The Eighth Floor, Please

Living in the vertical landscape that is New York City, riding in elevators is a familiar, even mundane activity. Ascending and descending, we arrive to our apartments, offices, the library, and even grocery stores. Still, after a quick trip to the eighth floor of a nondescript, corporate office space, it is a rare and even surprising treat to encounter the engaging and eclectic art exhibition, Between History and the Body, now on view in the aptly named gallery The 8th Floor.

Though unknown to many of the passersby along 17th Street, The 8th Floor celebrates its fifth anniversary this year, having been founded in 2010 by the collector/philanthropist couple Shelley and Donald Rubin. Previously, contemporary Cuban art dominated The 8th Floor’s exhibition schedule, reflecting one aspect of the Rubins’ collecting interests.[1] However earlier this year the gallery broadened its geographical focus, ambitiously revising its mission, “to explore the potential of art as an instrument for social change in the 21st century.”[2]

Ana Mendieta (b. 1948, Havana – d. 1985, New York). Untitled (Glass on Body Imprints), 1972‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Suite of six estate color photographs 16 x 20 inches each Edition 7 of 10 Courtesy of the Estate of Ana Mendieta and Galerie Lelong
Ana Mendieta (b. 1948, Havana – d. 1985, New York). Untitled (Glass on Body Imprints), 1972‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬
Suite of six estate color photographs
16 x 20 inches each
Edition 7 of 10
Courtesy of the Estate of Ana Mendieta and Galerie Lelong

Such lofty goals are reflected in the current show Between History and the Body. Curated by Sara Reisman, artistic director of The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation and the former director of New York City’s Percent for Art Program, the exhibition positions itself as, “a discursive territory in which ideas surrounding the construction of identity converge.”[3] Although the works on view are perhaps less praxis-oriented than is suggested by either this claim or the gallery’s mission, the show nonetheless raises and contests historical and societal paradigms regarding race, culture, gender, and sexual orientation. Focusing on representations of the body as a site of identity, an agent of protest, and a symbol of projected myths, Between History and the Body features an intriguing range of photographs, drawings, collages, sculptures, and videos by a diverse group of twelve artists, many of whom work locally in New York.

Continue reading “The Eighth Floor, Please”

Mark Your Calendars! Upcoming Events at the IFA

January 29 – March 14, 2015
New York University Curatorial Collaboration (IFA-Steinhardt)
Absence / Presence, curated by Anna Blum, Riad Kherdeen, Eloise Maxwell, Tola Porter, and Patryk Tomaszewski, on view January 29 – February 14, The Commons & Rosenberg Gallery
Days with Frog and Toad, curated by Katherine J. Wright, on view February 18 – 21, 80WSE Gallery
still, curated by Ksenia M. Soboleva, on view February 18 – 21, 80WSE Gallery
Hi, Boys!, curated by Halston Bruce, on view February 25 – 28, 80WSE Gallery
Unwanted Sexual Conduct Shouldn’t Be Part of Anyone’s Commute, curated by Ashley McNelis, on view March 4 – 7, 80WSE Gallery
I Would’ve Ripped It Out and Kept It Forever, curated by J. English Cook, on view March 11 – 14, 80WSE Gallery

Thursday, February 5, 2015, 5:00PM at the Steinhardt Barney Building (34 Stuyvesant Street)
Keeping it Real: A Panel Discussion for Absence/Presence, part of the NYU Curatorial Collaboration. The NYUCC will host a conversation about the thematic genesis for the exhibition. A core sampling of the artists and curators will participate, moderated by Ian Cooper, Faculty. A reception will follow celebrating the release of the publications for both Absence/Presence as well as the forthcoming Senior Honors Studio exhibitions at 80WSE.

Monday, February 9, 2015, 6:00 PM
Judith Praska Distinguished Visiting Professor in Conservation and Technical Studies Lecture
Salvador Muñoz Viñas, Professor and Head of Paper Conservation, Universitat Politècnica de València
Pride and Prejudice and Patina

Tuesday, February 10, 2015, 6:00 PM
The Daniel H. Silberberg Lectures
James ElkinsE.C. Chadbourne Professor of Art History, Theory, and Criticism, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
The End of the Theory of the Gaze

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 – Thursday, February 12, 2015
CAA 2015: Field/Work: Object and Site: 
The Art of Archaeology; an Art Historical Perspective
A panel discussion in conjunction with the CAA annual meeting.
These events takes place at the IFA Lecture hall.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015, 6:30 PM
Colloquium on Art in Spain and Latin America
Denise Birkhofer, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College
The Body and the Void in the Art of Mira Schendel and Eva Hesse

Tuesday, February 24, 2015, 6:30 PM
Artists at the Institute
Sharon Hayes 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 6:30 PM
Artists at the Institute
Tehching Hsieh

Thursday, March 5, 2015, 6:00 PM
Colloquium on Art in Spain and Latin America
Rachel Weiss, Professor of Arts Administration and Policy, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Uses and Re-Uses of the Radical Pasts

Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 6:00 PM
Latin American Forum
A Round Table on Curating Modern and Contemporary Arts of the Americas
Speakers: Richard Aste, Curator of European Art, Brooklyn Museum; Gabriela Rangel, Director of Visual Arts, The Americas Society; Pablo León de la Barra, UBS MAP Curator of Latin American Art, Guggenheim Museum; Iria Candela, Estrellita Brodsky Curator of Modern Latin American Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Please check back for RSVP information.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015, 6:00 PM
The Daniel H. Silberberg Lectures
Carol Armstrong, Professor, History of Art, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Yale University
Lecture Title Forthcoming

