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Chris Verene
The Self-Esteem Salon with Jessica Grable, The Self-Preservation Series

August 12-14, Socrates Sculpture Park, New York City
July 30-31, The Re-Institute, Millerton, New York

Curated by Cleopatra’s, Brooklyn

New York artist Chris Verene presents a new installation of his ongoing performance cycle, “The Self-Esteem Salon,” a three-day live action artwork entitled, The Self-Esteem Salon with Jessica Grable, The Self-Preservation Series.  Verene will team up with long time friend and performance artist and sculptor, Jessica Grable, to create the largest version of the performance ever staged for Socrates Sculpture Park.  The two are working together to build and grow an ensemble of plant life and costumes that emphasize the human need for self-preservation, including a custom topiary garden made from cultivated invasive plant species. A feature length documentary film is underway about the work.

The Self-Esteem Salon is a highly interactive performance artwork wherein Verene builds a temporary, yet lavish and beautiful, sanctuary to help strangers/participants make a sincere and lasting change in their lives. The project is something like a day spa, a short time spent in therapy that will have positive results on one's personal life. The artist and his staff of "Group Facilitators" welcome visitors, clients and audience members throughout the duration of the piece, offering a variety of public and private experiences including cognitive therapy, massage (touch and non-touch), costume construction, audio therapy, and other activities that the artist has found to raise clients’ self-esteem over the past thirteen years of practice.

Several of Verene's Self-Esteem staff members began working on this piece as teenagers, and have grown to adulthood while participating in the work. The experience must be seen to be believed. Some compare it to going to a church, others say it was like a family reunion, still others say it was like going to a very modest orgy. All descriptions are true, as the performers carefully structure the client's experience around what they believe he or she needs to have happen at that moment in the client's life.

The Self-Esteem Salon’s past celebrity attendees include: John Waters, Matthew Modine, Harmony Korine, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Baby Jane Holzer, and Amy Arbus (daughter of Diane Arbus), who have all have been involved in one or more performance cycles. The Whitney Museum of Art hosted the piece during its Biennial in 2000, as has Christie's Auction House, and New York’s notorious Chelsea Hotel in New York for a week in 2005.

Throughout the history of the project documentary photographs and video capture the ‘Model Search’ conducted in conjunction with the performance. Verene’s team of "Group Facilitators" consisting of young teenagers and adults respond to advertisements placed by models in search of work, and the images made with them are some of the projects most powerful. Also featured are collaborative works that Verene did with artist Christian Holstad.
 
Verene first gained significant recognition in 2000 for his participation in the Whitney Biennial and an extensive catalog published by Twin Palms Press. Verene’s work is in the collection of The Whitney Museum; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Jewish Museum; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Walker Art Center; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, among others. In 2001, Verene was the recipient of the first Pollock / Krasner award given for photography. Verene’s work has been featured in ARTFORUM, Art In America, ArtNews, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Vanity Fair, Parkett, Harper’s, Vogue, and The New Yorker. Verene earned his BFA from Emory University in Atlanta, and his MFA from Georgia State University in Atlanta. He lives and works in Brooklyn with his wife, Ani Cordero, who doubles as the director of the performance, and their son, Nico.
The Self-Esteem Salon is a registered ServiceMark, 2011.

SOCRATES SCULPTURE PARK
32-01 Vernon Boulevard at Broadway
Long Island City (Queens), NY 11106
Tel: 718-956-1819

 

The Re Institute is located  at 1395 Boston Corners Rd, Millerton NY 12546

5 miles north of the village of Millerton, on Route 63 (a.k.a. Boston Corners Road). Route 63 runs parallel to Highway 22. Number 1395 is 1/8 mile south of White House Crossing Road.

