Grease Rust Soot Sweat
Smack Mellon is pleased to present Linda Herritt’s site-specific installation, Grease Rust Soot Sweat. Based on a portion of Buckminster Fuller’s list of impactful inventions, the large-scale, text-based piece exists as a three-dimensional diagram, undulating off Smack Mellon’s largest wall.
Herritt often uses lists—from an inventory of bands playing in Brooklyn to a compendium of traditional Chinese brushstrokes to a catalog of common pain medications promising relief—as a shorthand to talk about specific cultural phenomena. Found and created digital wireframe images form the underlying, warped architecture that supports the often site-specific text, working to confound a simple read.
In this monumental installation consisting of tape, yarn, fabric, plastic, paint, prints, foam rubber, chains, rope, drawing, painting, and cardboard, viewers will encounter a portion of Buckminster Fuller’s “Chronology of Scientific Discoveries and Artifacts.” The chronology, published in 1981, tracks technological innovations including the discovery of rhodium (1803), revolver pistols (1835), superphosphate fertilizers (1842), the law of mass action (1850), the first oil well (1859), asphalt paving (1860), the germ theory of disease (1861), the gas engine (1876), hydroelectric plants (1882), skyscrapers with steel frames (1884), the discovery of the electron (1897), and Aspirin (1889), among others. Herritt chooses the portion of his list beginning with the opening of the Manhattan Bridge in 1909 (the year before Smack Mellon’s building was constructed almost directly under the bridge) and the completion of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in 1964.
Herritt’s piece takes on an additional weight as a site-specific work set in the industrial interior of Smack Mellon, a now defunct coal-fired boiler house that once provided steam heat to DUMBO, Brooklyn. The piece is optimistic in its recognition of science as an agent of progress, while also acknowledging the potential for one technological solution to unleash another problem.
Linda Herritt’s installations and drawings have been exhibited in one and two person exhibitions at the Boiler, Brooklyn, NY; Valentine Gallery, Queens, NY; the Peter Fingesten Gallery, NYC; 1K Project Space, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Pierogi, Brooklyn, NY; the San Francisco Art Institute, CA; Florence Lynch Gallery, NYC; The Frist Center for the Arts, Nashville, TN; and Art&Idea, Mexico City, Mexico. She has exhibited in group shows at Storefront, Brooklyn, NY; the Drawing Center, NYC; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO; Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and Galería OMR, Mexico City, Mexico; among others. Fellowships include a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, a Rockefeller Foundation Grant, an NEA Sculpture Fellowship, and a 2014 Fellowship in Printmaking/Drawing/Book Arts from the NYFA. She participated in the International Artist in Residence Program in Vienna, with US residencies at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, Art/Omi, and the Marie Walsh Sharpe New York Studio Program. Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times and Art in America. Linda Herritt teaches art at Pace University in Manhattan, and lives and works in Brooklyn.