‘Growing Sideways: Performing Childhood’ on View at Wallach Art Gallery




Tala Madani, Situation Room, 2020. (featured in Growing Sideways) Oil on linen,. 16 × 23 in. (40.6 x 58.4 cm). Image Credit: @ Tala Madani.Courtesy 303 Gallery, New York. Photo: Elon Schoenholz

Growing Sideways: Performing Childhood explores how artists have turned to and repurposed aspects of childhood to counter inherited belief systems, identities, and cultural memories in the public sphere.

From the exhibition Sin Autorización: Contemporary Cuban Art
On view October 21, 2022 – January 15, 2023 at Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University. Photo: Daniel Lopez. Image courtesy Wallach Art Gallery.

Vulnerable and dependent, children invoke connection, empathy, and compassion–they also stumble, baffle, and charm. As unruly and lively figures, children can frustrate order. Many of the exhibiting artists access this vital and mischievous force to raise crucial questions about the social values inculcated through the accessories of childhood such as dolls, fables, and lullabies. Others turn to the child to generate novel understandings of the self and to prompt questions about what is perceived, even at a young age.

Sable Elyse Smith, Coloring Book 66, 2020. Screen printing ink and oil stick on paper; 60 x 50 in. (152.4 x 127 cm). Courtesy Marieluise Hessel Collection, Hessel Museum of Art, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.

Through scale-shifting installations, intermedia performances, and collaborative photographic works, Growing Sideways invites audiences to encounter and feel how artists playfully yet critically defamiliarize disciplinary material, from the inversion of a hand game posed by Lorna Simpson to the invention of a novel superhero captured by Aura Rosenberg, from the installation of miniature toy appliances by Ghislaine Leung to the soaring kites of Joan Jonas. Growing Sideways showcases artists who, through and with the child, unsettle convention and present alternate modes of connection and growth.

Ericka Beckmman, still from We Imitate; We Break Up, 1978. Super-8, color with sound; 23 min. Courtesy the artist.

Participating artists:

Yvonne Andersen
Ericka Beckman
Ian Cheng
Beatriz González
Joan Jonas
Tina Keane
Ghislaine Leung
Tala Madani
Gordon Parks
Aura Rosenberg
Lorna Simpson
Sable Elyse Smith
Kerry Tribe

Growing Sideways: Performing Childhood is curated by Piper Marshall and will be on view to September 15, 2024 at Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University, located at Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, Lenfest Center for the Arts, 615 West 129th Street, 6th Floor, NYC.

From the exhibition Partisans of the Nude: An Arab Art Genre in an Era of Contest, 1920 – 1960, On view October 6, 2023 – January 14, 2024 at Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University. Photo: Daniel Lopez. Image courtesy Wallach Art Gallery.

In Related Programming:

Wallach Kids

Calling all Kids! Come by the Wallach as we make kites and find creative inspiration in the gallery’s new exhibition, Growing Sideways: Performing Childhood. All materials provided.

July 13, 2024; 1:00–3:00 PM

Growing Sideways: Performing Childhood Curator’s Talk with Piper Marshall on June 27th from 6-7pm.

Curator Piper Marshall explores how artists repurpose aspects of childhood and invite new understandings of growth, development, and the borders of the self. Growing Sideways showcases the profoundly emotional and transformative ways that visual artists present the minor as a force of social change.

June 27, 2024; 6:00 PM, Katharina Otto-Bernstein Screening Room, Lenfest Center for the Arts

ABOUT WALLACH ART GALLERY: Established in 1986 as a platform for critically acclaimed exhibitions, Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University offers a dynamic range of programming, as well as publications contributing to scholarship. It provides opportunities to artists, scholars, curators, and creative thinkers while bridging the diverse approaches to the arts.

The Wallach Art Gallery is free and open to the public on Wednesdays through Sundays from 12 noon to 6 PM. It is located at 615 W 129th St, New York, NY 10027. The gallery is on the 6th floor of the Lenfest Center for the Arts.

Save the dates for fall/winter exhibitions at Wallach Art Gallery:

10/4/24 – 1/12/25 | Shifting Shorelines: Art, Industry, & Ecology Along the Hudson River

  • Presenting Hudson River School paintings alongside a diverse range of over 100 artworks and objects drawn from the river’s environment, spanning pre- and post-Colonial eras, and including contemporary art perspectives

  • Engages with the Hudson River’s wider history of human existence, ecology, commerce, and industry

1/31/25 – 3/16/25 | Rubén Ortiz-Torres: Zonas de Colaboración

  • First major solo exhibition in New York of Rubén Ortiz-Torres, a Los Angeles-based post-Mexican/neo-American artist

  • Special attention given to recent works created in collaborations with textile, ceramics, and photography ateliers in Guadalajara, Mexico

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