 

PAST EVENTS

OPENING RECEPTION WITH THE ARTIST:

SEPTEMBER 10, 2010

POSTMASTERS GALLERY, NEW YORK CITY

DOWNLOAD PRESS RELEASE HERE FOR DETAILS

 

 


"CHRIS VERENE: TOWN HALL MEETING" --Thursday, April 29th, 6:30pm-8:30pm
POSTMASTERS GALLERY, NEW YORK CITY

Postmasters Gallery premieres the new photography book by Chris Verene with a performative group discussion led by the artist.

CHRIS VERENE, New York-based artist, will host a group discussion and performance entitled, "CHRIS VERENE: TOWN HALL MEETING," expanding on his new documentary photography book from Twin Palms Publishers, "Family," which chronicles twenty-six years of his family and their struggling community of Galesburg, Illinois. Postmasters Gallery is the site for the premiere of Chris Verene's new artwork and new monograph, in conjunction with a group exhibition entitled, "Mirror, Mirror," running from April 2- May 8, 2010.

Adopting the popular political campaign method used by presidential candidates, Chris Verene will lead a "Town Hall" discussion about the troubles of America as seen through the ups and downs of Galesburg, Illinois, home to three generations of the artist's family and subject of Verene's two major monographs. Verene began this project at just fifteen years old in 1984.

The little-known town of Galesburg has twice been cited by President Obama as an example of the worst financially troubled areas in the United States, once in his in his career-launching speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and again in his recent State of the Union address. Verene's cousins are the some of the very people whom Obama specified in his speech: "...the workers I met in Galesburg, Illinois, who are losing their union jobs at the Maytag plant that's moving to Mexico, and now they're having to compete with their own children for jobs that pay 7 bucks an hour."

Verene's new book opens with his cousin Candi's divorce; both husband and wife were fired in the Maytag factory closing. Theirs is not the only marriage torn apart by the economic struggles of the whole nation. Verene's cousin Candi was made famous when her wedding picture appeared on the cover of Verene's first book ten years ago. Notably, a full-scale traveling museum exhibition of Verene’s work will begin in Fall 2010, just an hour from Galesburg in the Quad Cities at the Figge Museum of Art. A growing list of other museums and galleries showing Verene's work in 2010 includes the Tate Modern, London, and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

The Town Hall Meeting will be live-streamed to the Internet. Access to the live feed will be listed at www.chrisverene.com on April 29th, the day of the event.

"Family" will be available in stores in the United States in May 2010, from Twin Palms Publishers, Santa Fe, New Mexico. http://www.twinpalms.com/

Information: Postmasters Gallery: 459 West 19th Street New York, NY 10011
212-727-3323 www.postmastersart.com postmasters@thing.net

 

April 2 - May 8, 2010

Postmasters Gallery presents two exhibitions:

Gallery 1
Mirror, Mirror - a show of portraits
featuring ALEXA MEADE, CHRIS VERENE, JENNY MORGAN, JASON ROBERT BELL, KATE GILMORE, TAMAS BANOVICH, URSULA ENDLICHER, WILLIAM POWHIDA and YEVGENIY FIKS

Gallery2
Second Nature - a video by GUY BEN_NER

Opening reception for both shows: Friday, April 2, 6-8 pm

Mirror, Mirror

The portrait has been a staple of the art going back to the Egyptians and the sculptural bust of Nefertiti. Then 3300 or so years later came Andy and Alice and Chuck and Cindy and Annie. What's next? The mind wanders and wonders about something new and relevant to the present moment that the genre can deliver. "Mirror, Mirror" is a group exhibition of nine artists engaged with contemporary portraiture in all media. The works in the show present a variety of approaches from realistic, exquisitely rendered paintings of the artist’s friends (Jenny Morgan) and traditional portraits of the members of American Communist Party (Yevgeniy Fiks) to bitingly satirical drawings (William Powhida), unsettling video self portraits (Kate Gilmore), photographs of three generations of artist's family in rural midwest (Chris Verene), video reenactments of people on Facebook who share the same name (Ursula Endlicher), portraits painted directly on top of the people they represent and then photographed to look like a painting (Alexa Meade), and metaphysical psychedelic portraits of people’s souls (Jason Robert Bell). Tamas Banovich, will contribute a work involving Chatroulette.


