TWO SOLO EXHIBITIONS
GREASE RUST SOOT SWEAT
March 11 - April 23
Grease Rust Soot Sweat
Smack Mellon is pleased to present Linda Herritt’s site-specific installation, Grease Rust Soot Sweat. Based on a portion of Buckminster Fuller’s list of impactful inventions, the large-scale, text-based piece exists as a three-dimensional diagram, undulating off Smack Mellon’s largest wall.
Herritt often uses lists—from an inventory of bands playing in Brooklyn to a compendium of traditional Chinese brushstrokes to a catalog of common pain medications promising relief—as a shorthand to talk about specific cultural phenomena. Found and created digital wireframe images form the underlying, warped architecture that supports the often site-specific text, working to confound a simple read.
In this monumental installation consisting of tape, yarn, fabric, plastic, paint, prints, foam rubber, chains, rope, drawing, painting, and cardboard, viewers will encounter a portion of Buckminster Fuller’s “Chronology of Scientific Discoveries and Artifacts.” The chronology, published in 1981, tracks technological innovations including the discovery of rhodium (1803), revolver pistols (1835), superphosphate fertilizers (1842), the law of mass action (1850), the first oil well (1859), asphalt paving (1860), the germ theory of disease (1861), the gas engine (1876), hydroelectric plants (1882), skyscrapers with steel frames (1884), the discovery of the electron (1897), and Aspirin (1889), among others. Herritt chooses the portion of his list beginning with the opening of the Manhattan Bridge in 1909 (the year before Smack Mellon’s building was constructed almost directly under the bridge) and the completion of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in 1964.
Herritt’s piece takes on an additional weight as a site-specific work set in the industrial interior of Smack Mellon, a now defunct coal-fired boiler house that once provided steam heat to DUMBO, Brooklyn. The piece is optimistic in its recognition of science as an agent of progress, while also acknowledging the potential for one technological solution to unleash another problem.
Linda Herritt’s installations and drawings have been exhibited in one and two person exhibitions at the Boiler, Brooklyn, NY; Valentine Gallery, Queens, NY; the Peter Fingesten Gallery, NYC; 1K Project Space, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Pierogi, Brooklyn, NY; the San Francisco Art Institute, CA; Florence Lynch Gallery, NYC; The Frist Center for the Arts, Nashville, TN; and Art&Idea, Mexico City, Mexico. She has exhibited in group shows at Storefront, Brooklyn, NY; the Drawing Center, NYC; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO; Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and Galería OMR, Mexico City, Mexico; among others. Fellowships include a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, a Rockefeller Foundation Grant, an NEA Sculpture Fellowship, and a 2014 Fellowship in Printmaking/Drawing/Book Arts from the NYFA. She participated in the International Artist in Residence Program in Vienna, with US residencies at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, Art/Omi, and the Marie Walsh Sharpe New York Studio Program. Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times and Art in America. Linda Herritt teaches art at Pace University in Manhattan, and lives and works in Brooklyn.
Smack Mellon is pleased to present Shanti Grumbine’s intricate cut-paper works, silkscreens, and sculptures. The chosen works coalesce around the theme of Zeroing, which refers to the recalibration of value as well as the action of aiming a gun at a target.
Grumbine began collecting the first and second pages of the New York Times several years ago when a struggle with neurological Lyme Disease left her unable to absorb the text. She responded to her condition by methodically redacting all the words on the pages—an action that conjured themes of censorship, marginalization, bias, and subjectivity. With the text gone, the ads placed carefully alongside the headlines loomed large. Their arrangement and images suggested an additional narrative surrounding the creation and maintenance of value. Many of the ads are for expensive accessories intended to be passed down from generation to generation, reinforcing the relationship between profit, media, and legacy.
All the works in Zeroing investigate the incredible power of combined image and language and their ability to establish value. In 1947, for example, copy editor Frances Gerety coined the phrase “a diamond is forever,” just as the diamond market was falling. With that one phrase, diamonds and engagement were united by way of an advertisement; a luxury item tethered to the quotidian institution of marriage. It’s this phenomenon— mythmaking as a unifying and mobilizing force—that creates something where there was nothing. Grumbine uses this as inspiration and presents us with a subtle call for reevaluation and renewal.
Ultimately, Grumbine is interested in transformation: transformation of materials, content, and context. “I believe in the alchemy of creating and encountering handmade objects, while also understanding that I am unconsciously attuned to a market-driven value system. By recreating black and white ads as inverted screen prints (ghosts), I am transmuting them. By making them three dimensional, I am claiming them.”
Shanti Grumbine is a Brooklyn-based visual artist. She has been an artist in residence at the Millay Colony, Ucross, Yaddo, Vermont Studio Center, Saltonstall Foundation, Wave Hill Winter Workspace Residency, Lower East Side Printshop Keyholder Residency, Artist in the Marketplace (AIM), Women’s Studio Workshop, and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art. Fellowships and grants include the Santo Foundation Individual Artist Grant, A.I.R Gallery Fellowship, and the LABA Fellowship at the 14th Street Y. Select exhibition venues include The Bronx Museum, CCA Sante Fe, Dorsky Gallery, Magnan-Metz Gallery, Planthouse Gallery, and IPCNY. For the year of 2017, she will be an artist in residence at the RAIR Fellowship Program in Roswell, New Mexico and a visiting artist at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM. Shanti received an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
These exhibitions are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, New York City Council Member Stephen Levin, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and with generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Gilbert Mackay Foundation, Iorio Charitable Foundation, Select Equity Group Foundation, many individuals and Smack Mellon’s Members. Smack Mellon’s programs are also made possible with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and with generous support from The New York Community Trust, Lambent Foundation, The Roy and Niuta Titus Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., The Robert Lehman Foundation, The Greenwich Collection Ltd, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation Inc., and Exploring The Arts.
Space for Smack Mellon’s programs is generously provided by the Walentas family and Two Trees Management.
Grease Rust Soot Sweat is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC).