“In Praise of Chance and Failure”

Family Business gallery 520 west 21st street, New York, NY 1011
opening reception 4th April, 6-9pm
Family Business is celebrating chance and failure as major forces in art making and art sharing. A project, which opens on Thursday April 4 (6-8pm) and runs until Saturday April 20, will ponder on them!

Participating artists : Lydia Andrioti, Nicole Cherubini, Christian Dietkus, Francesca DiMattio, Armen Enikolopov, Morten Løbner Espersen, Helen Henry, Estelle Levy, Gareth Mason, Pat McCarthy, Irini Miga, Leonid Lerman, Laura Linda Miller, Anna Natoli, Nori Pao, JJ Peet, Virginia Poundstone, Brie Ruais, Katy Schimert, Lauren Silva, Jonathan Stanish, Katy Tarlov, Lydia Venieri

Also: Kate Gilmore, Ronnie Bass, DAS

Organized by Nadia Argyropoulou and Eirini Miga

Ceramics serve as the vector of such concerns since it seems to be a medium, much affected by both forces, their sources, consequences and implications.

From Duchamp’s “canned chance” experiments and dedicated chess playing with naked beauties, to Beckett’s “Fail again, Fail better” dictum; from the Surrealists’ “objective chance” as the dominant art and life factor, to Facteur Cheval’s, “Ideal Palace” which, as he stated, was not much more than the encounter with a “bizarrely shaped stone”; From Mike Kelley’s sardonic “Educational Complex” to Robert Smithson’s brilliant political comment in “Partially Buried Woodshed”, we seem to be delving into a change in paradigm; one that never actually occurred, although politics, economy (think Keynesian animal spirits and European markets!), life in general face such potential every day.

In this out-of-sync kind of times, Family Business will make an effort towards a “change of paradigm” end. An end which like real failure, (according to Gertrude Stein), does not even need an excuse: Artists were invited to exhibit both flawed and perfect ceramic works, side by side, in a laboratorious (laboratory + glorious) type of environment / installation where the spirit of masters such as Peter Voulkos, Ira Triandafyllides, and others will be honored.

On two different dates (April 4 and 13), those same artists will offer some of their art for breaking. Those of you, kind enough to visit and share the proceedings, will do the honors. Music by DAS (Gandalf Gavan and Ronnie Bass) will be performed and a special saw will be involved (April 4).
Kate Gilmore and her performers will charm the chance-failure forces (April 13).
More will be announced so the Family Business blog should be carefully monitored!
The thrill of seeing 3 rare Mimbres bowls, (a kind loan from the George Terasaki collection), should not be missed !!
Often found in graves, covering the head of the deceased or stacked up beside the skeleton these strange ceramic works almost always have lines around the edges, and depict primarily insects, animals or humans. Scholars suggest that the lines at the edge represent the horizon (for people who lived in river valleys surrounded by mountains), and that the center of the concave bowl represents their world.
What is interesting, in this project’s context, is that many of the bowls have a so-called ‘kill hole’. Random in shape, punched at the bottom of each bowl the hole was supposed to be an outlet for the last breath – the spirit – to escape or a means that allows the pot to return to the earth as the body does. Other scholars suggest that the hole is simply part of a ritualized ceremony of grief. Fragments of other beautiful native american ceramics of year 1100 will be on view.

Within such and other rituals, works will disappear and new will appear during the project duration in Family Business, as artists will be leaving and others will be joining the FB investigations. Art will be missed by chance and visitors will fail to get the whole picture.

As Samuel Beckett better phrases this in Waiting for Godot:
“Estragon: We always find something, eh Didi, to give us the impression we exist?
Vladimir: Yes, yes, we’re magicians.”


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