The Library of Babel / In and Out of Place
25 February - 9 May 2010

176 Zabludowicz Collection are pleased to present an exhibition of works from the Zabludowicz Collection guest curated by Anna-Catharina Gebbers.

As part of 176 Zabludowicz Collection’s curatorial residency, Anna-Catharina Gebbers was given complete freedom to create an exhibition from the over 2,000 works in the Zabludowicz Collection. The result is a dramatic contrast to former presentations of works from the Collection.

With over 200 works exhibited, The Library of Babel / In and Out of Place will be the largest ever showcase of works from the Zabludowicz Collection. Anna-Catharina Gebbers invites us into a salon-style exhibition, a format which emphasises the deliberately overwhelming amount of contemporary works of art including painting, photography, sculpture and video.

Inspired by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges’ short story ‘The Library of Babel’ (1941) where inhabitants of an infinite library search for the absolute interpretation of the information around them, The Library of Babel / In and Out of Place encourages the visitor to embark on a similar quest for meaning.

While Anna-Catharina Gebbers generously empowers the visitors to draw their own conclusions from the Collection, seemingly incongruous works belie carefully disguised threads of meaning waiting to be uncovered and interpreted.

Anna-Catharina Gebbers on the exhibition:

’The Library of Babel / In and Out of Place questions my role as it places every visitor in the role of curator; the sheer number of works forces the visitor to chose which works will receive attention. I am interested in how these decisions are made.’

The exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive public programme where invited professionals and visitors alike are offered the chance to become Guides, conducing tours for the public. Discussing how and why our attention and perception is guided and exposing different ways of creating meaning within the exhibition

There will be an accompanying series of lectures and panel discussions with experts including scientists and theorists from backgrounds as wide-ranging as neurology, psychology, sociology, philosophy, linguistics and literature; plus an illustrated publication with specially commissioned texts designed by Joff + Ollie.

Anna-Catharina Gebbers is a curator and writer based in Berlin. Since 2004 she has curated some 50 exhibitions with over 300 artists. Gebbers also acts as editor for several cultural magazines and is the author of books about artists including Thomas Scheibitz, Paloma Varga Weisz and Thomas Schütte. Her non-profit project space ANNA-CATHARINA GEBBERS | BIBLIOTHEKSWOHNUNG in Berlin presents transdisciplinary collaborations with artists, curators, cultural activists and other institutions.


 

 

 

 

New Monograph by Chris Verene, "Family"
From Twin Palms Publishers

12 x 14 Inches
80 Four-color Plates
120 Pages
May 2010

“Verene walks right into the lives of his folks, showing you how they are, without any embarrassment on either side. Their togetherness is taken for granted so openly that the viewer feels at each moment like one of them, a member of the clan. Verene’s color [is] tender, warm and sensual, though stops well short of being glamorous . . . flooding them all with a strange, sweet romance. These pictures convey his bittersweet fondness for a smaller world in which he grew up but no longer shares, but which has lessons to teach him about the inroads of ageing, disability and other difficulties. People do what they can to help each other and themselves, all from ‘leaking boats.’ Meanwhile, the dark room and the night bring tidings of their isolation. Many viewers are familiar with visits back home in this mood, which Verene renders luminous and fatal.”
Max Kozloff, The Theater of the Face: Portrait Photography Since 1900

 

 

 

 

“Love, Love, Love”

Martos Gallery
540 W 29th Street

New York, NY 10001

Opens November 6, 2008

Group Show with: Nobuyoshi Araki, Donald Baechler, Larry Clark, Tracey Emin, Nan Goldin, Keith Haring,
Barbara Kruger, Robert Mapplethorpe, Chris Verene

 

Martos Gallery presents Love Love Love, a provocative group exhibition exploring the physical and emotional effects of love on a diverse group of artists and their practice. Are artists bound by the same taboos as everybody else? Is sexual artwork always personal? Is it obscene? Are artists more scopophilic than other people?
The work on display pushes past conventional notions of romance to focus on the transformative power of obsession and fantasy. Artists can, like anyone else, be held hostage by the fascinations of transgression, pornography and voyeurism and their role in sexual desire; but they are also aware, more than anyone else, of the power of imagery and how to harness it. Artists' willingness to subvert and collage everything from the portrait of a lover to an advertisement in a magazine demonstrates to what extent their experience of love and sex is mediated by imagery.


