The artists in "Empire State" are grounded in institutional critique and studies of media and economics; they embrace hybridization and cross-disciplinary techniques; and they engage technology and abstraction to propose new models of expression and interpretation. One example is Dan Graham's mirrored pavilions combine Minimalism and architecture to reflect and double the human form. With 'Antiquity, a New Group of works that will debut in the exhibition, Jeff Koons harnesses incredible technical tools to manifest his attraction to classicism and Greek and Roman mythology. MiChele Abeles's new photographic prints incorporate her installation views, as she constantly revises her autobiography according to her context.
In a bold new commission, Keith Edmier reimagines the soaring, sculpted Baroque baldachin at Saint Peter's Basilica according to the vernacular of the original Pennsylvania Station, a landmark of New York mythologizing: Designed by McKim, Mead & White and constructed in 1910 at the height of America's industrial revolution, Penn Station was a breathtaking masterpiece of Roman Neo-Classical architecture and a testament to New York's position as the de facto trade and culture capital of the New World. It was ignominiously demolished in 1963 at the height of New York's craze for all things Modern. Replaced by a sprawling, anonymous eyesore, the original 'Penn Station' today exists in popular imagination as lost evidence of a once and future empire.
Perhaps most importantly, "Empire State" emphasizes a genealogy of artists: Confronting an increasingly corporatized art world spreading globally like a new Byzantium, artists are activating ever-shifting networks of relationships, collaborations and exchanges across the boundaries of generation, gender, perspective and technique. R. H. Quaytman will present a new selection of her portraits of New York artists in a visual expression of the act of networking and the invisible tracery of power and exchange. The exhibition will include the very first international presentation of work by Tabor Robak, whose art primarily circulates on the Internet and enjoys a considerable online following, poses fundamental questions about how we define and privilege the art-world community. Artists in New York often manipulate their authorship through collectives, and a significant number of artists in "Empire State" have been involved in such groups. Among these are Orchard, Reena Spaulings, 47 Canal, and Art Club 2000.
"Empire State" will be accompanied by a catalogue featuring extended essays by the curators and by Tom McDonough, John Miller, and Eileen Myles; a visual essay by Matt Keegan; and original texts on each of the artists by leading critics and curators, including Vinzenz Brinkmann, Bonnie Clearwater, Kim Conaty, Bruce Hainley, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Tina Kukielski, and others.
Norman Rosenthal is a celebrated independent curator and critic based in London. He was Director of Exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Arts from 1977 through 2008. Rosenthal has organized dozens of critically acclaimed exhibitions, including such era-defining landmark surveys as "A New Spirit of Painting" (1981) and "Sensation" (1997). Based in New York City, independent curator Alex Gartenfeld is Senior Online Editor at Art in America and Interview magazines. He has co-founded two independent exhibition and project spaces in New York, and has organized exhibitions at the Zabludowicz Collection, Team Gallery and Harris Lieberman