Maus Contemporary is excited to announce the inclusion of gallery artist Melissa Vandenberg in this year's curated section of the Volta NY 2017 Art Fair
YOUR BODY IS A BATTLEGROUND, curated by Wendy Vogel.
Drawing on fifteen years of innovation across a diverse range of media including sculpture, works on paper and performance, Vandenberg challenges viewers, ever so softly, to consider their personal constructions of self, identity, place and nation. As she states on her website, “identity is in the home we create, the goods we possess and in the land we live.”
Repetition is a motif central to Vandenberg’s production. Recalling Gilles Deleuze’s pronouncement that only that which is alike differs, and only differences are alike, Vandenberg inserts selected symbols, such as stars or stripes, and certain texts, such as the word EXIT, within many of her works. It is this type of subtle understandings of the ways in which an artist can move within and between media that makes Vandenberg’s long history as a practitioner evident. Rather than be trapped within the confines of a medium for fear of stepping outside it, she is as comfortable within one as she is within another. She also revisits methods, but reinterprets their meanings. Drawing on the matchstick drawing methods of her 1998 Untitled (Match Drawing Series) works, Vandenberg is now producing new pieces which scorch paper, but she has turned towards the figurative, using many of the same icons that appear in her collages and three-dimensional works.
more info on the curated section here: http://ny.voltashow.com/curator/
"This thematic exhibition brings together eight artists who foreground the precariousness of the body and identity in a time of political turmoil. The show’s title is inspired by Barbara Kruger’s photomontage Untitled (Your Body Is a Battleground), produced for the 1989 Women’s March on Washington. In that image, Kruger superimposed the words "Your body is a battleground" over a black-and-white image of a woman’s face, printed in both positive and negative exposures. Kruger’s work updated the 1970s feminist mantra, "the personal is the political", for the 1980s era of slick sloganeering and media appropriation. Considering the recent turnout for political demonstrations, Kruger’s work reads as a vital precedent for contemporary art that protests the erosion of civil rights.
Though the artists on view in YOUR BODY IS A BATTLEGROUND are a generation removed from Kruger, they continue her artistic legacy by deftly analyzing existing media representation. Their works critically address issues of gender, race, sexuality, colonialism and incarceration, positing the body as a site of political resistance. Across various media, the artists utilize strategies of collage, radical juxtaposition, text and performance to challenge oppressive narratives. For the artists assembled here, the body bears the weight of history and can become a catalyst for political change."
— Wendy Vogel, 2017
Wendy Vogel is a writer and curator based in Brooklyn, New York. She received her Master’s degree from Bard’s Center for Curatorial Studies. A former editor at Flash Art International, Modern Painters and Art in America, she has contributed to Artforum.com, art-agenda, Art Lies, Art Review, Brooklyn Rail, frieze, and The New York Times, among other publications. Wendy’s research interests include legacies of feminist and identity-based practice, as well as the performative and ethical questions around contemporary art production and criticism.
Wendy worked closely with Peter Halley, the former publisher of index magazine, to edit a history of the downtown alternative-arts publication. index A to Z: art, design, fashion, film and music in the indie era was published by Rizzoli in April 2014.
She has organized or co-organized curatorial projects at venues including the Hessel Museum at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; Künstlerhaus Schloss Balmoral, Bad Ems, Germany; The Kitchen, New York; and Abrons Arts Center, New York.