ZIYANG WU, Where Did Macy Go?, 2020 (detail). Color digital video with sound. Edition 1 of 5. Installation dimensions variable. Duration: 08:57 min. Courtesy the artist
Cuchifritos Gallery and Residency Unlimited are pleased to present This side, or the other… a culminating group exhibition of work by the 2020 NYC-Based Artist Residents Elizabeth Moran, Carlos Rosales-Silva, Christopher Udemezue, and Ziyang Wu. Their respective practices take on historiography, knowledge-making, socioeconomic structures, and the digitization of contemporary society. The NYC-Based Artist Residency Program is dedicated to artists living and working in the five boroughs who represent a range of diverse voices traditionally underrepresented in the arts and whose practices fill in gaps in historical knowledge.
The four artists were selected from an open call of over 180 submissions reviewed by a panel of arts professionals: Natasha Becker, an independent curator, writer, and a co-founder of Assembly Room; Ilk Yasha, an arts administrator, multidisciplinary facilitator, educator and Studio Museum Institute Curator at The Studio Museum in Harlem; and Rachel Gugelberger, RU Residency Program Director & Curator of Programs. The three-month residency program was indelibly shaped and formed by the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism — the program launched April 13 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in NYC and concluded in the midst of the Black Lives Matter protests erupting around the globe. During the three-month residency, artists conducted virtual studio visits with ten guest curator/critics, made virtual presentations (available on RU’s website), attended information sessions, hosted salons, and participated in weekly discussions on topics ranging from photography to IMF’s role in Jamaica to universal basic income and sex work.
This side, or the other… features new works conceived and manifested through the lens of our current moment of increasingly polarized debates around historical accuracy and alternative facts, migration and borders, death and rebirth, immunity and spirituality, falling on one side (or the other) in response to our long-standing democratic and constitutional crisis.
Elizabeth Moran’s research-based practice is informed by a preoccupation with the subjectivity of facts and evidence of unknown or little understood histories that take form in photography, audio, text, and found objects. For This side, or the other… Moran presents Rose Main Reading Room (East), a video from her ongoing research project Against the Best Possible Sources, which examines the earliest history of the first professional fact-checkers, a role invented in 1922 by Time Magazine and held exclusively by women until 1971. The video footage “ displaying murals of vibrant skies and billowing clouds” was captured from the James Wall Finn ceiling mural of the Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library, where Moran conducted most of her research prior to COVID-19. In the context of the pandemic, Moran’s evocation of the awe of nature considers what it means to look at reproductions of nature and to look outside from inside when you do not have the freedom to move nor assemble freely.
Employing abstraction as a tool, Carlos Rosales-Silva considers a deep history of making that spans the complex visual communications of pre-colonial indigenous peoples to the intentional and functional color language of small businesses and homeowners in predominantly Brown neighborhoods. Rosales-Silva presents Amanacer/Atardecer, a new sculpture, discreet paintings, and recently published zines. Informed by the obelisk as an information point, in particular Pre-Columbian obelisks in the Americas which contained creation myths or other cultural information on their carved multi-faceted stone faces, Rosales-Silva’s obelisk of his own design combines his painting and publishing practices into a compact, multifaceted, and architectural object and container of memory.
A penchant for interviews and storytelling has deeply informed Christopher Udemezue’s art practice with a focus on his Jamaican heritage and the complexities of desire for connection, personal mythologies, generational trauma, healing, and his mother’s experience immigrating to the United States from Jamaica. Over the course of his residency, Udemezue read Joy DeGruy’s book Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, and her recommendations on healing cross-generationally have had a particular impact. The works created for the exhibition center on ideas of uprooting anti-Blackness, the work of self reflection, the necessity of harnessing joy within Black children, and extending grace and empathy within the Black community.