Some of the pieces in the exhibition display a playful, irreverent attitude towards body parts, confusing genitalia with identity in a kind of metonymic sleight of hand. Lee Lozano's portraits of penises seem awkward and puzzled; Keith Haring's painting about being sexually bound to another human being in the age of AIDS is both joyous and agonized.


By quoting and appropriating from pornography, the artists in this exhibition bring pictures meant for mass consumption into a realm between public and private, where the game of what is hidden and what is visible is shown once again to be an essential ingredient in both erotism and art. Our puritan society had relegated sexual imagery to the realm of the dirty or evil; but pornography only exists in societies that repress sexual expression. Sexual organs and acts have been celebrated and ritualized since the dawn of humanity, and the artists in this show prove they still know how to have a good time.

Artists on view include Andisheh Avini, Nobuyoshi Araki, Donald Baechler, Kevin Baker, Marina Berio, Jean-Christian Bourcart , Ellen Berkenblit, Larry Clark, Alberto Di Fabio, Tracey Emin, Nan Goldin, Leon Golub, Napoleon Habeica, Keith Haring, Eberhard Havekost, Barbara Kruger, David LaChapelle, Lee Lozano, Robert Mapplethorpe, Maripol, Servane Mary, Almagul Menlibayeva, Curtis Mitchell, Marco Rountree-Cruz, David Salle, Sam Samore, Kiki Seror, Lyle Starr, Danniel Swatosh, Susanne Thiemann, Chris Verene, Lawrence Weiner, T.J Wilcox, Pawel Wojtasik…

Martos Gallery would like to thank Fred Torres Collaborations for their support.

 

Chris Verene Exhibition
"Family: 1986-2008"

ADA GALLERY
Richmond, Virgina
Begins October 3rd, 2008
RECEPTION with live performance by CORDERO:
October 11, 2008 at 8:30pm

 

 

MARCIA WOOD GALLERY
ATLANTA, GEORGIA
OCTOBER 2007

 

DEITCH PROJECTS ART PARADE
NEW YORK, NY
SEPTEMBER 8, 2007


ALONG WEST BROADWAY, 4PM

Deitch Projects, Creative Time and Paper Magazine are pleased to announce the third annual Art Parade. The parade will take place on Saturday September 8, at 4PM. The route will begin on Houston and follow West Broadway, ending on Grand Street. Following the success of the past two Art Parades, artists, performers and designers are again being invited to create floats, placards, portable sculptures, kites, performances and street spectacles. Chris Verene and friends will be participating in the parade.

 

Group Show

June 2 - July 7, 2007
Chris Verene and Christian Holstad

Daniel Reich Gallery

537 A West 23rd St. New York, NY
Inquire to see more works at Daniel Reich Gallery

 

Please visit us at www.selfesteemsalon.com

 

June Bride
June 7, 2007–August 17, 2007

Yossi Milo Gallery

525 W. 25th St., New York, NY
Opening Reception
Thursday, June 7, 2007, 6:00–8:00 pm

Yossi Milo Gallery is pleased to announce June Bride, a summer group show on view from Thursday, June 7, through Friday, August 17, 2007, with an opening reception on Thursday, June 7, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

June Bride provides an uncommon look at a common practice: the marriage ceremony. In this assembly of unconventional wedding photographs, the idea of the bride varies as radically as do cultural differences, religious traditions, family dynamics, and modes of dress. Brides appear in various guises, from Diane Arbus’ bride shrinking from her groom’s overeager kiss to Nikki S. Lee’s impersonation of a Jewish bride, from a bride captured in mid-air, as in Rosemary Laing’s bulletproofglass series, to an earnest, middle-American bride in a family photo by Chris Verene.

