Freya Powell: The Silence of the Unsaid

Freya Powell: The Silence of the Unsaid

Art in General | 145 Plymouth Street | Dumbo

Art in General is pleased to present the exhibition, Freya Powell: The Silence of the Unsaid, as part of its New Commissions Program with an opening reception on Thursday, February 23rd from 6 to 8pm, and the show continuing through March 15, 2017.

The collective works on view engage issues around distance, separation, and empathy in relationship to various landscapes. The show will feature Powell’s new video, The Silence of the Unsaid. This project traces the history of an Athena missile that was launched by the U.S. military in July of 1970 from a base in Green River, Utah to test re-entry speeds and impact. The missile lost control, went about 400 miles off course, and crashed in a Mexican desert known locally as the “Zone of Silence.” It was carrying two containers of Cobalt-57, a radioactive element. Powell traveled to this desert with questions about the silence surrounding the clean up of the crashed missile, as well as the myth that has since built on this history.

Freya Powell: The Silence of the Unsaid: Mexican desert known locally as the “Zone of Silence”

Related works presented in the exhibition include the three-channel video Our Disappearance is Already There (2015). This silent piece shows the physical distance between New York City’s public and potter’s field, located on Hart Island in the Bronx. The seemingly abandoned island that holds over a million deceased is seen from two vantage points, as it is circumnavigated by the camera. In contemplating the separation currently enforced by the Department of Corrections around the public space of the cemetery, the project calls into question the value of life, and how lives are allowed to be grievable or not through frames of reference such as shared experience, nationality, or humanness. Shown concurrently is a text-based artwork—evocative of epitaphs, Powell’s word lists play with repetition of language to trigger sentiments that echo the separation that is unequivocally felt. The artist states “it is through the incorporation of forced distancing that disassociation is evoked, and one’s ability to empathize is often diminished.”

Freya Powell received an MFA from Hunter College, New York, NY (2012) and a BA from Bard College, Annandale-On-Hudson, NY (2006). Her work has been exhibited in solo shows at Arts Santa Monica, Barcelona, Spain (2014) and Emerson Dorsch, Miami, FL (2013). She has participated in group shows at institutions including EFA Project Space, New York, NY (2016), Queens Museum, Corona, NY (2016), Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY (2015), the International Center of Photography Library, New York, NY (2014), #1 Cartagena: the First International Biennale of Art, Cartagena de India, Colombia (2014), and the Bronx Museum, Bronx, NY (2013). Her work is in the collections of the New York Public Library; Bard College; the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Hunter College.

For more than 30 years, Art in General has provided two of the scarcest resources to artists – space and funding. In a city teeming with creativity, it helps local and international artists produce major groundbreaking projects that would otherwise not be realized.

Art in General was founded in 1981 by two artists, Martin Weinstein and Teresa Liszka, in the General Hardware building as a space for artists to inspire, meet, and exhibit. A pioneering force since the 1980s, it has grown into a New York institution unlike any other in the city, supporting thousands of local and international artists through deep personal connections and direct funding.

Art in General has a long history of supporting artists early in their careers. From Glenn Ligon in 1991, to Marina Abramović in 1993, to Gabriel Orozco in 1994, Art in General is often at the forefront of giving artists their first New York exhibitions. Most recently, New Commissions artists have gone on to be included in the Whitney Biennial, documenta, Istanbul Biennial, and the Venice Biennale, among others, as well as in exhibitions at major institutions in New York abroad, such as MoMA, the New Museum, and the Tate Modern.

Since its launch in 2005, the New Commissions Program has formed the core of Art in General’s programming, and was designed in direct response to feedback from artists who expressed a need for more in-depth support for the production of new work. Art in General gives selected artists the opportunity to create and present new work by providing them with a high level of organizational and conceptual support including artist fees, production fees, exhibition space, a solo exhibition, promotion, and opportunities to engage with audiences through free online and public programs.

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