press release

‘Looking Back’ is the sixth installment of the White Columns Annual. The exhibition is now an annual fixture on White Columns’ calendar. Each year, an individual or a collaborative team (e.g. an artist, a curator, a writer, etc.) is invited to make an exhibition at White Columns based on their personal experience of looking at art in New York in the previous year. For the sixth ‘Annual’ exhibition, White Columns has invited the New York-based artists Ken Okiishi and Nick Mauss to make the selection.

In a very straightforward sense, the ‘Annual’ exhibition hopes to reveal something of the complexities involved in trying to negotiate - and engage with - New York’s constantly shifting cultural landscape. The format of the exhibition inevitably encourages highly subjective and deeply personal responses to the realities of viewing art in New York. The ‘Annual’ exhibition series hopes to illuminate aspects of the specific, yet highly idiosyncratic routes – geographical, intellectual, historical, social, etc. – that individuals follow in an increasingly expansive and fragmented cultural environment. Through the re-contextualization of artworks encountered in other circumstances and contexts, the exhibition hopes to establish – albeit temporarily – a new ‘narrative’, a conversation, of sorts, amongst artists and artworks, that seeks to illuminate and/or explore certain underlying tendencies, conditions, or connections that perhaps might otherwise have remained elusive or obscured. In re-thinking the (fairly) recent past the exhibition hopes to provoke something akin to a sense of deja-vu, establishing a scenario that is at once both reflective and forward thinking.

There are no restrictions as to what type of work can be included. ‘Looking Back’ seeks to eliminate any categorical or hierarchical distinctions we might place upon artworks (e.g. based upon the circumstances in which they were originally seen, or the seniority of an individual artist, etc.) These works might have been originally encountered in exhibitions at institutions, galleries, and not-for-profit spaces, or at performances, readings, during visits to artists’ studios, or online, etc.

Selected Press for previous installments of the ‘White Columns Annual’

Writing in The New York Times in 2006 about the inaugural installment of the ‘White Columns Annual’ critic Holland Cotter said:

“The White Columns Annual does … what the Whitney Biennial used to do: it reconsiders a slice of art’s immediate past. … The idea is welcome affording a chance to linger over art that was seen earlier only in rushed visits, missed entirely or enthusiastically remembered. Maybe “White Columns Annual Pick” will have comparable cachet [to the Whitney Biennial] not so long from now.”

Karen Rosenberg, writing in The New York Times, wrote: “The art world acquired a welcome new tradition when Matthew Higgs inaugurated the White Columns Annual.”

Reviewing curator Bob Nickas’ ‘Annual’ in 2010 Holland Cotter wrote: “One of the things that makes the White Columns annuals so valuable is that they often include artists … who are unlikely to find their way into mainstream institutions. A second, equally important function that “Looking Back” serves, or should serve, is to provide a view of contemporary art that is not entirely determined by art-industry consensus – meaning the market – but rather is seen through a single informed, idiosyncratic, even resistant sensibility.”

Previous Curators for the White Columns Annual

The inaugural ‘Annual’ exhibition in 2006 was selected by White Columns’ Director & Chief Curator Matthew Higgs; the second in 2007 was selected by curator Clarissa Dalrymple; the third in 2008 was selected by curator and writer Jay Sanders (who will co-curate the 2012 Whitney Biennial); the fourth in 2009 was selected by Miriam Katz and James Hoff of Primary Information; and the fifth in 2010 by curator and writer Bob Nickas.

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Looking Back / The 6th White Columns Annual
Selected by Ken Okiishi and Nick Mauss

Künstler: Miwako Arakawa, Fia Backström, Alvin Baltrop, Sid Branch, Mary Cassatt, Antoine Catala, Donna Collins, Josie Collins, Chloe Dzubilo, Thomas Eggerer, Michaela Eichwald, Loretta Fahrenholz, T De Long, Jean Genet, Grand Openings , Pierre Guyotat, Ewao Kagoshima, Alex Kwartler, Maria Lassnig, Louise Lawler, Margaret Lee / Michele Abeles / Alisa Baremboym / Antoine Catala / Gregory Edwards / Debo Eilers / Josh Kline / Andrei Koschmieder / Ajay Kurian / Amy Lien / Jared Madere / K. Mustermann / Anicka Yi, Fernand Léger, Sherrie Levine, Amy Lien, Siobhan Meow, Joan Mitchell, Adrian Piper, Carissa Rodriguez, Emily Sundblad, Nicola Tyson, Cosima von Bonin, Amy Yao / Michele Abeles / David Benjamin Sherry / Carissa Rodriguez / Lisa Jo, Anicka Yi