The FLAG Art Foundation is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Josephine Meckseper, on view February 23-May 26, 2011, on the 9th floor. Meckseper employs window displays, vitrines, installations, photographs, films and magazines to draw a direct correlation to the way consumer culture defines subjectivity and sublimates the key instruments of individual political agency.
Meckseper presents new works focusing on retail environments and modernist concepts. Industrial reflective slatwalls, a staple of bargain store design, mirror the car dealerships of 11th Avenue. Chromed wheels, car headlights and logos flash across the videos, sculptures, and cellophane-wrapped paintings, like detritus after a crash. The traditional allure of the automobile is undercut with its demise, giving the entire exhibition a destabilizing undercurrent of fear. Meckseper utilizes the staples of American Gothic (fluorescents, broken mirrors, black birds) accompanied by the incessant booming of the acid-house soundtracks of her films to further the feeling of imminent danger that penetrates the space.
Strikingly, the work draws parallels with modernism. Meckseper invokes a number of the classic forms of color, line and shape of high modernism and abstraction. The strong rectilinear lines of the vitrines, all steel and glass, recall Mies Van Der Rohe. Like the auto industry, modernism too represented a twentieth-century idealism of essentialism and clarity in both art and life. In her invocation of its forms, Meckseper suggests that the hard-edged lines of essentialism in art are undergoing the same reconsideration as the American auto industry. The exhibition portrays a new reality where identity is no longer dialectic, and where past stalwarts of power and hegemony crumble and recombine in the fragmenting landscape of contemporary life.
Josephine Meckseper (b. 1964, Lilienthal, Germany) is an artist living and working in New York, NY. Meckseper received her MFA from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA, in 1992; prior to this she studied at the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin (1986-90). Her work has been included in two Whitney Biennials (2006 and 2010); the Sharjah Biennial (2011); the Taipei Biennial (2014); and the National Gallery of Victoria Triennial (2017–18). In 2007 a major retrospective on her work was organized by the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Germany. Meckseper’s large-scale public project, Manhattan Oil Project, was commissioned by the Art Production Fund and installed in a lot adjacent to Times Square in New York, in 2012. In 2015 her works were featured in Storylines, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and America Is Hard to See, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Meckseper’s works are in the permanent collections of numerous institutions, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Migros Museum, Zurich.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with contributions by John Cassidy, James Frey, and Stephen Roach, and also features an interview with Meckseper and curator and writer Francesco Bonami.