Don’t Perish

Tomma Abts, Jo Baer, Darren Bader, Hilla & Berndt Becher, Hilary Berseth, Cosima Von Bonin, Carol Bove, Roe Ethridge, Tony Feher, Alison Fox, Alex Klein, Sherrie Levine, Jason Meadows, Carrie Moyer, Alex Olson, Sara Oppenheimer, Raha Raissnia, Pat Steir, Lily Van Der Stokker (Curated By Joseph Montgomery And Jesse Willenbring)

September 18, 2009 – October 17, 2009 545 West 23rd Street

Press Release

The metaphors linking food and art are abundant.  They persist: the ideas of sustenance versus subsistence, to satiate concomitant with nourishment, to simply serve, or to present.   Don’t Perish posits the independent creativity of the artist within the anomaly of an inventive community.  Don’t Perish is an exchange suggested as an exhibition:

“We want to live with work we like, work we are curious about, work we have the chance to eat dinner with if we put it into a group show that incorporates tables, chairs, and food.  In order to understand the work, get to know it, we invite our friends and strangers to look at the work with us over a meal.”

 Montgomery and Willenbring have done this before. Rose Colored Glasses was mounted at Passerby in 2008. That exhibition shared the same impetus as Don’t Perish, which was and is, a desire to experience works of art in a setting that provides an alternative to the passive viewing parameters usually encountered when visiting a gallery. There was and is the intention that the participant will find sustained albeit earned nourishment in the work as well as the meals.  In addition to the individual works providing stimulus, the context provided by the visual storage and organization of non-perishable food throughout the gallery inspires another level of sightlines, interruptions, jumps in conversation and information that keeps perspective un-fixed.

Abstract and conceptual works lend themselves particularly well to durational viewing.  When considering pieces for the exhibition, Montgomery and Willenbring specifically chose works by artists that combine rigor and formalist underpinnings, with an understated yet sublime beauty.  They have grouped an unexpected bevy of artists into a space activated by dinner-time conversations puzzling the connections and discovering the complements.

At the core of this exhibition is the emphasis on responsibility.  Montgomery and Willenbring are creating a pantry within the gallery for food the visitor donates to the Food Bank of New York*. They ask the diners to bring food to share to the table when they come to dinner. Montgomery and Willenbring are bringing food to the neighborhood by hosting a farm stand on Saturdays.

Each artwork will also initiate queries on responsibility through its language of abstraction, investigate the necessity or uselessness of interpretation, and weigh the burden or enlightenment of context.

Joseph Montgomery and Jesse Willenbring are artists that live and work in New York City.

Joseph Montgomery holds a BA from Yale University and both he and Jesse Willenbring hold MFA’s from Hunter College.