Totems

Linda Ganjian, Alejandro Guzmán

November 9th, 2017 - May 31st, 2018
125 Maiden Lane - New York, New York

Art-in-Buildings is pleased to announce the newest exhibition in the lobby of 125 Maiden Lane: Linda Ganjian and Alejandro Guzmán: Totems. Ganjian's and Guzmán's intricate sculptures are ingrained with personal and political examinations of rediscovered histories. Through the quiet buildup of disparate materials and references, the artists create elaborate monuments to a forgotten age, the recent past, or an imminent future.

Linda Ganjian's work reinterprets Middle Eastern and American craft traditions in unexpected media. Through detailed and precise construction of miniature forms, Ganjian creates memorials to memories and histories of specific sites. In her installation at 125 Maiden Lane, Lost and Found Languages and Cargo, Ganjian presents recent series of work: Uncontained Consumption, Consumerist Mandalas, and Extinct Alphabets. In Uncontained Consumption, the artist recreates the sites of container ship accidents, using plaster casts of discarded packaging from consumer goods to display a beautiful and horrific ocean landscape. Her Extinct Alphabets towers and table-top sculpture are constructed from the letter forms of obsolete languages, each a monument to a culture lost but not forgotten. Building up the grandiose out of small detailed pieces, Ganjian's work reorganizes the chaotic disarray of history into delicate dedications.

Contrasting with the archaeological repose in Ganjian's work, Alejandro Guzmán presents his sculptures as raised monoliths above the viewer's eye level, offering an imposing sentinel's welcome into the 125 Maiden Lane atrium. Ecstatic Fellowship presents a collection of 'performance sculpture' that playfully challenges viewers to join in a world of unrestricted possibilities. Part of Guzmán's ongoing Creative Misunderstandings series, each work is a vessel for physical and spiritual embodiment. When activated by a performer – through dance, monologue, improvisation, and traditional ritual – the sculpture serves as a monumental mask, provoking new ways for social interaction. Social frustration, shared and individual histories are central to the work:Guzmán makes references to his own family history and to his involvement with the Petrorada of Haiti, the Vejigante of Puerto Rico, and the Nkisi of central Africa. Guided by a provocative spirit towards performance, his totemic monuments serve as conduits between esoteric spiritual practice and art production.

Linda Ganjian is a Queens-based artist who works in a variety of materials, from clay to cement to paper. Her work has been exhibited in New York and abroad. Exhibition highlights include: Depo, Istanbul; Auxiliary Projects; Artspace, New Haven, CT; National Academy of Design; Socrates Sculpture Park; Queens Museum; Storefront for Art and Architecture; [email protected] Gallery; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; and Stedelijk museum de Lakenhal in Leiden, Holland. She has received grants from: the Queens Council on the Arts; Pollack-Krasner Foundation; Artslink; and fellowships to: Saltonstall, MacDowell, Millay, and Vermont Studio Center. She has completed public art commissions for the NYC School Construction Authority at IS230 in Queens and for the MTA at the 111th street A train station in Queens. She received her B.A. from Bard College in 1992 and her MFA from Hunter College CUNY in 1998.

Alejandro Guzmán (b. Puerto Rico, 1978) received his B.A. at the University of Colorado at Boulder and M.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine in 2012. Recent exhibitions have included performance and sculpture at the Brooklyn Museum, Seattle Art Museum, Bronx Museum of the Arts, El Museo Del Barrio, Faena Forum, The Calder Foundation, The Queens Museum, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, Toledo Museum of Art and Taller Boricua. Guzmán had held residencies at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in New York, NY; Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA; MadArt in Seattle, WA; The New Roots Foundation in Guatemala and Headlands Center for the Arts in San Francisco, CA.

For press inquiries contact: Monique Peterson, QUINN |[email protected] | 212.868.1900 x264.

Image on the left: Linda Ganjian, Extinct Alphabets, 2008-2010, courtesy the artist
Image on the right: Alejandro Guzmán, The Fatalist, Seattle Art Museum, 2015, courtesy the artist

Linda Ganjian and Alejandro Guzmán: Totems is curated by Eliana Blechman and sponsored by the Time Equities Inc. (TEI) Art-in-Buildings. TEI is committed to enriching the experience of our properties through the Art-in-Buildings Program, an innovative approach that brings contemporary art by emerging and mid-career artists to non-traditional exhibition spaces in the interest of promoting artists, expanding the audience for art, and creating a more interesting environment for our building occupants, residents, and their guests.

Photos by Sol Hashemi.

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