Thursday, April 16, 2015, 6:00 PM
Latin American Forum
Artist Liliana Porter in Conversation with Edward J. Sullivan

Friday, April 17, 2015, 2:00 – 5:30 PM
(at the IFA)
Saturday, April 18th (at The Frick Collection)
IFA-Frick Symposium

Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 6:00 PM
The Daniel H. Silberberg Lectures
Barry Bergdoll, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University
Exhibiting Failure(s): Architecture’s paradoxical life on display at MoMA since 1932

Tuesday, May 5, 2015, 6:00 PM
Latin American Forum
Digital Torres-García 
A special panel discussion on the Uruguayan modernist artist, Joaquín Torres-García, moderated by Edward J. SullivanHelen Gould Sheppard Professor in the History of Art, Institute of Fine Arts and College of Arts and Sciences, NYU
Speakers: Luis Pérez-OramasEstrellita Brodsky Curator of Latin American Art for the Department of Drawings and Prints, Museum of Modern Art; Mari Carmen RamírezWortham Curator of Latin American ArtDirector, International Center for the Arts of the Americas, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Cecilia de Torres, Scholar and head of the catalogue raisonné project on artist; Susanna Temkin, IFA Ph.D. Candidate and Research and Archive Specialist, Cecilia de Torres, Ltd.         

Finding Balance at Paris Photo 2014

This past weekend, photography fans and connoisseurs descended upon the Grand Palais for the 18th annual Paris Photo Fair. Held November 13-16, 2014, it boasted 143 galleries and twenty-six art booksellers representing thirty-five countries. Grandiose and historically rich, the venue provided ideal conditions for viewing photographs: the sprawling dome of the Grand Palais offered abundant natural light, while the tightly-packed booths were simple, cut-to-the-chase affairs, with off-white walls.

The upper level of the Grand Palais functioned as a non-commercial gallery space for recent acquisitions from the Museum of Modern Art as well as for the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts’ collection of early Indian and South Asian photography. Smaller wings displayed works sponsored by Giorgio Armani, JP Morgan Chase, and BMW. These spaces, located at the top of a grand staircase and away from the bustling ground floor, subtly linked the works on sale at Paris Photo with private, museum-quality collections, and underscored the potential for these photographs to act as investment pieces.

The beating heart of the fair was a social space at the base of the grand staircase, which was continually abuzz with visitors flipping through art tomes and awaiting artists’ signatures. Ample opportunity to encounter the artists themselves contributed to the sense that Paris Photo not only stimulates monetary transactions, but also the transaction of knowledge between enthusiasts and a shared passion for the medium.

Continue reading “Finding Balance at Paris Photo 2014”

Mark your calendars! Fall 2014 at the IFA

Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 6:30 PM
Artists at the Institute
Charles Simonds
Open to the public. More info and RSVP here.
(Don’t miss Simonds on Bomb!)

Monday, October 27, 2014, 6:30 PM
Artists at the Institute
Simon Fujiwara
Open to the public. More info and RSVP here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 6:00 PM
Latin American Forum featuring The Great Hall Exhibitions Artist Marta Chilindrón
A Conversation with Marta Chilindrón and Edward J. Sullivan
Open to the public. Please check back for RSVP details.

Thursday, November 20, 2014, 5:30 PM
Director’s Extracurricular
Conversation with Sheena Wagstaff, Chairman of the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Event details to follow, here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014, 6:00 PM
The Daniel H. Silberberg Lectures
Photorealism: A History of Surfaces
Joshua Shannon, Associate Professor, Contemporary Art History and Theory, University of ​Maryland
Open to the public. RSVP here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 6:00 PM
Latin American Forum
Conceptualism in Latin America: A Conversation with Luis Camnitzer, Alexander Alberro, and Robert Slifkin
Luis Camnitzer, Artist
Alexander Alberro, Virginia Bloedel Wright Associate Professor of Art History, Barnard College
Robert Slifkin, Assistant Professor of Fine Arts, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU
Moderated by Edward J. Sullivan, Helen Gould Sheppard Professor in the History of Art, Institute of Fine Arts and College of Arts and Sciences, NYU
Please check back for RSVP information.

We have Instagram!


The IFA gets Instagram! As part of the IFA’s contemporary art blog, formerly the Contemporary Art Consortium, we are posting your contemporary art-related pics with the handle “ifastagram” — check it out!

Though ifacontemporary’s re-launch date is September 15, we’re accepting your Instagrams now — and anytime during the semester! Think a trip to Dia Beacon, art seen on your summer travels, a thought-provoking gallery visit, or even a Stieglitzian cloudscape — and include a one-sentence caption that ties it back to the blog, art history, or the IFA. (This account is meant to act as a counterpart to the blog, so posts should retain an appropriateness in line with the scholarly-yet-friendly atmosphere of our site.)

We are posting almost daily, so check back to see when yours is up!

Elizabeth Buhe and Caroline Barnett, editors


Gary Tinterow on Picasso

Saturday, March 5, 11:00 am
The Park Avenue Armory

After the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum has the most extensive collection of original works by Picasso in the country. Mr. Tinterow, curator of the recent Picasso exhibition at the Metropolitan, will explain how the Museum came to acquire such rich holdings.

Click here for more information and to RSVP.