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Peter Burr, Sunshine Monument

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Common Spaces

MAY 23—JUNE 14, 2014
The Kitchen, 512 W 19th Street

Common Spaces seeks to examine the status of public space today. While nominally open to everyone, public spaces are also delimited by boundaries that serve both to preserve their public character and to limit them to certain uses by certain publics. At a time when public space is increasingly subject to control by private interests and authoritarian forms of state power, discourses about "the commons" have simultaneously arisen to rethink how resources are held and used in common. Drawing on this genealogy of the commons, the exhibition includes works that invoke shared spaces, envisioning the public space as truly held in common. In this respect, diverse artistic practices question, challenge, and renovate public space at the same time that the wholesale privatization of public goods threatens to bankrupt the idea of public space altogether. Treating the exhibition space as a common space also means juxtaposing multiple, and often conflicting, positions. The included artists all use different approaches to intervene in various kinds of spaces, proposing divergent meanings of the common.

The exhibition features works by Bani Abidi, Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri, Amy Balkin, Bianco-Valente, Natalie Bookchin, Cybermohalla Ensemble, Klara Lidén, Mary Mattingly, Hương Ngô and Hồng-Ân Trương, Sreshta Rit Premnath, Yorgos Sapountzis, Allan Sekula, and Knut Åsdam.

Common Spaces is curated by Maria Teresa Annarumma, Molly Everett, Joo Yun Lee, and Kristine Jærn Pilgaard, the 2013–14 Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellows of the Independent Study Program.

The ISP provides a setting within which students pursuing art practice, curatorial work, art historical scholarship, and critical writing engage in ongoing discussions and debates that examine the historical, social, and intellectual conditions of artistic production.

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Support for the Independent Study Program is provided by Margaret Morgan and Wesley Phoa, The Capital Group Charitable Foundation, and the Whitney Contemporaries through their annual Art Party benefit.

Endowment support is provided by Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo, the Dorothea L. Leonhardt Fund of the Communities Foundation of Texas, the Dorothea L. Leonhardt Foundation, and the Helena Rubinstein Foundation.


Common Spaces takes place at The Kitchen (not the Whitney Museum of American Art) and its hours are: Tuesday–Friday, 12–6 pm; Saturday, 11–6 pm. All events held in conjunction with Common Spaces will take place at The Kitchen. Check back soon for additional information.

This exhibition is free and open to the public.