apexart :: Kerry James Marshall :: UNJUSTIFIED
curated by Kerry James Marshall

January 30 - March 2, 2002

291 Church St. New York, NY 10013

Artists: Edgar Arceneaux, Lynne Brown, Tim Fielder, Emily Jacir, Saeri Kiritani, Raj Kahlon, Carrie Moyer, Jane M. Saks, Kwabena Prentiss Slaughter and May Sun

download pdf of exhibition brochure

download pdf of press release


Proximity Once, naked on gray-skinned boulders in an Indian fishing village, dried scales sequin every curve of our bodies sealing all that we carry within. When I play the saxophone I try to make myself something boneless blown through the horn leaving the inside incandescent.

I am the middle of the day, in the middle of the story, in the middle. For years every week every time outside the hospital a half-dressed man sings. Like a lyric poem, between music and speech, ecstasy and mourning, he whispers, "This is a lucky day. I'm a lizard who blends into the grass." He is the color that never disappears. The absence leaves space for him to bend out across the street.

There is only the edge and everything on the verge of night, the dusk light crosses his legs, splits the sky like a sigh of relief. Whose identity couldn't be altered by the accelerated rate of invisibility, like dusk.

I leave sparklers, money, magazines under his tail each time. I think he is the one who tucks cut paper and wire balls between my car wheels.

This seems like an unplanned conversation or a metaphor that has the most to do with proximity affirming relationships and discrepancies, the necessity to participate. This is not a completed experiment. Neither perishable nor yielding shadows of consensus.

A long illness starts to dry up all talk of itself, like a long sentence, a long weather front. It grows past all imagination as a low voice disappears from sight, still holds everything, silent like a horizon, the sky still distant. I came with only what I knew to the treatments, a series of measured accidents. I penned poems across my stomach each time, words on the verge of silence - the brighter the source, the darker the darkness. After some time, sure I must glow from the inside - the poems back-lit projections marking the distance.

Each poem from the time before is memory, unfolded paper still tending toward the crease giving direction to the next words to migrate across my skin. On the other side, in the fresh morning, the ink washes through the shower drain, the color, which never quite disappears.

Perhaps as a child I would have written poems across the elm trunks before I was distracted by their disappearance and something else.

Each of us know of random moments when our life is held - two blocks from the destruction, the car swerves, the illness retreats, the war subsides outside the door.

I call my parents to say the body they made still breathes. Reaching home, the smell of rotting fruit is like the tentative light of summer being pulled into autumn. On my bed, I line them all up, like algebra: apple (lizard man), banana (saxophone), pomegranate (outrageous acts), pear (elm tree), fig (essential gesture).

Jane M. Saks


Press release
"I tell you, there is no reason for it! It's good stuff! Grant it, the struggle to capture and hold an audience's attention is difficult enough, going about it this way seems, well, I don't know....Maybe it is its own excuse. Everything in it was thoughtfully constructed. None of this work is hermetic though. Perhaps it will have broad appeal."

"Oh, really! It's not a question of what I have to say about it. What does it have to say for itself? Give me two good reasons why...maybe one. OK, well, I'll give you that... Yeah, I think it holds together."

The artworks we encounter are intelligible to us because their existence and function are filtered through the globalized aesthetic ideology of the west, and the formal matrix of the academy. The artists in this exhibition, though culturally diverse, are products of this system. A certain homogeneity results from this, which the topical theme reinforces by focusing inquiry around an over-arching subjectivity. This is the standard academic model. I want to set that aside for a moment. My curatorial strategy was to resist the implied justification for the array of works by not building the curatorial frame as a pre-interpretive device. Free radicals. The possibility of delivering a fascinating experience through the works these artists make, and affecting some surprising juxtapositions, is my aim.

With work by: Edgar Arceneaux, Lynne Brown, Tim Fielder, Emily Jacir, Saeri Kiritani, Raj Kahlon, Carrie Moyer, Jane Saks, Kwabena Prentiss Slaughter, and May Sun