Winter 2014 Offerings at VCUarts Anderson Gallery

RICHMOND, VA- Opening in January at the Anderson Gallery, exhibitions by two artists examine urban transformation and the experience of place. In A Haunted Capital, photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier explores the effects of deindustrialization on the lives of individuals and communities from an intensely personal and socially activist stance, grounded in the particulars of locale. Ester Partegàs, on the other hand, approaches these themes from a conceptual point of view. Viewing the city as a provisional and packaged phenomenon, she interrogates the certainty and singularity of the urban spaces we occupy in You Are Here. Both exhibitions will open with a free public reception on Friday, January 17, from 5-7 pm and will remain on view through March 9.

Additionally, Sponge, a project by artist Hope Ginsburg housed on the Gallery’s third floor, will offer visitors the opportunity to see student work on January 17.  Twelve Five, a night of performances and other activities by students from the Ginsburg-led Fall 2013 course Live Art Workshop, will be ongoing from 5-7 pm.

The public is also invited to attend two related programs. A Conversation with LaToya Ruby Frazier and Dean Daderko, curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, will take place on Thursday, January 16, at 5:30 pm at the Grace Street Theater, located at 934 West Grace Street. The program is cosponsored by the VCUarts Department of Photography and Film. Ester Partegàs will give a gallery talk on Wednesday evening, January 29; refreshments will be offered at 5 pm, followed by the program at 5:30 pm. Both events are free.

LaToya Ruby Frazier: A Haunted Capital

Combining elements of portraiture and social documentary, Frazier’s photographs and videos portray her family and her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania, a working-class suburb of Pittsburgh. The site of Andrew Carnegie’s first steel mill, Braddock is one of many Rust Belt communities decimated by the rise of deindustrialization and the relocation of manufacturing oversees. Frazier’s portrayal of this American landscape is in stark contrast to images from a recent corporate ad campaign set in Braddock, which she felt not only erased the troubled realities of her endangered town but also excluded the community to which her family belongs.

As Frazier focuses her lens on her grandmother, her mother, and herself, collaboratively addressing issues of self-representation, she illuminates how personal and community history intertwine. Each generation of her family represents a different period in Braddock’s evolution, from its early twentieth-century prosperity to its steep decline in the wake of governmental abandonment. Braddock’s few remaining inhabitants, many of them African American, now struggle economically with little access to health care. Though intimate in scope, Frazier’s images powerfully draw attention to larger social issues pertaining to class and the environment. Among a number of other recent exhibitions, Frazier’s work was featured in the 2012 Whitney Biennial, Greater New York at P.S.1 MoMA in 2010, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art’s Younger  Than Jesus triennial of 2009. She is Associate Curator for the Mason Gross Galleries at Rutgers University and Critic in Photography at the Yale School of Art.

LaToya Ruby Frazier: A Haunted Capital is organized by the Brooklyn Museum.

Ester Partegàs: You Are Here

Ester Partegàs often addresses the most banal aspects of the urban landscape with a keen eye for telling details that otherwise would be overlooked or dismissed. She focuses especially on the psychological dimensions of indeterminate spaces, reflecting not only on how their anonymity can unmoor us, but also on the sense of possibility that can arise when considering anew the commonplace and discarded.

At the Anderson Gallery, in an exhibition organized by Director Ashley Kistler, Partegàs uses the format of a wrap-around installation, as she has previously, to situate the viewer in the kind of no-man’s-land that infiltrates the contemporary landscape to an ever greater degree. Black-and-white wallpaper encircling the gallery depicts a weed-choked expanse of a boarded-up structure—perhaps the wall of a former factory, now long abandoned.  This imagery reflects Partegàs’s longstanding fascination with borderlines and margins and the potential for transformation they represent, “where one thing is starting to become something else,” she notes.

The visual allure of several large-scale color photo-transparencies, illuminated in light boxes, offers a striking contrast to the surrounding backdrop. Upon closer inspection, these scenes of nature and freshly minted urban views reveal glitches—a rip, a fold, or a slice of background or foreground—indicative of their actual point of origin. Twice removed from reality, Partegàs’s photographs document images appearing on vinyl barriers around construction sites, as well as a point where the fictional subsumes any trace of the real. In You Are Here, her layering of image and space calls into question the meaning and certitude of this familiar phrase, challenging us to reexamine how we understand the world and our place within it.

Originally from La Garriga, Barcelona, Ester Partegàs is Assistant Professor in the VCU Department of Sculpture + Extended Media, where she began teaching in 2011. A new artist book will accompany her exhibition:  You Are Here designed by Alex Gifreu + Ester Partegàs, published by CRU, Figueres and Barcelona, Spain; hardcover, 80 pages, price TBA.

Ester Partegàs: You Are Here is made possible in part by generous support from Keith Fabry Reprographic
Solutions, Richmond.

