1. Hank Willis Thomas: The Truth Is I See You is open at MetroTech Commons until June 3, 2016.
Brooklyn is one of the most diversely populated areas in the world, bringing together cultures from all corners of the globe. The Truth Is I See You is part of an ongoing series by Brooklyn-based artist Hank Willis Thomas that explores the nature of truth and understanding across cultures. Using the phrases of a poem written in collaboration with artist Ryan Alexiev, the core of the exhibition is a new series of comic book-inspired speech balloon signs that feature universal statements about truth in 22 of the many languages spoken in Brooklyn. Installed along the MetroTech Promenade, each sign also features an English translation of the phrase and is accompanied by a pronunciation guide. Thomas arrived at these translations by working with an extended network of friends to communicate the essence of each English statement, as opposed to a direct translation. Within the Commons, the speech balloon is repeated in new sculptural works: two benches of rolled steel create circular spaces for contemplation, while a large-scale steel tree has branches that seem to grow into thought bubbles. Together these works invite us to approach our different perspectives on truth with a new sense of understanding.
2. Ektor Garcia and Michael Blake is on view at The Can Gallery until August 31, 2015.
The newly opened Can Gallery is located in the locker rooms of an old factory in West Harlem. The inaugural exhibition, curated by Participant Inc. founder Lia Gangitano, features the two young sculptors Ektor Garcia and Michael Blake. The dehumanization and objectification of bodies of color in many cultures is inferred in Garcia’s use of natural skins (either natively or tanned brown or black) and animal/human hair that is manipulated often into enigmatically corporeal forms e.g. Matanza, a collection of salvaged leather pieces sutured together with hemp. Blake humorously deflates and nudges at the fetishization around common historical stereotypes of masculinity through the suggestive use of synthetic and mass-produced materials.Blake’s pieces function as surrogates for living
companions, a team whose members join forces and toy with and entice one another. Taken as discrete works of art, Blake’s pieces are the vision of an idealized form that is individuated, self-reflexive, exhibitionistic, but also confidently autoerotic.
3. Tatiana Trouve: Desire Lines is open at Central Park until August 30, 2015.
For her first public commission in the United States, Tatiana Trouvé (b. 1968, Cosenza, Italy) has made a work that responds to Central Park. She came to see the miles of pedestrian paths that traverse its landscape as similar to the arteries of a living being. There’s no singular way to walk through the park, but rather a multitude of possible routes that may be followed according to our own desires. Drawing on existing maps, Trouvé isolated all of the marked pathways in the park and estimated their distances. She identified 212, from secluded paths to prominent thoroughfares, ranging in length from around 60 feet to four miles. Translating her research into three-dimensional form, Trouvé created three large-scale storage racks that house a total of 212 spools. Each spool is wound with rope equivalent in length to a corresponding pathway and labeled to identify its location in the park.