Whitfield Lovell, ‘Exquisite Corpse 127’, ca. 2011, Mana Contemporary


More than 180 internationally recognized visual artists, architects, designers and photographers participated in the Armitage Gone! Dance Exquisite Corpse Project, beginning in 2011. The artists created one hundred and thirty nine artworks to benefit Armitage Gone! Dance, an internationally acclaimed contemporary dance company under the direction of renowned choreographer Karole Armitage. Using the 1920's surrealist parlor game "cadavre exquise," a drawing that combines words and/or images by multiple artists on one sheet of paper, the project celebrates the theme of chance encounters, surprise and radical juxtaposition. Each artist adds to the composition, in sequence, without seeing the contribution of the previous person. The chance juxtaposition of images and styles results in a work that is both unexpected and amusing. Each drawing is a combination of the work of three or four artists.

The Exquisite Corpse project is a way for a wide range of artists to express their support for Armitage’s work and also a way for her to acknowledge artists who have played such a large role in her career. The project also highlights the “performative” aspect of art-making by demonstrating that drawing, performance art, and dance all have in common spontaneity and an unpredictable nature. The evanescent quality of dance is mirrored in the surprising juxtapositions of the Exquisite Corpse.

Image rights: (Top-Bottom) Whitfield Lovell - Graphite; Jessica Stockholder - Watercolor, Crayon, Pen, Pencil; Mariko Mori - Mixed Media

About Whitfield Lovell

Whitfield Lovell is best known for his mixed-media installations featuring found objects and drawn portraits of anonymous African Americans. The human subjects of Lovell’s works are frequently sourced from found photographs, dated between the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil Rights movement, though Lovell has also been known to feature figures from family photographs as well. The found objects are usually quotidian yet historically symbolic, like playing cards, ropes, flags, and jewelry. These allegorically examine narratives and themes about family, identity, gender, love, loss, and the passage of time. His inspiration comes in part from songs, films, and poems, to which he alludes in the titles of the pieces. Lovell was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2007.

American, b. 1959, Bronx, New York, based in New York, New York

Fair History on Artsy

DC Moore Gallery at The Armory Show 2015
DC Moore Gallery at The Armory Show 2014

About Jessica Stockholder

Jessica Stockholder uses discount store-bought and mass-produced materials to build her monumental sculptures and installations, which the Wall Street Journal has called “Frankensteinian.” By constructing works that present carefully choreographed formal elements, Stockholder says that she aims to “present the material world in a way that is understandable.” Her works are rich with color, often coated in bright and plasticky paint, elaborating an influence of Robert Rauschenberg’s assemblage sculptures.

American, b. 1959, Seattle, Washington, based in Chicago, IL, USA

About Mariko Mori

Mariko Mori’s diverse work, which has included video and photography, works on paper, sound, sculpture, and large-scale installations, explores the intersection between art and science, antiquity and modernity, and East and West. In her early work Mori explored urban cyberculture and kitsch, and used herself as a model in quirky photographs of fantastical Manga-inspired environments. More recently she created WAVE UFO (2003), her acclaimed capsule-shaped structure resembling a spaceship that exhibited at the 2005 Venice Biennale; visitors can enter attached to electrodes that gather brainwave data and turn it into real-time visualizations viewable on screens within the space. Mori has also examined Jomon and Celtic traditions and belief systems, fusing ancient symbols and rituals with advanced digital technologies in works such as Transcircle 1.1 (2004), a version of Stonehenge composed of glowing lights. Juxtaposing divergent cultures and disciplines such as Buddhism and science, or traditional tea ceremonies and Manga, Mori creates an aesthetic vocabulary that points simultaneously forward and backward.

Japanese, b. 1967, Tokyo, Japan, based in New York, New York