The Ministry of Artistic Affairs
Monday, January 10, 2011

Opening this Thursday evening, Mixed Greens Gallery presents "Tuesday", their first exhibition organized by an independent curator. Amani Olu takes the reins and unites an impressive mix of emerging artists to explore and deepen our understanding of the everyday in contemporary art.

In 1849, French artist Gustave Courbet painted The Stone Breakers, which captures two men in the act of breaking stones, traditionally the lowest class of work in French society. Courbet presents their menial labor in a straightforward manner, omitting romanticized and idealized gestures. This radical painting is the first historically significant depiction of everyday content in art. Almost fifty years later, Marcel Duchamp enraged the art world with his seminal readymade sculpture, Fountain. By the 1960s, Andy Warhol was producing paintings of Coke bottles, Campbell Soup cans, and high profile American celebrities. Courbet, Duchamp, and Warhol employed everyday content in their work in part to upset bourgeois sensibility. Courbet’s paintings rejected the historical and fictional subjects found in Neoclassicism and Romanticism, Duchamp’s Fountain posed an epistemological question (What is art?), and Warhol celebrated and criticized Post–War Americana by appropriating its iconic imagery. Warhol’s successful consideration of consumer products and popular culture is what gave rise to the inclusion and critical reception of the quotidian in art since the 1960s.

Akin to Courbet, Duchamp, and Warhol, contemporary artists continue to explore the everyday from a literal perspective, often through representation of content or emphasis on materials. "Tuesday", however, aspires to expand the field of everydayness by culling together contemporary works that are less obvious manifestations of the everyday. Embodying various forms of the quotidian from noticing to the commonplace, this exhibition attempts to engage viewer expectations.

On the surface, the proposed works are seemingly beholden to one central idea; yet, through a combination of artist dialogue and interpretation, the everyday, once subtlety embedded in the object, becomes apparent. Despite the substantial relationship to the everyday in their work, this subject does not necessarily motivate the exhibiting artists. The aim, then, is to pull their work apart and re-contextualize it with the intention of discovering new meaning and promoting further understanding.

This exhibition features works by Conor Backman, Joy Drury Cox, Jon Feinstein, Van Hanos, Heather Rasmussen, Peter Segerstrom, Breanne Trammell, and Jennifer Marman & Daniel Borins.

Amani Olu (b. 1980) is an independent curator, writer, and the co-founder and executive director of Humble Arts Foundation, a New York based not-for-profit organization committed to supporting and promoting new art photography. His projects have been reviewed in many prestigious publications including The New York Times, Art News, The New Yorker, and Time Out NY. He lives and works in New York and is a proud member of New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA).

Mixed Greens Gallery
531 West 26th Street, 1st Floor, New York City
Opening reception: Thursday, January 13, 2011, 6-8pm
Exhibition: January 13 - February 12, 2011

By Randy Gladman for The Ministry of Artistic Affairs.