Lever House is kicking-off the new year with Adam McEwen: 10, Feels like 2, an installation that will transform the large open space into a glass ice box!
The entire space is an installation, as you enter onto a floor covered in a translucent white polyethylene surface, creating the appearance of an ice rink, with McEwen’s signature graphite sculptures and paintings, suggesting that the viewer is in an icebox ~ and using cold temperature as a tool to freeze the viewer and space in a moment in time.
The sponge paintings (above and below) depict an embroidered patch of a hand in a V sign, counterculture peace symbol from the 1970s and previously a V for Victory sign from World War II. In this frozen tundra, the peace sign sits in uncertain territory, and in an unclear relationship it its own declaration.
The minimalist installation, which includes paintings and sculptures, explores ideas of memory and the uncanny within the context of modernist architecture.
Assorted graphite sculptures sit on stands, a payphone on the wall and a large, empty safe on the floor ~ described by McEwen as “three-dimensional drawings of the idea of a thing.”
The ‘things’ so familiar to viewers, but yet have no relationship to each other ~ a payphone surely a blast from time past, as a remnant found on street corners, restaurants, bars and deli’s all across the city; a clock seen differently through the lens of each viewer, as are the birth control pills.
“I wanted to leave the space open as much as possible, so that you can see the architecture and so that it’s the architecture that determines what happens. It seemed like using the floor was the simplest way of separating the space from the rest of the world around it,” explains McEwen.
The lobby, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows on three sides, does give the sense of a glass-like refrigerator, suspending past and present, luring viewers to explore this series of objects that are so detached from “their former functional purpose” and each other.
10, Feels Like 2 explores the passage of time by dissecting McEwen’s fascination with form, both in objects and architecture. Introspection sits at the heart of McEwen’s work. The installation explores the way that an artist searches for content, without neglecting the failures of that search. The installation, located within a physical manifestation of American optimism, a pinnacle of modernist architecture, asks the same questions of itself, and of the flash-frozen optimism of a window on Park Avenue.
Concurrently, the artist will be exhibiting at Petzel Gallery, expanding on this new series on view at Lever House. The series represents an evolution for McEwen, propelling his practice into more prosaic, but also more challenging, territory.
Adam McEwen at Petzel Gallery marks the artist’s first exhibition at the gallery, and coincides with the installation at Lever House. Born in London, England (1965), Adam McEwen lives and works in New York.
Adam McEwen will be on view at Petzel Gallery through February 16, 2019. Petzel Gallery is located at 35 East 67th Street, NYC.
Adam McEwen: 10, Feels like 2 curated by Roya Sachs, is on view at Lever House located at 390 Park Avenue at 54th Street, NYC through May, 2019.