press release

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to announce a new installation by Serge Spitzer that will be on view in the Cornish Family Sculpture Garden from April 29 to July 13, 2008.

Spitzer’s project, Still Life, which involves tens of thousands of tennis balls, is not simply a composition of static objects as the exhibition title suggests. The installation will animate both space and meaning as circumstances cause the tennis balls to travel through the world. The work is a demonstration of an imperceptible, almost virus-like “reality model,” acting as a physical metaphor for the way art interacts with everyday life.

For this installation Spitzer has worked closely with a Chinese manufacturer to produce custom tennis balls, which are printed with a military-inspired, pixilated camouflage pattern that originated in a photo of the Museum’s lawn. Spitzer engaged in both the design and manufacturing process to ensure that each ball is unique: the printed pattern is not repeated on any of the balls. In April they will be hidden in plain sight in a perfect, repetitive grid, clearly occupying the land but leaving it hauntingly empty at the same time

As with many of Spitzer’s “viral sculpture” projects, the structure that the artist has set up will be transformed over time through uncontrolled and accidental forces: balls will be nudged out of place by visitors’ footsteps; children will be tempted to play or take an occasional one; the grass will grow, slowly obscuring the original precision and visibility. At the end of the project the balls will be collected and returned for recycling, not only reclaiming the rubber and felt used in their manufacture, but perhaps more importantly, returning and releasing the air sealed within.

Aldrich curator Richard Klein notes, “Although simple in plan and execution, Spitzer’s project has subtle social and political overtones. Inferences can be drawn about “taking over” a fraction of Connecticut’s genteel landscape with objects that imply both leisure, play, and military occupation, while the project’s material component has been manufactured overseas, adding to the United States’s huge trade imbalance. Playing off the grand tradition of engineered landscapes as vehicles for contemplation, Spitzer’s Still Life is literally a field for thinking.”

The Aldrich will host an Exhibition Reception on Sunday, June 22, 2008, from 3 to 5 pm to celebrate the exhibition. Aldrich exhibitions are made possible with the support of the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism and the National Endowment for the Arts. Serge Spitzer: Still Life has been generously underwritten by Mr. & Mrs. Peter Robbins and Mr. & Mrs. Jerome Stern.

Serge Spitzer is considered one of the pre-eminent artists of his generation. He was born in Bucharest, Romania, in 1951 and, since the early 1980s has lived and worked in New York. His work has been shown in many museums and art institutions, among them: Museum Folkwang, Essen; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Magasin, Grenoble; Kunsthalle and Kunstverein, Düsseldorf; Henry Moore Institute, Leeds; Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster; Kunsthalle, Bern; and Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main. He has participated in many international art exhibitions and biennials, such as: Documenta 8, Kassel; Istanbul Biennial; Biennale de Lyon; Kwangju Biennial; Venice Biennale; and has contributed works to many group and thematic exhibitions. His work is represented in many public and private collections, among them: Brooklyn Museum, New York; Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA; Museum Folkwang, Essen; Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague; Kunstmuseum, Bern; Institut Valencia d’Art Modern, Spain; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main; Musée d’Art Contemporain, Lyon; Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Neue Galerie, Staatliche Museen, Kassel; Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Menil Collection, Houston; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.

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Serge Spitzer: Still Life
Kurator: Richard Klein