Kirsten Hassenfeld, Dans la Lune
Jennie C. Jones, The Walkman Compositions
Exhibition dates: January 17 - February 22
Artists’ reception: Saturday, January 17, 5 - 8pm
Smack Mellon is pleased to present the first solo exhibitions for 2009.
The exhibitions feature the work of Kirsten Hassenfeld and Jennie C. Jones.
Dans La Lune
Since 1999, I have used paper to create ornate, obsessively detailed objects and environments that reference luxury goods, classical architecture, mineral formations and the decorative arts. In my works, eccentrically scaled and meticulously crafted elements combine to create a realm of decorative excess.
Dans La Lune was commissioned by Rice University Art Gallery in Houston, Texas and was exhibited in 2007. This installation takes my system of construction to an extreme: structures four to eight feet in diameter, resembling gigantic droplets or the onion domes of Russian architecture, are embellished with a profusion of swags, chains, honeycomb "beads," and gem–like crystals. The many fragile, detailed components of Dans La Lune will now hang in Smack Mellon’s dramatic, industrial gallery space.
The exhibition’s title comes from the French equivalent to the idiom “head in the clouds”, reflecting my interest in the nearly-universal human longing for a grander, more perfect existence, and the daydream as a reflexive coping strategy.
Kirsten Hassenfeld was born in Albany, New York. She received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1994 and an MFA from The University of Arizona, Tucson in 1998. In 2004, she had a solo exhibition, Objects of Virtue, at Bellwether Gallery, New York. Her work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions throughout New York, including Light x Eight: The Hanukkah Project (2006), The Jewish Museum; Greater New York (2005), P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, a MoMA affiliate, and Open House: Working in Brooklyn(2004), Brooklyn Museum. She has been an artist-in-residence in New York at Dieu Donné Papermill (2005), The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation (2004), and Smack Mellon Artist Studio Program (2003). In 2006, Hassenfeld was awarded a grant from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation. In 2007, she exhibited Dans La Lune at Rice University Art Gallery in Houston, Texas. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Jennie C. Jones
The Walkman Compositions
This series of collage and ink on paper deconstructs the first mass-produced personal stereo listening device, the Walkman, reducing its design to sparse formal elements. Focusing on WM designs manufactured between 1981-1986, the work hearkens back to the visual ideology of Bauhaus, a German school of design founded by Walter Gropius in 1919, that addressed fundamental questions of craftsmanship vs. mass production and the practical purpose of formal beauty in commonplace objects. Other innovations commonly associated with the Bauhaus include the use of radically simplified form and the idea that the machine is reconcilable with individual artistic spirit. But what of the narrowing space between design, desire, and consumption, not to mention the cultural weight associated with the musical content played on such a device or the ability to ‘curate’, particularly in the age of the iPod?
The title Walkman Composition functions as a double entendre. I will also present Suite for Cassette, Flute and Percussion which uses the “auto reverse” or direction button on a Walkman, to create an audio work that lavishes in the crude sound of transitions of sides A and B. The source for this piece is the 1969 Elvin Jones (no relation) LP “Poly-Currents” reissued on cassette tape in 1985, the same year as the WM-24, on which my sound piece was created. Presented on flat panel speakers, the sound piece inserts black modernist history into the aforementioned conversation, linking early avant-garde art aesthetics with those of ‘hard bop’ and the deconstructionist style of jazz drummer Elvin Jones. The installation also includes small objects. These works are a commemoration of the tangible aspects of how we listen to music, presenting cassette liner notes made from hand brushed aluminum as well as works made from empty cassette cases and titled after the recordings they once contained.
Jennie C. Jones, born in 1968 in Cincinnati Ohio, currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Jones attended Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts where she received her MFA in 1996. Prior to that she attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, receiving a BFA in 1991, with Fellowship. Over the past decade she has participated in numerous prestigious artists residency and fellowship programs, both nationally and international, including: Cité Internationale des Arts-Paris, France (2002-2003), The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Residency at the World Trade Center (1999) and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (1996). In 2008 she was a fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Study Center as well as a Visiting Artist at The American Academy in Rome, Italy. Her awards include a Creative Capital grant in 2008, The Rema Hort Mann Foundation Award, in 2006, and a Pollock-Krasner Grant in 2000. Her upcoming shows include the exhibition This-Has-Been, at On Stellar Rays Gallery, NY, NY (opening February 17), State of the Art: New York at Urbis in Manchester, UK. (April 09), as well as the exhibition With Gratitude: Contemporary Artists Address Influence at theMuseum of Contemporary Art in Madison, WI. (September 2009). She has works in the prestigious Deutsche Bank collection, Artists Pension Trust and in the collection of the law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges.