apexart :: Sarah Lookofsky and Lillian Fellmann :: Land Grab

Land Grab
curated by Sarah Lookofsky and Lillian Fellmann

November 7 - December 22, 2007

291 Church St. New York, NY 10013

Participating artists: Leyla Cárdenas, Jens Haaning, John Hawke, Albert Heta, Søren Holm Hvilsby and Pernille Skov, Lasse Lau, Dan Perjovschi, Recetas Urbanas, Katrin Sigurdardottir, Michael Smith and Joshua White, Lars Vilks

Download text on Lars Vilks
Download text on Albert Heta
Download text on Jens Haaning

Land Grab brochure

download exhibition brochure
download press release

Time Out NY review
The New York Times review

Join the curators and artists for one or several public programs:

Friday, November 9, 6:30 pm
Artist Talk with Lars Vilks at apexart

Sunday, November 11, 1:00 pm
Visit to Benchmark with John Hawke
departure from apexart
The artist gives an on-site talk about his intervention in a bus shelter in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

Thursday, November 29, 2-6 pm
"Strategies of Occupation: Grabbing Land and The Political Agency of The Artist"
Join the curators for a Public Workshop at Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School, New York: 66 West 12th Street, #510

Friday, November 30, 6:30 pm
Artist Talk with Jens Haaning and Amy Balkin at apexart

An online counterpart to the exhibition, the Web site features a selection of works drawn from submissions by artists working within the domain of claiming land. Landgrabonline.org is created in collaboration with the participatory art platform Wooloo.org.


As real estate prices have skyrocketed throughout cities of the world, it has become increasingly difficult to sustain a place. Some artists' responses to this situation mirror those of many practitioners in the sixties and seventies who moved to the margins to seek out an abandoned or still undeveloped site to live and work on an expanded scale. By contrast, no piece in LAND GRAB has involved a real estate transaction or finding that prime location. Instead, the show brings together a range of actions, including semiotic redesignation, under-the-radar alteration, parasitical squatting, dissident occupation and fantasized ownership. Every exhibited practice draws attention to the specificities of the relationship between art and the ground on which it is conceived and perceived. As the works reveal, this is by no means an imminent relation of groundedness; the pieces do not simply belong. Although each piece is transposed on a specific place, this relation is often one that is characterized more by contradiction and conflict than by a "natural," and nostalgic, sense of home. Each affiliation of artwork to site (figure to ground) is not just a matter of object placement. The pieces all implicitly question the connection of the human subject to a specific location, in turn demonstrating that there are no "objective" places, only relationships to them. Produced under an enduring condition of an inflated real estate market, disappearing affordable housing, increasing mobility and forced displacement, as well as a global homogenization of built space, the pieces all exhibit an urgency of maintaining a position and space from which to live and work. However, as the artworks suggest, claiming a place of one's own does not solve the problem of modern (and spatial) alienation. Every act of taking inevitably involves the displacement of something/someone else, and that piece of ground will never cease to conjure specters of past inhabitations.


Lillian Fellmann is a curator and culture critic. Sarah Lookofsky is a critic and curator living in New York.

This exhibition is supported in part by the Nordic Culture Fund and the Danish Arts Council.

apexart’s exhibitions and public programs are supported in part by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts.