One Version of Events
From April 19 – May 24, 2015, PARTICIPANT INC is very pleased to present Neil Goldberg, One Version of Events. Featuring drawings, photographs, and video, the exhibition explores the condition of being embodied, especially the need to eat. Named after a Wislawa Szymborska poem – which chronicles the deliberations of incorporeal beings offered the possibility of human existence – One Version of Events contemplates the strange situation of finding oneself alive as essentially an animal, in a particular place and time, needing to consume other living organisms to survive.
Goldberg is well known for photography and video works that render everyday, otherwise quotidian urban moments extraordinary, even revelatory, such as the fleeting disorientation of walking aboveground from the subway; missing the train, when moments of disappointment break otherwise hardened expressions; office workers circling an unexceptional salad bar in search of food. For One Version of Events, food becomes an especially wrought topic, as Goldberg correlates natural predators and prey with their human variants – familial, romantic, or otherwise.
In the process, the two are related and juxtaposed in playful, often humorous ways.
A collection of small, delicate drawings comprising Wild Animals Eat My Family and Me (2015) portray Goldberg and other immediate relatives being violently devoured by packs of hyenas, lions, and other predators, while The Gay Couples of Whole Foods (2013-2015) offers a notably inverse scenario: its gridded snapshots feature presumably privileged homosexual partners leaving the upmarket grocer. Smiling and clutching grocery bags, they’re sharing a domestic moment together in a setting bereft of the fishing, killing, and butchering intrinsic to domestic food production – sanitized, as it is, by attractive food displays and little reference to where food actually comes from.
With One Version of Events No. 4 (Wolf and Elk), Goldberg foregrounds this more violent nature of consumption with an animated video of hunter and hunted in close pursuit, the animals’ bodies fleetingly abstracted into opaque outlines, while a tall projection, One Version of Events No. 5 (Spheres) (2015), suspends bubbles in mid-air. Each contains prey literally in the mouth of its hunter – seized in a moment of death. While these works, among others, depict events seemingly far removed from day-to-day human existence, they allegorically speak to the brutality of living – something easily forgotten, if never readily apparent.
Neil Goldberg has been exhibiting video, photo, and mixed media work since 1992 at venues including The Museum of Modern Art (permanent collection); The New Museum of Contemporary Art; The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum; The Hammer Museum; The Kitchen; The Pacific Film Archive; NGBK Kunsthalle Berlin and El Centro de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona. His work was the subject of recent surveys at the Museum of the City of New York and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, and in 2013 was presented on fifteen of the large digital signs in Times Square as part of a public art initiative by Times Square Arts. Goldberg has received support from the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Experimental Television Center, Harpo Foundation, CEC ArtsLink, Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony and the Still Point Fund. He teaches at the Yale School of Art and Parsons The New School, and this summer will be on the faculty at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.
Neil Goldberg, One Version of Events, is made possible by the support of the Still Point Fund.
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