Featuring Yoko Inoue
A multi-media exhibition in collaboration with Bennington College students Aaron Fisher, Kelli Karsten, Kirian Langseth-Schmidt, Griff Maloney, Trent Morris and Nate Philbrick
Curated by Andréa Salerno
Exhibition dates: March 17 – April 21, 2007
Opening reception: Saturday, March 17, 4 to 6pm
Encarta Dictionary defines Pos-it as: to put something forward for consideration. For this exhibition Inoue et al re-considered Cuchifritos as an entity within the Essex Street Market. Instead of keeping the gallery psychologically separated, Pos-it is “posing” as a type of vendor giving this gallery within the marketplace a more familiar feel to consumers. Furthermore, this exhibition is taking a fluxus-like approach, blurring the line between the formal hands-off policy of most galleries and an interactive commercial market. We are inviting visitors to step inside and touch, smell, feel and engage.
Yoko Inoue’s multi-media installation includes hand-cast ceramic Welcome Cats and a fountain/money bank of water bottles merged with Buddhas. Referencing her Japanese background, the Welcome Cat is considered good luck and good money, and is a necessary component to a thriving place of commerce. By placing the cats in the gallery, Inoue is essentially blessing the market and welcoming prosperity. Inoue has often worked with images of the Buddha. She is interested in the dynamic of consumerism and how a religious icon like Buddha can be popularized and appears alongside pop items in places like Canal Street. She further comments on the phenomena of consumerism by literally merging Buddha with a water bottle. For Pos-it, Inoue is essentially creating a consumer shrine of cultural icons and at the same time exploring the amorphous border between commodity and spirituality.
Inoue’s installations are often dense arrangements of hand-cast ceramics derived from cheaply mass-produced products found in the urban marketplace and consist of several separate elements or bodies of work. There is always a dialogue between these items, each with a unique set of questions. In Pos-it, Inoue, Visual Arts Faculty at Bennington College in Vermont, has incorporated the work of six of her students into her installation. She asked them to consider the space in which the work will be situated, and the inherent dialogue that will take place between the art objects placed within the gallery and the shoppers/passers-by. The students studied the market and considered its consumerism in various ways, creating pillows, wool balls that look like produce, a Tupperware-inspired chandelier, a gumball machine and a video of eating custom-made cake purchased from a market vendor. One student charted the origins of money and how and why barter was replaced by trading standardized items of value, i.e. currency. By including the students’ work in her installation, Inoue also imparts a sense of “integral community” which extends to the Essex Street Market as a whole.
Born in Osaka, Japan, Yoko Inoue has lived in New York City for 15 years. She is currently participating in LMCC’s Workspace Program 2006/2007, and is a visiting artist at Bennington College, VT. This is the first time these Bennington students have exhibited their work at a leading NYC venue.
Special thanks to the Ruth Chenven Foundation, Ace Natural, Inc. Wholesale Natural Food and Black Plum.