsky: The Erotic Life of XAU

Photograph by Robert Dickes

It is absolutely amazing that a system of global exchange can be based on a desire for a bright, yellowish, glittering metal. Gold is valuable, but its value does not originate in the realm of economics. It is beautiful, pretty, shinny and a whole list of other "fuzzy" adjectives. Until very recently gold was the cornerstone of the world financial exchange and is still used as a hedge against inflation. In short, the most vital quantitative system on the planet (finance) has at its core a qualitative value judgment.

Gold provides a perfect foil for talking about the idea of beauty and value of aesthetic judgment. In some ways it is a reflection of the system that sends the values of art (read aesthetically relevant) objects sky high. In other ways it is an embodiment of the "purest of beauties." That is, unlike artworks, it is least likely to be an object of speculative pricing; there are several international agreements to assure us that this will not happen. In this way we prop up our decision, care for it, and try to make sure that it is never questioned.

Strakovsky chooses to look at this process as a highly complex durational performance. This act is mirrored in The Erotic Life of XAU; one gram of gold is levitated using a helium balloon. For the sculpture to stay afloat and functioning, the balloon has to be refilled by the gallery staff for the
entire duration of the show. 

Derek Curry was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1976.  He received his BFA from the University of South Florida (2007) and his MFA in New Genres from UCLA in 2010.  Working with a variety of material from copyright law to bacteria, Curry’s work frequently involves viewer participation, sometimes without the participants’ knowledge of their involvement.  He has exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, FL, the Tampa Museum of Art, and The Atlantic Center for the Arts.  While he has shown nationally in art galleries and museums, it is also common to find his work outside of a traditional art context in the form of public interventions.  Currently, Derek lives and works in Los Angeles.


Jennifer Gradecki was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1980. As an undergraduate, she attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, earning a double major in Sculpture and Experimental Social Psychology and a minor in Art History. She earned her MFA in New Genres from UCLA in 2010. Gradecki is an emerging national artist. Her work has been exhibited in galleries, museums, and alternative spaces from Los Angeles to New York, including Crisp London Los Angeles, Cal State Long Beach, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Gradecki has presented her psychological research at the Midwestern Psychological Association’s annual conference. In 2008, she co-curated the Wight Biennial. Gradecki can also be found performing experiments, usually uninvited, at galleries, museums, and other public places. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles.


Dmitry "Dima" Strakovsky was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1976. He has lived in the United States since 1988. Dima completed his MFA degree at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago's Department of Art and Technology and stayed in Chicago for several years producing art and working for various companies in the toy invention industry. In 2006 he began his full time academic career at the University of Kentucky (Lexington).

Dima's work spans across diverse media: robotic/kinetic installation, sound, video, performance and graphic arts. His work has been included in a variety of exhibitions and events at venues such as Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, LA FREEWAVES 2008 and Moscow International Biennale for Young Art 2010. 


Shows run from October 28, 2010 to December 4, 2010

Artists talks to be scheduled.  Check back!


About AC Institute:

AC’s mission is to advance the understanding of art through investigation, research and education. It is a lab and forum for experimentation and critical discussion.

We support and develop projects that explore a performative exchange across visual, verbal and experiential disciplines. We encourage critical writing that challenges conventional expectations of meaning and objectivity as well as the boundaries between the rational and subjective.


Art Currents is a non-profit 501(c)3.

                                                                              AC Institute

547 W. 27th St, 6th Floor  New York, NY 10001

Gallery #610 / email:

Gallery Hours: Wed., Fri. & Sat.: 1-6pm, Thurs.: 1-8pm