This side, or the other
Due to the coronavirus, please call to ensure this event is still happening before you leave home.
Cuchifritos Gallery and Residency Unlimited are pleased to present This side, or the other… a culminating group exhibition of work by the 2020 NYC-Based Artist Residents Elizabeth Moran, Carlos Rosales-Silva, Christopher Udemezue, and Ziyang Wu. Their respective practices take on historiography, knowledge-making, socioeconomic structures, and the digitization of contemporary society. The NYC-Based Artist Residency Program is dedicated to artists living and working in the five boroughs who represent a range of diverse voices traditionally underrepresented in the arts and whose practices fill in gaps in historical knowledge.
The four artists were selected from an open call of over 180 submissions reviewed by a panel of arts professionals: Natasha Becker, an independent curator, writer, and a co-founder of Assembly Room; Ilk Yasha, an arts administrator, multidisciplinary facilitator, educator and Studio Museum Institute Curator at The Studio Museum in Harlem; and Rachel Gugelberger, RU Residency Program Director & Curator of Programs. The three-month residency program was indelibly shaped and formed by the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism — the program launched April 13 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in NYC and concluded in the midst of the Black Lives Matter protests erupting around the globe. During the three-month residency, artists conducted virtual studio visits with ten guest curator/critics, made virtual presentations (available on RU’s website), attended information sessions, hosted salons, and participated in weekly discussions on topics ranging from photography to IMF’s role in Jamaica to universal basic income and sex work.
This side, or the other… features new works conceived and manifested through the lens of our current moment of increasingly polarized debates around historical accuracy and alternative facts, migration and borders, death and rebirth, immunity and spirituality, falling on one side (or the other) in response to our long-standing democratic and constitutional crisis.
Elizabeth Moran’s research-based practice is informed by a preoccupation with the subjectivity of facts and evidence of unknown or little understood histories that take form in photography, audio, text, and found objects. For This side, or the other… Moran presents Rose (East), a video from her ongoing research project Against the Best Possible Sources, which examines the earliest history of the first professional fact-checkers, a role invented in 1922 by Time Magazine and held exclusively by women until 1971. The video footage “ displaying murals of vibrant skies and billowing clouds” was captured from the James Wall Finn ceiling mural of the Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library, where Moran conducted most of her research prior to COVID-19. In the context of the pandemic, Moran’s evocation of the awe of nature considers what it means to look at reproductions of nature and to look outside from inside when you do not have the freedom to move nor assemble freely.
Employing abstraction as a tool, Carlos Rosales-Silva considers a deep history of making that spans the complex visual communications of pre-colonial indigenous peoples to the intentional and functional color language of small businesses and homeowners in predominantly Brown neighborhoods. Rosales-Silva presents Amanacer/Atardecer, a new sculpture, discreet paintings, and recently published zines. Informed by the obelisk as an information point, in particular Pre-Columbian obelisks in the Americas which contained creation myths or other cultural information on their carved multi-faceted stone faces, Rosales-Silva’s obelisk of his own design combines his painting and publishing practices into a compact, multifaceted, and architectural object and container of memory.
A penchant for interviews and storytelling has deeply informed Christopher Udemezue’s art practice with a focus on his Jamaican heritage and the complexities of desire for connection, personal mythologies, generational trauma, healing, and his mother’s experience immigrating to the United States from Jamaica. Over the course of his residency, Udemezue read Joy DeGruy’s book Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, and her recommendations on healing cross-generationally have had a particular impact. The works created for the exhibition center on ideas of uprooting anti-Blackness, the work of self reflection, the necessity of harnessing joy within Black children, and extending grace and empathy within the Black community.
Ziyang Wu is a Chinese artist based in New York who draws from contemporary technology, digital power structures, popular culture and the dynamics between identity and community and the alienation of both body and spirit. His practice examines how the virtual world, data, and algorithms ubiquitously “micro-alienate” and reconstruct human interaction. Where Did Macy Go? is an 11-episode animated video told through a series of reports by its main character Macy and their encounter with “the epidemic,” life under quarantine, the search for their grandfather’s farm, and their revival. The video explores the collapse of old community structures, the emergence of a new community after decollectivization, Confucian obedience vs. social obedience, the new tele-republic of home, “mask politics,” and social justice under the pandemic. Originally posted on TikTok, the video installation is a physical manifestation of an online project created in response to our contemporary moment of fear, complexity and confusion.
This side, or the other… is curated by RU Residency Program Director & Curator of Programs Rachel Gugelberger with RU Communications Coordinator & NYC Residency Program Assistant Alyssa Alexander.
Venue: Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space
88 Essex Street, inside Essex Market
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