Carol Szymanski/Barry Schwabsky
We have started an entity—a sort of conceptual “brand”—to be the umbrella for a number of collaborations we want to pursue with people from different fields. It’s called “Emergency Eyewash” The first project under the Emergency Eyewash umbrella will be what we are calling a "conceptual magazine" in the form of a collection of hooded sweatshirts bearing poetic texts. Our interest in this specific type of garment has to do with its being an everyday item of clothing that most people like to wear while also being a signifier of specific youth cultures. Furthermore it paradoxically can be used to identify oneself while hiding one's identity. As Wikipedia puts it: .Angela McRobbie, professor of communications at Goldsmiths College in the UK, says the appeal of the hoodie is because of its promise of anonymity, mystery and anxiety. "The point of origin is obviously black American hip-hop culture, now thoroughly mainstream and a key part of the global economy. Leisure and sportswear adopted for everyday wear suggests a distance from the world of office suit or school uniform. Rap culture celebrates defiance, as it narrates the experience of social exclusion. Musically and stylistically, it projects menace and danger as well as anger and rage. The hooded top is one in a long line of garments chosen by young people, usually boys, to which are ascribed meanings suggesting that they are 'up to no good'. In the past, such appropriation was usually restricted to membership of specific youth cultures - leather jackets, bondage trousers - but nowadays it is the norm among young people to flag up their music and cultural preferences in this way, hence the adoption of the hoodie by boys across the boundaries of age, ethnicity and class."[For our first “issue” we are collaborating with a well-known menswear designer from Norway, Siv Stoldal (www.sivstoldal.com <http://www.sivstoldal.com/> ) , to produce three hoodies that will carry texts by three poets, John Yau, Tyrone Williams and Judith Goldman, written especially for the project. In this way our thought is that the poetry will to some degree articulate the unspoken thoughts hidden underneath the hood while at the same time extending the presence of poetry by bringing it out into different environments and contexts than the printed pages where it usually found
They will be handmade by couture dressmakers and will be printed at Nicola Killeen Textiles in London, a renowned bespoke textile printer.
“Emergency Eyewash” demonstrates the capacity of poetry to nimbly move and migrate across media while responding swiftly to societal crises and political events. Words fly in this exhibition, and when they come to rest, like birds on a wire, on a “hoodie” or an “abaya,” it is only to take off in no time to another support, with an acute sense of urgency.
—Thierry de Duve
Emergency Eyewash (Carol Szymanski and Barry Schwabsky)with Lisa Blas, Thierry de Duve, Judith Goldman, Siv Støldal, Tyrone Williams, John Yau, and an unidentified office worker
OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, January 12th, 6pm - 8pm
Thursday, January 12th, - Saturday, February 18th, 2017
Tanja Grunert is pleased to present the exhibition debut of Emergency Eyewash, a conceptual “label” conceived by Carol Szymanski and Barry Schwabsky as a vehicle for collaborations using texts, imagery, and objects. In particular, Emergency Eyewash aims to open up space for language arts outside the medium of the book and the computer screen.
“Emergency Eyewash demonstrates the capacity of poetry to nimbly move and migrate across media while responding swiftly to societal crises and political events. Words fly in this exhibition, and when they come to rest, like birds on a wire, on a hoodie or an abaya, it is only to take off in no time to another support, with an acute sense of urgency.”
—Thierry de Duve
The gallery’s main space will feature “Do Not Deal,” an installation including performance, video and sound with contributions by American poets Judith Goldman, Tyrone Williams, and John Yau and Norwegian menswear designer Siv Støldal. The installation is centered on three garments designed by Støldal which carry poems by Goldman, Williams, and Yau. Each garment is a variation on the hoodie—an everyday item of clothing that most people like to wear even as it also remains a signifier of specific youth cultures, and one that paradoxically can be used to both hide one’s identity and to claim one. Two of the hoodies will be employed performatively during the course of the exhibition. The “landscape” in which the figures signified by these hoodies are placed is derived from the nonproductive office reflected in a series of photographs that circulated anonymously on the internet following the crash of the world financial markets in the fall of 2008, and which Szymanski incorporated at the time into her email art project cockshut dummy. Also incorporated are printed fabric text paintings derived from cockshut dummy and made by Szymanski in collaboration with Nicola Killeen Textiles in London, a renowned bespoke textile printer. In all these works, puns and other forms of verbal and visual ambiguity simultaneously posit and conceal their meanings.
Also on view will be “Emergency Eyewash presents Lisa Blas,” with new works on vellum and Arches paper by the New York-based artist. These delicately layered pieces incorporate lines from poets such as Seamus Heaney and Pablo Neruda using a strangely antiquated-seeming gothic-style font. Their fragility acts as a catalyst for interpreting social and political landscapes past and present.
Emergency Eyewash includes Carol Szymanski, Barry Schwabsky, and others. Szymanski is an artist working with language and any other media. She has exhibited internationally, most recently at Galerie Tanja Grunert and at Elga Wimmer PCC, both in New York, in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Schwabsky is a poet as well as the art critic for The Nation. His recent books include collections of poetry (Trembling Hand Equilibrium, Black Square Editions, 2015) and essays (The Perpetual Guest: Art in the Unfinished Present, Verso, 2016).
Judith Goldman teaches in the Department of English at the University of Buffalo. Her publications include l.b.; or, catenaries (Krupskaya, 2011), DeathStar/Rico-chet (O Books, 2006), and Vocoder (Roof, 2001). Tyrone Williams has published several books of poetry, among them On Spec (Omnidawn, 2008), The Hero Project of the Century (The Backwaters Press, 2009), Adventures of Pi (Dos Madres Press, 2011), and Howell (Atelos, 2011). He teaches at Xavier University in Cincinnati. John Yau lives in New York and is the author of many books of poetry and criticism including Paradiso Diaspora (Penguin, 2006), A Thing Among Things: The Art of Jasper Johns (D.A.P., 2008), and Further Adventures in Monochrome (Copper Canyon Press, 2012).
In 2006 the British Fashion Council nominated Siv Støldal as Menswear Designer of the Year. Her idiosyncratic approach to design has incorporated numerous unusual research techniques and displays, such as the placing of a series of scarecrows in Norwegian fields or wrapping up buildings in London. She currently lives and works in Norway.
Lisa Blas is a New York-based artist who has exhibited and taught widely, working in painting, collage, photography and installation. Her most recent exhibition was at Kai Matsumiya Gallery, New York, in 2016.
Thierry de Duve is Evelyn Kranes Kossak Professor of Art History at Hunter College, New York. His most recent book is the catalogue raisonné of Nahum Tevet: Works on Glass 1972-1975, an exhibition he curated at the Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery, Hunter College, in the fall of 2016.
“Do Not Deal” will include two poetry readings. On Wednesday, February 8, at 7 pm, Tyrone Williams, Brenda Iijima, and John Yau will read, and on Saturday, February 11, at 6 pm, Judith Goldman and Kim Rosenfield will present their works.
On Saturdays, January 14 and 28 and February 4, 11, and 18, in homage/riposte to Marcel Duchamp’s notorious chess match at his 1963 retrospective in Pasadena, California, gallery visitors will be invited to play chess against the wearer of the garment adorned with Goldman’s poetry during the gallery’s regular opening hours.
Special thanks to Chess Forum, New York, NY for their support to the exhibition
and to David Sherman, Video Tech and Videographer
Liam Brennan, Actor
Rina Dutta, Actor
Daniel Henderson (Maddox Fraad), Actor