Ziyang Wu is a Chinese artist based in New York who draws from contemporary technology, digital power structures, popular culture and the dynamics between identity and community and the alienation of both body and spirit. His practice examines how the virtual world, data, and algorithms ubiquitously “micro-alienate” and reconstruct human interaction. Where Did Macy Go? is an 11-episode animated video told through a series of reports by its main character Macy and their encounter with “the epidemic,” life under quarantine, the search for their grandfather’s farm, and their revival. The video explores the collapse of old community structures, the emergence of a new community after decollectivization, Confucian obedience vs. social obedience, the new tele-republic of home, “mask politics,” and social justice under the pandemic. Originally posted on TikTok, the video installation is a physical manifestation of an online project created in response to our contemporary moment of fear, complexity and confusion.
This side, or the other… is curated by RU Residency Program Director & Curator of Programs Rachel Gugelberger with RU Communications Coordinator & NYC Residency Program Assistant Alyssa Alexander.
A Note About Safety
We have made some changes in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect our visitors. The gallery will be limited to 4 people at a time and we require that all visitors and staff properly wear a mask (don’t forget to cover your nose!) at all times. Hand sanitizer will be available upon entering the space and we ask that you maintain 6 feet between yourself and others.
Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space is located inside Essex Market, which is fully accessible by ADA standards. The gallery can be accessed from any ground floor entrance. Cuchifritos Gallery welcomes assistance dogs and has wheelchair accessible toilet facilities on the lower level and 2nd floor, which can be accessed by the east-side elevator. For access inquiries please contact Artists Alliance at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 420-9202.
The 2020 NYC Artist Residency Program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the city council and generous support from individual donors.
About Residency Unlimited (RU)
Founded in 2009, Residency Unlimited (RU) is a non-profit art organization that supports the creation, presentation and dissemination of contemporary art through its unique residency program and year-round public programs. RU is located within a former South Congregational Church in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. The space acts as a multifunctional hub and meeting
place for RU’s various activities and public programs, including talks, screenings, performances and exhibitions. Here artists and curators-in-residence meet with RU staff, conduct research, and at times produce work. RU provides customized residencies for international and local artists and curators in New York City focused on network support, project/production assistance, and public exposure. This includes weekly meetings with art professionals aligning artistic and curatorial interests, regular project support from RU staff, and a public program opportunity at our Brooklyn location or partnering venues throughout New York. www.residencyunlimited.org
About Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space
Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space is a program of Artists Alliance Inc. (AAI). Founded in 1999 by 40 artists living and working on the Lower East Side, AAI is dedicated to launching, strengthening, and advancing the vision of emerging and underrepresented artists and curators through fully-funded residencies, paid exhibition opportunities and commissioned projects. AAI cultivates art practices that challenge the way we experience ourselves, our communities, and our world, and aims to widen the audience for contemporary art by encouraging public dialogue using art as a catalyst.
When AAI envisioned an art gallery in the historic Essex Street Market in 2001, the mission was born from the conviction that art matters in society; that art can facilitate intersection; and that galleries can serve as inclusive civic space. Deeply embedded within the new Essex Crossing market space, Cuchifritos Gallery makes contemporary art more accessible to the public, including those who are not accustomed to the experience of viewing art, may not have the time to visit museums and galleries, or cannot afford the rising cost of admission. Cuchifritos relieves the distance between art and audience, defying the more traditional belief that the aesthetic experience is separate from the everyday. The exhibition program demonstrates the connections between art and life; addresses financial and perceptual barriers to art access; comments on the production and distribution of knowledge; and reflects on the circumstances that shape it. For those artists who make a practice of mining daily life, the gallery provides a fundamental connection to something expansive and alive. www.artistsallianceinc.org
Artists Alliance Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization located on the Lower East Side of New York City within the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center. Cuchifritos Gallery is supported in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Exhibition programming is made possible by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts. We thank the New York City Economic Development Corporation and individual supporters of Artists Alliance Inc for their continued support. Special thanks go to our team of dedicated volunteers and interns, without whom this program would not be possible. www.artistsallianceinc.org