GALLERY HOURS:  Tuesday-Friday, 10-5; Saturday & Sunday, noon-5; closed Monday.

The Anderson Gallery is the exhibition facility for VCU’s top-ranked School of the Arts,
located at 907½ West Franklin Street, in Richmond, Virginia, on the university’s Monroe Park Campus.

For more information and directions, please visit our website:

For a PDF of the press release, click here.

Image: LaToya Ruby Frazier, Momme Portrait Series (Shadow), 2008; gelatin silver photograph, 15½ x 19½ in. Brooklyn Museum, Emily Winthrop Miles Fund, 2011.63.2. © LaToya Ruby Frazier. Photo by LaToya Ruby Frazier.


VCUarts Anderson Gallery 2013 Fall Exhibitions

The fall season brings an array of exhibitions to the Anderson Gallery representing diverse approaches to material, form, and content. Visitors will encounter works on paper by the groundbreaking artist and anti-war activist Nancy Spero, and new works by two VCUarts faculty members—Bohyun Yoon, a newly appointed professor in the glass program of the Craft/Material Studies Department, and Hilary Wilder, an associate professor in the Painting + Printmaking Department. The Gallery will also screen an international selection of videos by 35 artists that reinforces the far-reaching importance of this medium around the globe.

All exhibitions will open on Friday evening, September 6, from 5-7 pm, with a free public reception. They continue through December 8.



Nancy Spero
The Underworld, 1997
Handprinting and printed collage on paper
63 x 19 inches (160 x 48.3 cm)
© Estate of Nancy Spero. Licensed by VAGA, New York. Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York

One of the first opportunities in the U.S. to revisit Spero’s work since her death in 2009, this exhibition features two dozen rarely seen collages from the 1980s and 90s. These works reveal the artist’s innovative approach to printmaking in scroll-like expanses of paper, as well as her lifelong engagement with contemporary political, social, and cultural issues.

Spero decided to make women the sole subject of her artwork from 1976 onwards, drawing from different cultures, histories, and mythologies to create a heterodox pantheon of female archetypes. During the period addressed here, she continued to pay special attention to women as victims of war, furthering the investigation she began so powerfully in her War Series (1966-1970). In one group of works, she unflinchingly probes the torments resulting from oppressive regimes in Argentina, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and South Africa. Spero’s work from the 1990s, however, acquires a greater sense of agency and optimism as she removed her figures from historical contexts of suffering and subordination, transforming them into resilient, celebratory protagonists through color, rhythm, and humor.

Special thanks to Mary Sabbatino and the staff of Galerie Lelong for their generous assistance.


Bohyun Yoon: Neighbors

Bohyun Yoon uses the special properties of glass and the play of light and shadow to create installation, sound, and video works that often incorporate performance and the body. His fascination with cultural diversity, sparked by his 2001 move to the US from Korea and Japan, gave rise to Neighbors. Silkscreened onto individual glass panels, the 150 portraits that populate the installation depict individuals in the artist’s former Philadelphia community. Here, Yoon reinforces such formal aspects of his medium as transparency, refraction, distortion, and reflection, as he also seeks to evoke a deeper sense of human connection that supersedes physical, political, and social distinctions.

Project 35: Volume 2

This exhibition presents an eclectic compilation of 35 works, selected by an international group of 35 curators, exploring video as a contemporary art medium. The series will be presented in four parts, changing every three weeks, with eight or nine videos featured in each installment. Individual works range in length from two to 26 minutes.

The videos presented in this volume, produced between 2001 and 2012, explore such wide-ranging topics as protests in South Africa, youth culture in Ho Chi Minh City, news broadcasts in China, and street crime in Bogotá. Recurrent themes focus on memory and change, performance and documentation, fiction and history, and notions of place and identity, as well as the power of images and the role of the media in shaping collective experience. The series also explores the diverse approaches used by video artists, including documentary, YouTube, and digital animation.

Screening Schedule: Part I, September 7-29 / Part II, October 1-20 / Part III, October 22-November 10 /Part IV, November 12-December 8


Hilary Wilder in the Cool Spot Lounge

In an occasional series that features new, often site-responsive works by VCUarts faculty, Hilary Wilder will unveil a large-scale painting created for our gallery lounge. With this project, she continues to investigate the role of place, memory, and desire through the genre of landscape.

While Wilder’s spectacularly rendered, apocalyptic landscape imagery alludes to familiar, often picturesque visual languages, particularly the Romantic depictions of nature painted by Caspar David Friedrich, J.M.W. Turner, and the Hudson River School artists, she also remains skeptical of the romantic ideals they exalted in their sublime visions of an untamed America. By applying her own considerable arsenal of “painter’s tricks,” she brings into sharp relief the tension between fact and fiction, order and disorder, stability and chaos, and the real and the ideal that shapes human experience.

