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installation view of exhibition

Installation view


Text Only: Jenny Holzer, from Laments, 1989 © 2003 Jenny Holzer / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Request for reproduction and downloading of Jenny Holzer works should be directed to Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

three black and white stills of a man with different facial expressions

BILL VIOLA Nine Attempts to Achieve Immortality, 1996 Sound and video installation Edition of three and one artist proof

tiny airplanes flying around a dining area

HIRAKI SAWA Dwelling, 2002 DVD Edition of eight

small, barred window high up on the wall

ROBERT GOBER Prison Window, 1992 48 X 53 X 36 inches, with 24 X 24 inch opening, Plywood, forged iron, plaster, latex paint and lights Edition of five Private Collection

curtain hanging from the wall

JANINE ANTONI Sigh, 2003 50 X 90 X 20 inches Curtain, wind, fabric stiffener Courtesy of Luhring Augustine Gallery

sculpture of a piece of fabric holding up a fawn

ERICK SWENSON Untitled, 2003 91 X 43 X 46 inches Plastic, fiberglass, steel, flocking, acrylic and oil paint

yellow and red gradient with the word "Air" spelled in bubbles

ED RUSCHA Air, 1968 8 X 10 inches Oil on canvas Private Collection

painting of a grey cloud

JOHN CONSTABLE, R.A. Cloud Study, c. 1830 4 5/8 X 8 inches Oil on paper Courtesy of Salander-O'Reilly Galleries

pipe with a bubble coming out of its bowl

MAN RAY What We All Lack, 1965 5 X 7 3/4 X 3 inches Clay pipe, glass bubble, pen and ink

image of the sky during the sunset

RICHARD MISRACH 10.14.97, 6:49pm, 1997/2002 70 1/4 X 87 1/2 inches Chromogenic color print on Fuji Crystal Archive paper

image of artist blowing into a balloon

PIERO MANZONI Artist's Breath,s1957-58

image of man leaping

YVES KLEIN Leap into the Void, 1960 Photographed by HARRY SHUNK 13 3/4 X 10 5/8 inches Gelatin silver print

bronze sculpture of a diving vest

JEFF KOONS Aqualung, 1985 27 X 19 X 22 inches Bronze Private Collection

frontal view of James Cohan Gallery's original Chelsea location

HOWARD GOLDKRAND Air Borne: Ant.enna project, James Cohan Gallery, 2003 Reflecto-lite sign sequins on Coroplast, 2 Scantennas, 2 Radio Scanners, 4 speakers with mixer and amplifier

a mobile with rocks and other random objects

OLAFUR ELIASSON Waterfall Mobile, 2003 92 X 80 X 125 inches Steel, mirror, photographs, paper and lava rocks Courtesy of Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

Press Release

James Cohan Gallery is pleased to present a group show titled Air featuring 29 artists from the 17th century to the present; each musing on the invisible yet physical element of air.

The notion of air, aside from being the one factor that distinguishes earth from all other planets, continues to shift in our mind with the advent of technological innovations (e.g. wireless communication) and environmental concerns (ozone layers, global warming). The exhibition explores "air" in three thematic premises, the physical/perceptual notion of air, conceptual musings on air, and air as a metaphor.

Among the many works included in the show are Marcel Duchamp's 50 cc ampoule of the air of Paris housed in his Boite-en-valise from 1938, Piero Manzoni's pneumatic sculpture from 1959-60, Corpo d' Aria (Air Body), consisting of a deflated balloon, a rubber hose and tripod, and Yves Klein's infamous fiction Leap into the Void (1960). Each of these works is critical to the contemporary dialogue on this subject. Robert Gober's Prison Window(1992) installation, in which an illuminated sky-filled window diorama with hand-forged metal bars is inset into the gallery walls, and Jeff Koons's meticulous bronze castAqualung (1985), further elaborates on the confinement and absence of air.

Like Manzoni, who was preoccupied with the artist's breath, Bill Viola's Nine Attempts to Achieve Immortality (1996) is a black and white video in which the artist holds his breath for as long as possible, nine consecutive times. It is a meditation on life and its fragility, as a cathartic gasping for air breaks the artist's silence. In contrast, Marina Abramovic's video Breathing In, Breathing Out (1977), renders the idea of resuscitation as contradiction; she and her collaborator Ulay breath into each other's mouths to the point of unconsciousness. Janine Antoni's new work Sigh (2003), a curtain caught in a momentary breeze comments on the passing of time and memory, while Erick Swenson's wind-swept hybrid animal lays bare physical manifestations of emotional states. Dennis Oppenheim's 1973 Whirlpool (Eye of the Storm), a five-panel photo document, an early conceptual work in which he hired a skywriter to "draw" a tornado form. The whirlpool existed only as long as the winds would sustain it. Oppenheim makes time, site, duration and potential chaos his subjects.

On the exterior of the gallery is an architectural installation by artist Howard Goldkrand. He has mounted metal sequins to the façade of the building in a geometric configuration related to patterned sound waves. The sequins shimmer with the air exhibitionss while speakers, mounted to the gallery entrance, transmit random electronic signals picked up in the airways by two rooftop antennas.

In addition to inviting contemporary artists to be involved in the project, historical representations of atmospheric conditions will be exhibited that illustrate how the idea of "air" has changed quite dramatically over the last few centuries. 19th century painters such as Gustave Courbet, John Constable, Thomas Cole, Arthur Parton, J.M.W. Turner and R.A. Blakelock represent open skies and the emotional states sunsets, sunrises and weather conditions can impart. Richard Misrach's photograph, from 1997, titled 10.14.97, 6:49 pm. explores these same issues through a contemporary lens.

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