Kayne Griffin Corcoran is pleased to present Accidental Menagerie, an exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist Max Hooper Schneider. Installed in the south gallery, Schneider will present new large-scale sculptural projects.
Initially studying landscape architecture, Schneider’s artistic practice is derivative of his interest in biological constructs. His works combine a multiplicity of objects, forms, and sources, often marked by a non-hierarchical treatment of materials. Drawing from pre-Enlightenment philosophy, each object is treated as having agency and life unto itself even if inanimate or inorganic. Through this approach to material, Schneider seeks to shift the viewer from their assumed position of centrality and superiority as knower and actor into a more investigative and experiential role. Following on from recent works that have explored living systems and specimen production, Accidental Menagerie extends Schneider’s questions of anthropomorphism in an expansion of site and scale.
In addressing systems of both taxonomy and display, Accidental Menagerie becomes a set of conditions rather than a discrete ‘plot’. Made up of over 25 specimen trays and created through a horizontal process of arrangement, the components of this work are hung vertically to create a visually permeable ‘wall’. Composed of many counter-taxonomic parts, these trays include rogue specimens, ornate detritus, and fragments from lived experiences such as a well worn band t-shirt or the contents of an anonymous junk drawer. Schneider combines objects of a distinctly temporal element, whether a product dated by design, a skeleton etched with decay, or the hands of a stopped clock. In this way Schneider combines not only innumerable disparate elements with fluctuating agency, but also folds in the flexible nature of time within these contained spaces.
In the next room, Blackwater Jacuzzi functions as an aquatic extension of this project. Using a Jacuzzi as a container, a freshwater ecosystem remains almost opaque to the viewer within blackened water. This work further frustrates the viewer’s all-knowing eye in a more direct sense while presenting a living system within what might otherwise be understood as a highly artificial environment made singularly for human use. Schneider has often adopted appliances designed for consumer ease, taking items like washing machines, treadmills, popcorn makers, and dishwashers and frustrating these systems through a process of slippery hybridization. In these works Schneider envelops multiple times and spaces, offering an escape from empirical modes of knowing the world ‘out there’.
Max Hooper Schneider was born 1982 in Los Angeles, where he continues to live and work. He studied landscape architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design with additional degrees in urban design and biology. Schneider participated in the 2014 and 2012 editions of the Mongolia Land Art Biennial and has exhibited at Vavassori, Milan; Jenny’s, Los Angeles; with a forthcoming exhibition at High Art, Paris.