The Albright-Knox Art Gallery presents a solo exhibition by Eric and Heather ChanSchatz. This collaborative project, which has enabled the artists to further situate their practice and define their artwork, brings together the museum, the community, and artistic methodology in a context of participation and exchange. Albright-Knox Curator for the Collection Holly E. Hughes adds, “The project has provided an outlet for the artists to further their multilayered practice and explore the perception and role of art within contemporary society through institutional mediation.”
One hundred and fifty western New Yorkers were selected to participate in the creation of Universals Albright-Knox 150 (UN.0201–UN.0350) through a submission process and lottery drawing. Each participant met with the artists and interacted with a site-specific event artwork involving an artist-designed questionnaire and a one-on-one conversation with one of the artists.
ChanSchatz’s distinct visual language is exclusive to their working practice, and serves as the foundation for each of their works. The artists used the information and observations gathered during the one-on-one social engagements to create 150 unique, hand-painted works—one to represent each participant. These paintings are accompanied by a video installation that incorporates the footage of the participants’ sessions. This component not only reveals another layer of the artists’ working process, it emphasizes that a person’s identity resides much deeper than his or her façade, and includes personal preferences, the cadence of one’s voice, and even the intimate gesture of how one holds a writing instrument.
Universals Albright-Knox 150 represents the first half of a two-part project the Albright-Knox Art Gallery has commissioned from Eric and Heather ChanSchatz. In spring 2014, the Gallery will also acquire a large-scale sculpture based on the imagery of Universals Albright-Knox 150. This sculpture will be debuted as part of a larger exhibition and accompanying publication organized by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in close collaboration with the artists.
Eric and Heather ChanSchatz (b. 1968, America) have been collaborating through a creative process that marries traditional approaches to artmaking with socially engaged and event-based practices. Themes such as identity, communal relationships, and socio-political networks are referenced throughout their creative process and ultimately form the foundation of each of their final works of art.
Eric and Heather ChanSchatz have engaged in series of projects, working on-site with communities including American soldiers stationed in Iraq, coal miners in Pennsylvania, participants in the Egyptian revolution in Cairo, stateless children in Thailand, and the Millennials youth generation. Such interactions typically span several years and have taken place internationally, from New York to the Middle East.
The artists have created participatory, event-based performances and site-specific projects at the Swiss Institute in New York; the Austrian Cultural Forum New York; the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio; the Robert J. Shiffler Foundation in Dayton, Ohio; and Real Art Ways in Hartford, Connecticut.
Their projects have been exhibited in solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver; Albion in London; the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; and the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Eric and Heather ChanSchatz live and work in New York City.
Artists In Conversation: Friday, December 7, 6–8pm
Maria Scully-Morreale, Head of Public Relations & Marketing:
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Support for this exhibition is generously provided by Peggy Pierce Elfvin; the Seymour H. Knox Foundation, Inc.; the John R. Oishei Foundation, and the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation.