press release

Emissaries for Things Abandoned by Gods
21.09.2019 - 15.12.2019

Opening : September 21, 12–5pm, Free admission, no reservation needed

Curated by Elena Filipovic

Artist List
Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc, Danai Anesiadou, Lutz Bacher, Roberto Cuoghi, ektor garcia, Matthew Angelo Harrison, Heinz Peter Knes, Jutta Koether, Gabriel Kuri, Deana Lawson, Jill Mulleady, Seth Price, Pamela Rosenkranz, Michael E. Smith, Andra Ursuta, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

Rather than an exhibition in the classical sense, Emissaries for Things Abandoned by Gods could be considered, instead, an act of time travel, an experiment in substitution, a proposal for speculative interconnectivity. Inspired by the radical specificity of its site, it operates not only in relation to the Casa Luis Barragán, but also to the artworks and objects that have long resided in the architect’s home. The project is the result of a somewhat controversial proposal: imagine the house filled with contemporary proxies of the artworks and images that the architect had originally chosen for it. Imagine them attempting to act in a similar role, speaking not only to the house but also to, and about, our present. Furniture and items of decoration have been left intact, but all existing artworks in the Casa Luis Barragán (including paintings, photographs, images, reproductions of artworks, sculptures, and artifacts) have been temporarily replaced with what could be considered their contemporary equivalents, or “emissaries,” selected for their formal or conceptual correspondences with the originals.

To understand the gesture, one must begin with the story of the Casa Luis Barragán itself. Built in 1948 by famed Mexican architect Luis Barragán as his private residence and studio, and today considered a landmark of modern architecture, the Casa has remained as it was when its creator passed away in 1988. It is a place where monkish asceticism meets a dandy’s capriciousness and where strict Catholicism meets material-sensual abandon. And the particular mix of minimalism and decadence embodied in the cache of artworks and artifacts that the architect carefully curated into it plays no small role in that. Emissaries for Things Abandoned by Gods, then, responds to Barragán’s sense of the operational function of objects, and it attempts to explore what a new set of objects might do to our experience. It is premised on the question: What might the interior of Barragán’s home look like if he had lived on and entirely rehung it with the art of the present? Each of the over fifty newly commissioned and recent artworks of a group of sixteen artists from around the world acts as an emissary that, in its own way, honors the cryptic functioning of the architect’s eccentric home while evoking (and at times critically questioning) the devotional, material, sensual, and architectural concerns prevalent in Barragán’s original selection.

Dedicated to Lutz Bacher