Project 35: Volume 2 is a traveling exhibition produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. The exhibition is made possible, in part, by grants from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Cowles Charitable Trust, Foundation for Contemporary Art, 

The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation; the ICI Board of Trustees; and donors to ICI’s Access Fund.



GALLERY HOURS: Tuesday-Friday 10-5, Saturday & Sunday noon-5, closed Monday


The Anderson Gallery is the exhibition facility for VCU’s top-ranked School of the Arts,

located at 9071⁄2 West Franklin Street, in Richmond, Virginia,

on the university’s Monroe Park Campus.


For more information and directions, please visit our website:

Sculptors Provocatively Transform Materials and Objects in New Anderson Gallery Show

RICHMOND, VA- Works by ten sculptors—both veterans and relative newcomers to the international art scene—will be featured in the Anderson Gallery’s winter exhibition, you, your sun and shadow. The exhibition is curated by Michael Jones McKean, a professor in the Department of Sculpture + Extended Media, and organized by the Anderson Gallery at the VCU School of the Arts. “This project offers a singular opportunity to explore a significant aspect of contemporary sculpture from the personal perspective of an artist who is himself highly regarded as an innovator in the field,” says Director Ashley Kistler. The public is invited to attend an opening reception on Friday, January 20, from 6 until 8 p.m. Also free and open to the public, McKean will give a gallery talk on Wednesday, January 25, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Participating artists include Hany Armanious (Sydney, Australia), Rashid Johnson (New York, NY), Pam Lins (Brooklyn, NY), Tony Matelli (New York, NY), Ian Pedigo (New York, NY), Dario Robleto (San Antonio, TX), Haim Steinbach (Brooklyn, NY and San Diego, CA), Sarah Sze (New York, NY), Tatiana Trouvé (Paris, France), and Daniel Turner (New York, NY). Their sculptures and installations underscore the poetic potential of objects, materials, and modes of arrangement, while conjuring the possibility of larger narrative and metaphorical structures. As McKean conceived it, “The exhibition is a sustained attempt to create a space where straightforward logic doesn’t always win, where simple moments can seem pronounced and exquisite, and where the discovery of meaning depends upon our speculative engagement.”

The investigation of materiality—often paired with a hypersensitive regard for everyday objects—is a central concern of each artist in the show, which includes highly technical approaches as well as the most basic means of delineating space and making marks. In the latter camp, Ian Pedigo handles discarded materials with a directness that preserves their humble character, while coaxing from them visual subtleties that map space in simple but evocative ways. Using steel wool as a painterly tool, Daniel Turner works on site to make wall rubbings whose discreet, seemingly accidental presence belies their intentionality.

Elsewhere in the exhibition, the alchemical transformation of materials again reminds us that appearances can be deceiving. The rarefied ingredients that Dario Robleto assembles to create his work are as important as the final outcome. Often resembling castoff objects, artifacts, or keepsakes, his painstakingly crafted sculptures are symbolically loaded by virtue of their material composition. Through the millennia-old technique of casting, Hany Armanious mines the arcane power, formal possibilities, and conceptual implications of meticulously reproducing everyday objects, elevating both their status in the world and their presence in our minds. Similarly, two works by Tony Matelli, characterized by random marks, grimy smudges, and dusty surfaces, appear to be nothing more than neglected mirrors, while his life-sized figure, floating just inches above the floor in a fugue-like state, offers a hyper-real encounter that reaffirms the sculptor’s sleight of hand.
Other artists address materiality in terms of their selection, arrangement, and display of preexisting objects. Haim Steinbach, an early and especially influential proponent of this approach, is represented by two of his shelf works. In his alter-like assemblages, Rashid Johnson arranges culturally resonant objects to create a personal vocabulary of symbols and references. Sarah Sze, well known for expansive installations engineered with the most quotidian items, goes one step further, casting in plaster all the recyclable containers from a month of lunches and snacks. These nearly 400 simple white forms infiltrate the Anderson Gallery’s work space, their ghostly presence blurring the edge between art and life.

Tatiana Trouvé’s precisely scaled architectural installation reinforces the quiet, sometimes pensive tone that runs through much of the exhibition, as well as the importance of the viewer’s participation in deciphering a narrative. Viewed from opposing sides through large panes of greenish glass, an otherwise inaccessible room contains a mysterious assortment of found and made objects, gestural marks, small doors, and private spaces. Pam Lins also plays with perspective and shifting points of view in her endlessly inventive iterations of the plywood pedestal, each of which changes in appearance, revealing paradoxical characteristics, as the viewer moves around the sculpture.

The exhibition will continue through Sunday, March 11. The Anderson Gallery is located at 907½ West Franklin Street, on VCU’s Monroe Park campus. It is open to the public Tuesday through Friday 10 am-5 pm, and Saturday and Sunday noon-5 pm, and closed on Sunday.