The photographers of these varied works utilize and, at times, reformulate the image of the bride as a symbol of transition, ritual and traditional femininity. For example, in Arthur Tress’ Stephen Brecht, Bride and Groom, New York, 1970, the actor plays the role of both bride and groom in the artist’s exploration of gender and identity. In the photograph of his 1995 performance piece, To Marry a Mule, Chinese artist Wang Jin places a pink-painted and lavishly-adorned mule as a stand-in for his own “bride-to-be”. There are larger narratives and diverse intentions behind these photographs, providing a glimpse into the ritual of marriage and allowing us to reflect on how we have come to view, define and transform the wedding ceremony.

Artists featured in the exhibition include Diane Arbus, Tracey Baran, Valérie Belin, Lee Friedlander, Robert Gober, Nan Goldin, Wang Jin, Seydou Ke?ta, Rosemary Laing, Nikki S. Lee, Loretta Lux, Robert Mapplethorpe, Karl O. Orud, Bill Owens, August Sander, Lise Sarfati, Rudolf Schwarzkogler, Malick Sidibé, Alec Soth, Arthur Tress, Chris Verene and Akram Zaatari.

 

"GALESBURG"
CHRIS VERENE

gescheidle
118 North Peoria
Fourth Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60607
T: 312-226-3500

March 2-April 29, 2007

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED...
 LECTURE AND DISCUSSION WITH THE ARTIST
SATURDAY,  APRIL 14TH, 12-2PM

Gescheidle is pleased to announce a new exhibition of Chris Verene’s photography series, “GALESBURG”.  At age sixteen in 1986, the artist began an ongoing documentary of his family’s rural Illinois hometown, Galesburg.  This show coincides with several current museum survey exhibitions and catalogs which anthologize chapters of Verene’s twenty year project:  “Prairie Jews: The Jewish Identity Project,” at The Jewish Museum, “Shoot The Family,” curated by Ralph Rugoff, director of Hayward National Gallery of London, and forthcoming from Phaidon Press, "Theater of the Face," an anthology of documentary portraiture by curator Max Kozloff.

The show includes many works released as recently as the past six months reflecting the troubles Galesburg has been facing as economic hardship has gripped the community. Verene follows the lives of his family and friends as they face a depressed wartime America. Verene’s unstaged color documentary photography is largely appreciated for its honesty, intense color and composition. The artist is committed to sincerely recording the powerful hope and spirit in his family’s community.  Verene’s work has been praised for making the intimacy and humanity between the artist and his subjects function as the primary purpose of the work.

The project follows in the historical trail of such documentarians as Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin, and William Eggleston.  Verene’s works feature three generations of his family and the surrounding community, as seen in bright flash and sunlight in a variety of mundane and plainspoken interiors, trailer parks, and nursing homes.  The work goes beyond documentation, as Verene spends countless days and years in deep relationships that form the basis for the artwork. This personal touch is enhanced through handwritten captions in black oil paint, signifying important facts in the larger story.

Verene first gained significant recognition in 2000 appearing in The Whitney Biennial and through the publication of an extensive catalog by Twin Palms Press.  Chris Verene is simultaneously known as a musician and an artist, currently co-leading the Latin Rock group Cordero (Chicago's Bloodshot Records), founding member of The Rock*A*Teens (Merge Records), and founding member of the legendary D.Q.E., a Chicago/Atlanta music group first recorded by Chicago’s Steve Albini in 1990.

