apexart :: 444 -1997 exhibition

Four Curators Four Artists Four Weeks

444; a plan by which four individuals (often dealers but not always) who regularly see new work are asked to recommend an "unaffiliated" artist for a four-day exhibition

Curator: Paul Ha   Artist: Darryl Graff
July 9 - 12, 1997
Curator: Stefano Basilico   Artist: Michelle Hines
July 16 - 19, 1997
Curators: Jessica Fredericks and Andrew Freiser   Artist: David McMurray
July 23 - 26, 1997
Curator: Lisa Spellman   Artist: Adam Ames
July 30 - August 2, 1997

291 Church St. New York, NY 10013

download pdf of exhibition brochure

Apex Art Curatorial Program has been in existence for three years, having shown more than two hundred artists chosen by over thirty individuals in the role of curator.

Our primary goal is to fill a perceived void of critical assessment, free from the commodification and promotion necessary for a commercial gallery and without the hierarchical structure crucial to a museum in its much larger role. We endeavor to be an intermediary between the idea expressed by the artist, placed into some context by a curator, allowing the years of work to be seen in an objective (or even subjective) role, providing the viewer a greater opportunity to be more fully involved in the ideas behind the shows and the work involved.

In keeping with our general practice of asking notable individuals to assist in helping us make programming choices for our summer schedule, we invite persons who by the nature of their position are exposed to new work by artists on a self-initiating and regular basis. We ask them to recommend an artist who, though perhaps not yet ready for representation, could benefit greatly from the opportunity we offer: a one-person one-week show with endorsement and documentation in a maintained space without economic or political agenda.

This year’s “three for three” selections support the
efficacy of that process, and we look forward to continuing our practice of mounting idea-based shows accompanied by essays by the curators.

We appreciate the enthusiastic response and support of our efforts from the community.

Steven Rand
Founder and Director

After moving to New York only nine months ago, I am still in the process of examining the methods by which people maximize their creative output while living in a city of distraction. The constant temptation of a seemingly limitless supply of cultural offerings necessitates a high degree of self-discipline. I often feel locked into mortal combat with short attention span syndrome (SASS), a psychological affliction that soon ought to find its way into medical journals, if it hasn’t already.

The artists in the 343 program at Apex are in a challenging position: a window of opportunity has been opened, but only for a brief length of time. How do you best utilize the four days in the spotlight? I am slowly learning that people who know how to make New York work for them are always ready for their moment of truth. Given the chance to display the fruits of their oft-hidden efforts, they will react without a trace of hesitation. The depth and maturity of the work here, as well as the enthusiasm with which these three compelling artists greeted the offer of a show, has helped me to understand the rules of the game. Survival in this town requires an engine that never ceases to idle.

Gregory Williams
Assistant Director
June 1997

343 being a summer show, I immediately thought of Darryl Graff’s new “Found Drawings” when I was asked to participate. First of all, these drawings are funny, I mean really funny. If you are visiting this exhibition or reading this catalog, you are most likely someone who has an idea of what an ordeal artists have to go through, and I am certain that you will find yourself chuckling out loud or nodding your head mumbling, “yes.” Secondly, some of these are really touching. Like some of Darryl’s sculptures, these pieces make us somewhat melancholy. Lastly, summer being the end of the season for the artworld, I thought it appropriate for us to “review” the season through Darryl’s eyes.
If you get a chance, you should check out Darryl’s sculptures, they are truly wonderful. But for now I wanted to share with you something lighter, something perfect for the summer.

Paul Ha
June 1997, New York

Hello? Hi. Okay, who am I speaking with? Michelle. Michelle. And your birth date? July 25, 1969. Okay, and how can I help you, Michelle? What’s your question for me? I guess I’m curious about how long I’ll live. Ha, you’re so young, what are you worried about that for? It’s something you think about. Ha, oh my goodness, well, let’s see what I can get. How old will I live to be? All right, I can’t give you a specific age, but I can let you know old, okay. Can you say how someone dies? Well, actually I don’t like to look at that kind of stuff, you know what I mean? Let me see, you get the hanged man, that’s a card of time. You’re going to live to an old age and also it looks to me like when you finally do pass, you’re gonna live somewhere else. Like where? Like where are you calling from now? From Brooklyn. Okay, so you live in New York. Now, so let’s say for example you’re going to move to California and then you’re going to spend your days there. You’re not going to live in Brooklyn all your life is what I’m saying. Oh. It’s like you might decide, oh, I want to get out of here, I want to move to California and that’s where you’re going to stay and live and have the rest of your life. When am I gonna move to California? Well, I’m just giving California as an example. Oh.

In Michelle Hines’ work she is both believer and an example of a believer, she embodies simultaneously both the image of desire and desire itself. In this excerpt from “Psychic Readings,” as in all her work, she is searching for the definitive truth in a world that can only deliver a partial verification.

Stefano Basilico
June 1997

Canadian-born artist David McMurray (28 years old) talks about his sculptures in terms of "dumb building." His Pipes are very finished, polished objects, yet they seem less like actual things then attempts a at things. David talks about "suggestions" rather than "concrete meaning", He talks about why his pieces, which are attached to the ceiling of his studio, do not seem to hang as much as they seem to be confined from the top.

We have been in the studio several times in the last year and are excited about the work (mostly tubular shafts wrapped in plaid fabric with two fluid, bulbous swellings protruding from each end). Pushed to the ceilings, exposed from the bottom, they clearly intimate a certain sexuality-- something undeniably male. We have talked about the very charged coding system of plaid, and how the implications always seem gender-coded "male"-- prep school uniforms, lumberjack shirts, golfer's pants. We never think of catholic school skirts. Maybe the uniformed surface is more culturally identified with the masculine. Maybe the plaid formally references geometric abstraction. It could be that the fiberglass and the titles (Pipe) remind us of surfing. These are just a suggestions . David's studio is in Portchester, NY, and when we visit, we have a lot of driving time for talking. The conversations range from art to dietary advice. And in fact, David has helped us lose a good deal of weight. We are not exactly sure what this suggests, probably it is just an attempt at a suggestion.

Jessica Fredericks and Andrew Freiser
June 1997