July 2, 2010

Joshua Mosley: American International. Exhibition at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, USA

Joshua Mosley: American International
Indianapolis Museum of Art, USA
Through August 29, 2010

The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) presents together two animated video and sculpture installations by Philadelphia-based artist Joshua Mosley: A Vue (2004) and the premiere of his newest work, International (2010).

The works presented in Joshua Mosley: American International are composed of mixed-media animations displayed alongside small-scale bronze sculptures of characters that populate the animations. Both International and A Vue consider the memorialization of prominent individuals whose legacies sound ambivalent reverberations when viewed through the lens of contemporary life. Combining the most current technology with the hand-wrought physicality of modeled objects, Mosley’s works explore how the mind can negotiate multiple—often incompatible—points of view, grappling with existence, work and human life.
“Joshua Mosley’s installations stand apart as some of the most inventive, challenging and gratifyingly peculiar artwork being made today,” said Sarah Urist Green, associate curator of contemporary art at the IMA. “Over the course of years and with extensive research, craftsmanship and intricate technological execution, Mosley builds highly original compositions that create space for contemplating how individuals interpret and impact the world.”
In the premiere of Mosley’s first work since dread (2007), which debuted at the 2007 Venice Biennale, the IMA will present International, a video and installation work focusing on two figures who had interminable influence on current American industrial infrastructure and economic theory: Austrian free-market economist and philosopher Friedrich Hayek and American builder and philanthropist George R. Brown, former president of Brown & Root, Inc., purchased by the Halliburton Company in 1962.

International is a two-part installation, the first of which is a character study of Brown and Hayek, whose standing figures Mosley hand-sculpted in clay and rendered in bronze. Each approximately 15 inches tall, the sculptures will be displayed alongside a 34-inch long replica of a 1937 International brand truck, which Mosley hand made from wood, metal and resin and then cast in bronze. Mosley then 3D scanned the truck, creating a digital model that he animated and incorporated into International’s 6-minute highdefinition animation. Displayed in an adjacent gallery, the projected video combines 3D computer animation with recent digital photography of sites of pivotal importance in the lives of Brown and Hayek. The animation features the voices of the two men sampled from oral history recordings made between 1968 and 1978, interwoven with a musical score composed of single notes played on a 1938 Haines Brothers piano, matching one that belonged to Brown's family.

While the two men never met, Mosley’s imagined conversation between Hayek and Brown will turn a keen eye on how the personal desires and experiences of human beings shape the way they imagine the greater good, even among people living in the same place and the same historical moment. In the artist’s words, International explores “how the mind can simultaneously hold incompatible ideas,” and how individuals, like Hayek and Brown, can reconcile public theories and actions with more private motivations. At a moment when the U.S. government is trying to stem a systemic financial crisis, International will look to the pertinent examples of two men, one of whom was a vocal opponent of government intervening in a free market, and another who accumulated considerable wealth as a result of large-scale government spending.

A second video and sculpture installation, A Vue (2004), looks to the legacy of American botanist George Washington Carver. The installation presents a 24-inch bronze sculpture titled George Washington Carver, 150 ft and an animation that chronicles its presence as a large-scale monument in one of the national parks dedicated to Carver. The animated video combines digitally photographed stop-motion puppets and environments made with 3D modeling software and ink-wash paintings. The animation’s narrative follows Henry, a park ranger whose job it is to tend the small town’s 150-foot sculpture of Carver. The viewer sees Henry on his daily task of scaling the monument to polish and clean it, surrounded by the flat, bleached vista of a nondescript Midwestern town. Henry meets Susan, a new employee of the local fiber optic company, and the disparity between the nature of each character’s life’s work is set in witty and compelling contrast.

With Carver’s forward-looking figure presiding over the town, his teachings—sustainability in agriculture, self-sufficiency, humanitarianism—cannot help but be evaluated against this contemporary landscape. Best known for taking the greatest advantage of a series of unlikely opportunities, and eventually developing hundreds of uses for the peanut, Carver helped revolutionize agriculture in the South by offering alternatives to the single-crop cultivation of cotton that had devastated the land. Mosley’s memorials in miniature, of Carver as well Brown and Hayek, serve to question how meaning can become fixed in the consideration of the diverse and often conflicted lives of these enigmatic men.

Short biography of JOSHUA MOSLEY
Joshua Mosley (born 1974, Dallas, lives Philadelphia) is Associate Professor of Fine Arts in the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his M.F.A. and B.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his A.A. from St. Louis Community College. Mosley is a recipient of the Joseph H. Hazen Rome Prize, the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship. His work has exhibited and screened at the 2007 Venice Biennale, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Basel, Switzerland, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, the Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Donald Young Gallery in Chicago, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

Carmen & Mark Holeman Video Gallery and Livia & Steve Russell Gallery
4000 Michigan Road, Indianapolis, Michigan
March 12 - August 29, 2010

Exhibition credit: This exhibition is made possible through the generosity of the Chambers Family Foundation.

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