Verene’s work is in the collection of The Whitney Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Jewish Museum, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Walker Art Center, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, among others. In 2001, Chris Verene was the recipient of the first Pollock/Krasner award given for photography.  Verene’s work has been featured in ARTFORUM, Art In America, ArtNews, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Vanity Fair, Parkett, Harper’s, Vogue, and The New Yorker.

 

"Jewish Identity Project: New American Photography" Skirball Museum

2701 North Sepulveda Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA

March 24- July 2007

EXTENDED BY POPULAR DEMAND

 

Opening and Artist Panel Discussion: 6-8pm March 22, 2006

"An intense who-are-we exploration."—Grace Glueck, The New York Times

"A real eye-opener."—New York Daily News


This exhibition, organized by The Jewish Museum, presents ten commissioned photography, video, and multimedia projects by thirteen emerging and mid-career artists. Featured artists include Dawoud Bey, Nikki S. Lee, Shari Rothfarb Mekonen and Avishai Mekonen, Chris Verene, Yoshua Okon, Jaime Permuth, Tirtza Even and Brian Karl, Rainer Ganahl, Jessica Shokrian, and Andrea Robbins and Max Becher. Organized into three thematic sections—"Who is a Jew?," "What is Community?," "Where is Home?"—the exhibition reveals the complex and often surprising ways in which Americans of diverse heritages grapple with the ever-evolving nature of modern Jewish identity.

 

"Shoot the Family "

MassArt

Sandra and David Bakalar Gallery

Massachusetts College of Art, 621 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA

February 6, 2007- March 10, 2007

Reception: February 6, 5:00-7:00 p.m

.

Massachusetts College of Art presents Shoot the Family, an exhibition that explores the undercurrents of contemporary domestic life, focusing on artists' portrayals of members of their own families. The exhibition presents approximately 50 works made in the last fifteen years by sixteen artists active in North America, Europe, and Asia. These artists use their relatives and partners as subjects, revealing that family matters are never simply personal, but inevitably encompass broader historical, social, and economic considerations.

Shoot the Family is a traveling exhibition organized and circulated by Independent Curators International (iCI), New York and curated by Ralph Rugoff. The exhibition, tour and publication are made possible, in part, by a grant from The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, with additional support from the iCI Exhibition Partners and the iCI independents.

Gallery hours: Mon.-Fri., 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Sat., 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

 

617-879-7333, www.massart.edu, public transportation via T Green (E): Longwood
Handicapped Accessible. Free and open to the public.

 

"Self-Esteem"
Exhibition of New Works

Quality Pictures

916 NW Hoyt, Portland OR 97209

December 7, 2006- January 27, 2007

Self Esteem will feature photographs by Mr. Verene that examine the role of photographed image and its effect on an individual's self esteem. Works in this exhibit will be primarily drawn from Verene's "Self Esteem Salons" and from early work. Verene's "Salons" are a performance artwork wherein he builds a temporary sanctuary to be used in helping strangers and clients to make a sincere and lasting change in their lives. Many of these images have never been previously exhibited. Mr. Verene will be in attendance at the opening to sign copies of books and catalogs.

Mr. Verene has appeared in exhibitions world-wide including the 2000 Whitney Biennial. His work can currently be seen in two traveling museum exhibitions: "The Jewish Identity Project" which made its debut in 2005 at the Jewish Museum in New York City and is currently on view at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco and "Shoot the Family", which originated at the Cranbrook Museum in Michigan and is currently on view at the Western Gallery, Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA.

About Quality Pictures
Quality Pictures is a contemporary art gallery located at 916 NW Hoyt, Portland OR 97209. The gallery shows works in all media with an emphasis on contemporary photography. Our aim is to bring new artists and works to the Northwest while at the same time introducing the best the Northwest has to offer to a wider audience. We offer complete services to collectors and institutions to assist them in acquiring and maintaining art collections that are both personally enriching and will grow in value and importance over time.
Website: http://www.qpca.com

