An exhibition featuring art work from Chris Sullivan’s feature films, the critically lauded “Consuming Spirits” and his work in progress “The Orbit of Minor Satellites,” Animated Worlds of Chris Sullivan featured photographs, physical art work, videos of the work being created, dialogue recording sessions, and work-in-progress footage. The New York Times wrote of “Consuming Spirits” in 2012: “it is a work of obsessive artisanal discipline and unfettered artistic vision. You have never seen anything like it.” The Slant review called Consuming Spirits “not only a monstrous visual achievement, but one of the most uniquely humanistic animated features of all time.” Read more about the exhibition here.
A collaborative presentation assembled by artist Gregory Thielker and anthropologist Noah Coburn, (Un)governed spaces focused on the Afghan region surrounding the U.S. military base at Bagram. The region—which has been occupied by Alexander the Great, the Soviet Union, the Taliban, and most recently, the United States—offers a crossroads of past and present. Over the course of the past three years, Thielker and Coburn lived, researched, and toured the region, sharing intimate conversations with locals, interviewing U.S. soldiers, sketching the bazaar and local houses, and conducting historical and ethnographic research both in Afghanistan and the United States. Read more about the exhibition here.
Slipped Gears, was a multimedia exhibition featuring the work of nine artists. It opened in Bennington’s Usdan Gallery on Tuesday, September 16. The show offered challenging responses to a moment of tectonic cultural transition, when technology increasingly resides in and around us. The artists, many of whom have shown internationally, included Nick Hornby, Joon Oluchi Lee, Kristin Lucas, Rosa Menkman, Jaakko Pallasvuo, Katie Torn, Matias Viegener, and the collaborative duo of Birch Cooper and Brenna Murphy called MSHR (biographies below). It was curated by Roddy Schrock, director of residencies and programs at Eyebeam, a leading art and technology center in Brooklyn, New York. Read more about the exhibition here.
This exhibition featured iconic abstract works from the College’s Collection, including works by David Smith, Helen Frankenthaler ‘49, Larry Poons, Hans Hofmann, and other influential figures. It included a sculpture by Sir Anthony Caro, on view for the first time ever, which was created using David Smith’s metal after his death.
The exhibition, organized in conjunction with the current modernist exhibition at The Clark Art Institute and the modernist gallery at the Bennington Museum, offered a new way of looking at the College — through its art and through its connection to the rich artistic legacy of the region.
The paintings were hung in an unprecedented format. Instead of viewing each piece singly, a salon style installation allowed the viewer to discover their own connections between works, and created an installation further emphasizing the architectural space and the classic New England landscapes, visible through the gallery’s large windows. The arrangement was chosen because at the Gallery and the College, the emphasis is on teaching and experimentation.
“The originality of the arrangement reflects the originality of the individual works themselves,” said faculty member Andrew Spence, who curated the show. “While the large scaled works look surprisingly small, and the smaller ones seem larger, the whole wall of artworks reads from left to right as a sentence. One of the first things I notice is how the gravity of downward drips in many of the painting contrasts with the paintings as entities that float one over another.”
The majority of the works in the exhibition were created by artists with direct ties to Bennington College: as students (Cora Cohen ‘64 and Helen Frankenthaler); faculty (Paul Feeley, Ralph Humphrey, Vincent Longo, Jules Olitski, Larry Poons, Sir Anthony Caro and Peter Stroud); or artists exhibiting at the College in the Deane Carriage Barn (Josef Albers, Adolph Gottlieb, Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell, David Smith, and Anne Truitt).
Describing this show, the artist wrote:“Here are photographs made without a camera, an approach that dates to the early 19th century when Fox-Talbot used the term photogenic drawing to describe his documents of objects from nature. Camera-less photography since Fox-Talbot has moved away from the document; this work, on the other hand, is documentary. Here are examples of personal collecting and examples of social collecting, with the two types being different experiences of the natural world. It is History that differentiates between the social and the personal. Working with museum collections demands attention to taxonomy – naming the world – which leads to considerations of symbolic representation. How does symbolic thinking affect the intention to create a document? Shadows are both the most perfect and the least perfect records. Vantage point as it influences representation is a concern in Art as well as in Physics. The 18th century term for scientific instruments was philosophical apparatus. The advantage of imposed limitations is that those limitations allow you to work.”