Sara Greenberger Rafferty: Gloves Off will be on display at the museum through May 21, 2017. The boxing term “gloves off”—frequently used as a metaphor to characterize brutal political campaigns and post-9/11 military interrogation—aptly describes the subtle aggressions in American popular culture Rafferty lays bare.Over the past decade, Rafferty has referenced the language, gestures and props associated with stand-up comedy. This exhibition includes a new large-scale work entitled Jokes on You, featuring images of ephemera from the collections of the National Museum of American History, which was part of Rafferty’s study during her Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship. Index cards from the Phyllis Diller “Gag File,” scanned and re-contextualized by Rafferty, underscore the trauma associated with cultural mores that assert control over women’s bodies, such as marriage and consumerism.
The Gloves Off exhibition also includes photographs and prints that evoke the theme of damage. To create one set of black and white images, Rafferty paints on paper, punctures the finished work, and photographs the result. In a series of Phyllis Diller portraits, Rafferty scans found images, transfers them to paper, and distorts them using a “waterlogging” technique. In another grouping printed directly on Plexiglas, biomorphic forms—including weapons, comedy props and other objects associated with both tragedy and humor—accumulate and spread like cells across the wall’s surface.
Rafferty has exhibited widely since 2001, including solo exhibitions at The Kitchen, New York; MoMA PS1, New York; Eli Marsh Gallery at Amherst College, Massachusetts; The Suburban, Illinois; and a commissioned sculpture for the Public Art Fund. Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. In 2014, she participated in the Whitney Biennial and the Hammer Biennial, and had solo exhibitions in Portland, Ore., Riga, Latvia, and New York. In 2015, her work was included in exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center in Georgia, and Galerie Andreas Huber in Vienna. In 2016, she mounted her fourth solo exhibition at Rachel Uffner Gallery and presented a solo project at Document in Chicago.
Andrew Ingall is an independent curator, scholar and producer. In 2015 he organized the exhibition Videofreex: The Art of Guerilla Television at The Dorsky and conceived a series of related public programs at the Brooklyn Museum, Electronic Arts Intermix, the Sanctuary for Independent Media and other venues in New York State. While serving previously as Assistant Curator at the Jewish Museum, he organized exhibitions of video and digital art and directed Off the Wall: Artists at Work, a residency and open studio project. He has worked recently with Wave Hill on film programming, and previously on selection committees for the Museum of Modern Art’s Documentary Fortnight and the New York Jewish Film Festival, a collaboration between the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Jewish Museum.
On Saturday, April 1 at 2 p.m., Rafferty and curator Andrew Ingall will lead a gallery talk at The Dorsky.
After its presentation at The Dorsky, the exhibition travels to the University Art Museum (UAM) at SUNY Albany, in an expanded version coordinated by UAM Curator Corinna Ripps Schaming. It opens in Albany on June 30, 2017.Sara Greenberger Rafferty: Gloves Off is accompanied by a fully illustrated, 84-page catalogue co-published by The Dorsky and UAM.
Funding for this exhibition has been provided by the Dorsky Museum Contemporary Art Program Fund. Funding for The Dorsky’s exhibitions and programs is provided by the Friends of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art and SUNY New Paltz. Special thanks to the Rachel Uffner Gallery. Through its collections, exhibitions and public programs, the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz supports and enriches the academic programs at the College, presents a broad range of world art for study and enjoyment and serves as a center for Hudson Valley arts and culture.
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