BULLDOZE/CEMENT at SPRING/BREAK Art Show 2016
featuring new work by Sonya Blesofsky and Susan Hamburger
Curated by Jennifer McCoy and Jennifer Dalton
Jennifer McCoy and Jennifer Dalton (Co-Directors of Auxiliary Projects) present BULLDOZE/CEMENT, a two-person collaborative exhibition featuring brand new works by Sonya Blesofksy and Susan Hamburger.
The new sculptures and installations of Sonya Blesofsky and Susan Hamburger focus on the physical and political history of Moynihan Station, the site of SPRING/BREAK, and Pennsylvania Station across the street. Using decorative elements strategically to further their conceptual arguments, both artists imply that much of our apparently-solid surroundings are provisional placeholders, exposing the fragility of the whole political municipal enterprise.
Sonya Blesofsky’s ephemeral architectural sculptures reimagine Moynihan Station, its surroundings and the historical buildings it displaced through building-shaped scaffoldings assembled of spindly, fragile materials such as paper, cast Hydrocal, and scavenged architectural mouldings. Her jerry-rigged armatures are highlighted rather than hidden. Blesofsky connects the history of Moynihan Station (first built as the General Post Office Building in 1912, then renamed the James A. Farley Post Office in 1982), and the neighboring Penn Station to the changing nature of the city today. Her sculptures are an aesthetic profit/loss statement for the urban dweller: what have we gained and lost through the constant negotiations of this particular site?
Susan Hamburger’s interest in the history of Pennsylvania Station led her to the personalities, deals and machinations shaping its evolution. Her work often features portraits of leaders surrounded by decorative embellishments meant to place them within the context of their historical effects on the world. For BULLDOZE/CEMENT Hamburger has created three larger-than-life-size standing portraits of Alexander Cassatt, James McCrea and Samuel Rea, three presidents of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company during the period 1899-1925. Rendered from hat to shoes, they stand imposingly in faux niches above the room, surveying their surroundings. In addition, Hamburger has re-imagined as paintings the stone female figures representing Day and Night that once adorned the building and were found discarded in a New Jersey landfill.
With the Moynihan Station site acting as both foreground and background, these site specific works challenge us to respond creatively to history as the city transforms this building once again.