Second Saturdays Explores “Mel Chin: All Over the Place”
Levity's Wounds and Gravity's Well
Aug 11 2018
Join us for the second of four Second Saturdays, a new series of dynamic public programs presented to delve deeper into the themes, techniques, and aesthetics of Queens Museum’s temporary exhibitions. We will be kicking the series off with Mel Chin: All Over the Place on April 14, June 9, July 14, and August 11 from 12-4pm. Each afternoon will feature events produced in conversation with All Over the Place’s four thematic sections at the Queens Museum.
On August 11th, we will be delve deeper into “Levity’s Wounds and Gravity’s Well.” Mel Chin’s strategy of altering objects to reveal uncomfortable or disturbing realities is particularly present in this section. Strange contradictions and juxtapositions recall a crucial tactic of the Surrealist movement of the early twentieth century. The Surrealists sought to fight the tyranny of rationality (which indeed had brought havoc into the world with World War I) and instead bring the creative potential of the unconscious into active engagement with the everyday. In a similar vein, Chin transforms ordinary kitchen appliances into erotic or menacing machines.
Chin often quotes James Baldwin’s statement that “Sentimentality…is the mark of dishonesty…a signal of secret and violent inhumanity, the mask of cruelty.” Some artworks here make an object of violence into a visual pun that, like sentimentality, momentarily obscures the potential harm it can inflict. The enormous spider-shaped Cabinet of Craving, 2012, calls to mind the English obsession with tea and its service, which was built on the back of slave labor and brutal colonial power; a police night stick is linked to rap music and freedom of expression; and assault rifles become a Medieval cross.
Stay tuned for further program details!
NOTE: Second Saturdays will take a break for May 12, as Queens Museum is hosting Open Engagement, an artist-led conference dedicated to expanding the dialogue around and creating a site of care for the field of socially engaged art. This year’s conference focuses on the theme of SUSTAINABILITY and features keynote presentations by Mel Chin and Lucy Lippard.
Featured Image: Cabinet of Craving, 2012
Mel Chin: All Over the Place is made possible in part by lead support from the Henry Luce Foundation and Ford Foundation. Major support is provided by Sarah Arison, Suzanne Deal Booth, Agnes Gund, The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, Ann and James Harithas, Ellen and Bill Taubman, The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston, Annette Blum, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo and the Dorothea Leonhardt Fund at the Communities Foundation of Texas, Inc., Matthew Cushing, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Thomas Pascal Will Robinson, and two anonymous donors. Additional support is provided by Fairfax Dorn and Marc Glimcher, and Ursula von Rydingsvard.
Public programs at the Queens Museum are made possible by Surdna Foundation and The New York Community Trust.