Can I Call Myself a Curator Now? “On Display” at Storefront

This Friday, August 6, a small show I’ve curated will open at Storefront Gallery in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn (6 – 9 pm). Check out the listing on ArtCat. If you can attend it would be great to see you there (make sure to say hi). Storefront is a tight space but I’m sure we can fit everyone in.

I’m very happy to that I will have the opportunity to show all three of these artists together. Their work is very different but I love the possibility of combining their work and seeing the result of this curatorial effort.

Artist William Powhida has been giving me a hard time about being a “curator” over Twitter, but that’s alright, I actually have no qualms about jumping from criticism and art writing into the world of curation. I think after a decade of writing, reviewing, and thinking about exhibitions (and other efforts in the field of visual arts) I think I can do this. It’s a great opportunity that I have Deborah Brown and Jason Andrew (both of Storefront) to thank for. I also appreciate the artists who have entrusted me with showing their work (yes, they are insane). All that is left to do at this point is hang the show (which happens later this week).

I’m excited to see the work of Sharon Butler, Joy Curtis & Cathy Nan Quinlan together. I hope it will work in person as well as I imagined. We’ll have to wait and see.

The show has a small catalogue with an essay by yours truly and I will post my essay later this week. Until then I am offering five free catalogues (the cover is posted above) to the first five people to email via the CONTACT PAGE or DM me via Twitter.

Here’s the official release for the show, which is titled On Display:

STOREFRONT is pleased to announce On Display, a three-person exhibition curated by Hrag Vartanian featuring paintings by Sharon Butler and Cathy Nan Quinlan with sculptural objects by Joy Curtis.

On Display offers three challenging new perspectives on abstraction. Each artist employs familiar forms, but in different and idiosyncratic ways. Their work thus embodies an inventive and wide-ranging exploration of crucial elements of visual language: framing, illusion, and ultimately imperfection.

Sharon Butler’s paintings embrace the slightly off-kilter, the not-quite-right, the un-straight line, discordant color, and awkwardly placed shapes. “Uncertainty and doubt are central to my painting practice – I’ve learned to respect the tentative and contingent.” Butler blogs at Two Coats of Paint, writes for The Brooklyn Rail, and is a professor in the art department at Eastern Connecticut State University. She divides her time between New York City and Mystic, her hometown in Connecticut.

Joy Curtis’s sculptures explore bad form and anxious psychological space. The familiar, the irrational, the discarded, and the imperfect particularly intrigue her. Her recent solo shows include exhibitions at Klaus Von Nichtsaggend, and Amphibological Displays at HQ, both in Brooklyn, NY. Curtis’s work has been in many group exhibitions in New York and Los Angeles, including shows at CRG, Lehmann Maupin, Triple Candie, and Workspace.

Cathy Nan Quinlan’s paintings crosshatch, separate and reintroduce pictorial space. “Every so often, standing at the easel, I say to myself, about myself, ‘She paints like an angel.’ Slightly more frequently, I think the painting is shit and say, like Faust, ‘I am a wretched fool and still no wiser than before.’” Quinlan is a passionate cook, founder of The Temporary Museum, author of The Platonic Solids, sometime art critic (The Brooklyn Rail and Artcritical) and co-writer with Su Friedrich of the film Hide and Seek (1996). Quinlan lives in Brooklyn.

Hrag Vartanian is a Brooklyn-based writer, blogger, and cultural worker. He edits the art blogazine Hyperallergic.

A full-color catalogue with essays by Butler, Curtis, Quinlan, Vartanian accompanies the exhibition.