Hauser & Wirth New York will open its doors to ‘We Were Already Gone’, an exhibition at its West 22nd Street location in the Chelsea Arts District, organized in collaboration with Hunter College. Curated by graduate students in Hunter’s Department of Art & Art History, this exhibition will showcase the work of artists currently enrolled in the school’s MFA Program in Studio Art. ‘We Were Already Gone’ spotlights the diversity and holistic approach that have situated Hunter uniquely among American institutions devoted to higher education in the arts. The show will present an array of works across mediums, with sculpture, painting, and videos that confront the global cultural and political reckoning underway.
Hunter College’s acclaimed MFA Program in Studio Art is deeply rooted in and nourished by its engagement with the cultural ecology of New York City. For decades, its alumni and faculty have helped to shape the landscape of contemporary art, making significant contributions to the field as artists, critics, curators, and educators.
Hauser & Wirth’s ongoing collaboration with Hunter College reflects the gallery’s longstanding commitment to arts education and community building.
Artist Firelei Báez, Hunter College MFA ‘10 says, ‘When I went to Hunter, it was this wild thunder dome of possibilities. It was a place for unlearning all the things I mastered before, of really examining and recontextualizing my place in the Western canon. And I’m very grateful to professors like Susan Crile, Paul Ramirez Jonas, and Nari Ward, for teaching me to expand beyond and acknowledge and revel in the stories in the places I grew up in, and to give room and open new doorways for people after me, just like they did. Following in their footsteps. I’m very grateful and proud to be an alum.’
‘We Were Already Gone’ was conceived and curated by the students of Hunter’s graduate class, ‘Curate, Create, Critique,’ taught by curator and professor Joachim Pissarro. For the exhibition, the participating students – who come from both the Art History and Studio Art departments – chose to focus upon the effects of the year 2020, with its global pandemic accompanied by political unrest, learning through a virtual sphere, and lack of human touch and connection. Impacted individually and collectively by the turmoil of last year, the students found their organizing principle in Jacques Derrida’s term ‘hauntology,’ which refers to the persistent presence of the past in our current moment. The works on view in ‘We Were Already Gone’ form an invitation to assemble remnants of the past into a new foundation for a hopeful future.
At Hauser & Wirth’s building on West 22nd Street, the exhibition will unfold across the gallery’s clerestoried fifth floor space. The paintings, sculptures, drawings, and video works on view explore questions of memory and notions of the avatar or virtual self, and survey the effects of absence and isolation. Some of the participating artists are contemplating the past, using their work to define the ways memory shapes life in the present day. Others are questioning how – and if – we can individually and collectively dismantle outdated, inherited systems in order to rebuild anew.
‘We Were Already Gone‘ was curated by Hunter MA and MFA students Dana Notine, Jonas Albro, Daniel Berman, Dante Cannatella, Anna Cone, Sarah Heinemann, Mercedes Llanos, Amorelle Jacox, Liza Lacroix, Kimberly Nam, Joseph Parra, Lorraine Robinson, and Sigourney Schultz.
In addition to the physical exhibition, Hauser & Wirth will feature the graduating students from the Hunter College’s MFA program in Studio Art, in a follow-up to digital spotlight presented in Fall 2020. This new online showcase for Spring 2021 will include texts from each artist, as well as photographs and videos that further illuminate the working processes and vision behind their practice.
In addition to this digital exhibition that launches on 14 May, Hunter College will continue to host physical presentations of the MFA Thesis candidates this spring. For more information on the Thesis Exhibitions and the MFA Program in Studio Art at Hunter College visit: www.mfa205hudson.org.
Hauser & Wirth + Hunter College, MFA/MA Exhibition, ‘We Were Already Gone‘ will be on view from May 14 to June 5, 2021 at Hauser & Wirth New York, 22nd Street, located at 542 West 22nd Street in Chelsea, NYC.