Celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Center’s opening in May 2009, The Brant Foundation Art Study Center presents Oscar the Grouch, a solo exhibition by Urs Fischer. With two major installations dramatically altering the architecture of the Study Center’s galleries, Oscar the Grouch marks the first-ever solo exhibition in the Greenwich space in dramatic fashion. Presenting a range of works from never-before-seen commissioned and site-specific installations, to previously exhibited works shown in new context, this exceptional show exemplifies the range and diversity of the Swiss artist’s oeuvre, while remaining particular to the unique setting of The Brant Foundation Art Study Center. Like many artists in the Brant Collection, the work of Urs Fischer is collected in depth. The Brant Foundation Art Study Center is pleased to have had Urs Fischer actively involved in the organization and installation of his show. The exhibition will be on view by appointment through spring 2011.
Entering the exhibition through the upper level Study Center library, visitors are set to encounter a duet of mirrored boxes, each depicting various facets of everyday objects: a Diet Coke can and a halved onion. Featured along the library walls accompanying the boxes are newly unveiled paintings, each magnifying the material gravity of workshop hardware and marrying it to moody, mannered publicity stills from Hollywood’s golden age. In the passage between the library and second floor upper gallery a cast of the artist’s hand with a fresh egg dangling from the pointer finger is discreetly installed.
The upper gallery contains Untitled (Hole), a large aluminum cast of a makeshift grave that protrudes unseen into the gallery below. Untitled (Hole) is flanked by three large paintings that Fischer refers to as “Dust Paintings,” each a meticulous and magnified- scale homage to dust bunnies and other motile debris, circulating along the walls of every home and office.
From the vantage point of the upper gallery balcony, visitors can look below to the double-height gallery and see You, which has been created by digging down more than ten feet through the poured concrete floor and into the soil of this former farmland. This large-scale excavation draws connection to the gallery’s outdoor surroundings.
Upon transitioning downstairs through the lower gallery, visitors will experience several artworks simultaneously while surrounded by a new iteration of Abstract Slavery, a newly commissioned “wallpaper” work printed with a 2-D facsimile of the Brant residence’s library and “Art Deco Room,” both located just across North Street from the Foundation. Complete with intimate and detailed visuals of the Brant family’s works of art, art books, objects and, family photos in sterling frames, this distinct “wallpaper” work gives unique insight into the world of collector and Foundation founder Peter Brant. Within this stately facsimile of Brant’s residence are two new “candle” sculptures of Peter Brant himself cast in wax with wicks that when lit cause the portrait to melt and drip down itself and onto the floor below. At the rear of the lower gallery, visitors will pass through Urs Fischer’s 1:4 scale precise model of The Brant Foundation Art Study Center. This exact quarter-scale model features precise placement of the Study Center’s galleries, lighting system, and emergency exits, but no art.