About Erik Schneider
An avid contemporary art collector and certified public accountant, Mr. Schneider became very involved in the visual arts scene first in Atlanta Georgia by providing business and tax advice to galleries and artists in the city. In 2003, Mr. Schneider formed Context Art Projects to expand his role in the Atlanta arts community. Context Art Projects curated shows and provided art consulting services to artists, galleries and arts organizations in Atlanta. In 2006, Mr. Schneider (along with his partner artist Bryan Schellinger) headed west to open Quality Pictures and now find themselves contented residents of Portland Oregon. An emerging expert in contemporary photography, Mr. Schneider also writes the blog "The View From the Edge of the Universe"

 

Frisbee 2006

Miami Beach, Florida
Marcia Wood Gallery Room 183
The Cavalier Hotel--The Flow Art Fair
1756 Collins Ave at 18th Street

December 6-10, 2006

 

"Jewish Identity Project: New American Photography"

The Contemporary Jewish Museum

121 Steuart Street (between Mission and Howard streets)
San Francisco, CA

October 22, 2006 - February 25, 2007

Members' Preview and Reception:
October 19, 2006 — 6:00-7:30 PM

Organized by The Jewish Museum, New York, this exhibition features thirteen emerging and mid-career artists who were commissioned by the Museum to create ten projects focusing on different Jewish communities in the United States. Through the works of these photographers, the exhibition addresses issues relevant to Jewish and non-Jewish audiences, as it looks at real and constructed boundaries between people. Using Jewish culture as a lens, The Jewish Identity Project examines the hybrid and complex racial, national and cultural identity of contemporary Americans.

 

“Galesburg” Alona Kagan Gallery
540 West 29th, New York, NY 10011 T: 212-560-0670

September 14- October 28, 2006

Reception for the artist September 14th, 6-8:30pm

Closing reception and artist talk: October 25th, 5-8:30pm

Alona Kagan Gallery is pleased to announce the highly anticipated continuation of Chris Verene’s photography series, “GALESBURG”. At age sixteen in 1986, the artist began an ongoing documentary of his family’s rural Illinois hometown, Galesburg. This show coincides with current museum survey exhibitions and catalogs which anthologize chapters of Verene’s twenty year project:, “Prairie Jews: The Jewish Identity Project,” at The Jewish Museum, and “Shoot The Family,” with Independent Curators International, currently at The Knoxville Museum of Art. Phiadon Press will publish work in a new History of Portraiture, and The LA Museum of Contemporary Art will publish an artist card.

The new work reflects the troubles Galesburg has been facing as economic hardship has gripped the community. Verene follows the lives of his family and friends as they face a depressed wartime America. Verene’s unstaged color documentary photography is largely appreciated for its honesty, intense color and composition. The artist is committed to sincerely recording the powerful hope and spirit in his family’s community. Verene shows us the simple, average human stories taking place in the declining American Midwest. Verene’s work has been praised for making the intimacy and humanity between the artist and his subjects function as the primary purpose of the work.

The project follows in the historical trail of such documentarians as Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin, and William Eggleston. Verene’s works feature three generations of his family and the surrounding community, as seen in bright flash and sunlight in a variety of mundane and plainspoken interiors, trailer parks, and nursing homes. The work goes beyond documentation, as Verene spends countless days and years in deep relationships that form the basis for the artwork. This personal touch is enhanced through handwritten captions in black oil paint, signifying important facts in the larger story.

Verene first gained significant recognition in 2000 appearing in The Whitney Biennial and through the publication of an extensive catalog by Twin Palms Press with concurrent exhibits at The Pat Hearn Gallery, Colin DeLand American Fine Arts Co., and The Paul Morris Gallery.
Verene’s work is in the collection of The Whitney Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Jewish Museum,, The Walker Art Center, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, among others. In 2001, Chris Verene was the recipient of the first Pollock/Krasner award given for photography. Verene’s work has been featured in ARTFORUM, Art In America, ArtNews, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Vanity Fair, Parkett, Harper’s, Vogue, and The New Yorker.

For images please contact: anacordero@chrisverene.com