The Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, in partnership with the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, is pleased to announce the opening of Identity Declassified: Consumerism, Security & Sexuality, the schools’ first joint exhibition of the 2008-09 season.
Curated by Steinhardt Professor Ann Chwatsky, with curatorial assistance by Frank Crescioni-Santoni and the Gallery Space at Wagner Committee, the group show features photography and digital-media projects by Steinhardt-affiliated artists Donna Clovis, Mindy Katzman, and I-Hua Lee.
The exhibition runs through Nov. 3, 2008. The Gallery Space at Wagner is located on the 2nd floor of the Puck Building, 295 Lafayette Street (@ Houston Street). Viewing hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m, and Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
With their provocative and intriguing images, Clovis, Katzman, and Lee formulate and explore questions of identity within a contemporary framework and from three distinct thematic contexts. Branding and consumerism, self-definition under surveillance, and gender-based deconstructs, all emerge as central themes in this collaborative endeavor. Each project reflects the way in which the artist analyzes, challenges and problematizes the concept of self-identity in today’s society.
In Donna Clovis’ Tribute to Warhol , the viewer interacts with a consumer identity codification chart in order to incite a dialogue between the consumer and the consumed. The art work is an audio-visual digital interface that references Andy Warhol and his iconic imagery. With the bar codes and pictures that fill an interactive screen, Clovis critically comments on our collective appetite for consumption and brand-making and on the omnipresence of these symbols in our everyday lives.
By resorting to surveillance devises to capture and produce romantic, otherworldly self-portraits, Mindy Katzman’s ID series seeks to undermine the projected third eye of our securitized society. Her security-camera mug shots-originally intended to prove identity and evaluate risk potential-are manipulated to render highly pixilated images of mystical candor. By altering both their function and appearance, the artist transforms them from agents of monitoring and control into contradictors of regulated scrutiny. Resisting containment within realigned post 9/11 boundaries, Katzman has created a collection of images with a personal and unique aura that seeks to counteract our society’s impulse to specify and classify.
As a visual artist, I-Hua Lee engages body issues, gender roles and performance into an interdisciplinary art practice. This involves creating theatrical stages, which include body casts, arranged feminine dresses, cross-dressed costumes, exaggerated backdrops, bodily expressions and performances. To varying degrees, she incorporates all these elements into her predominantly black and white photographic display. Through the discourse between a female body and the gaze of the outside world, the artist aspires to challenge the symbolic system governed by dominant forms and to create a new way for women to be represented.
Donna Clovis is a photographer, performance artist and journalist. An MA graduate from NYU Steinhardt’s Studio Art Program, she is currently a Fine Arts doctoral student and faculty member at Columbia University. She has performed and exhibited work in such venues as the Museum of Fine Art in Havana, Cuba, the U.S. Holocaust Museum of Washington, DC, and the Museum of the City of New York. The recipient of multiple writing and art awards, Clovis received a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing and has won the NYU Jack Goodman Award for Art and Technology.
Mindy Katzman is currently enrolled in the Art in Media MA program at NYU Steinhardt and works as a photo editor in photojournalism and editorial photography. Her artwork has been featured at NYU’s Washington Square East Galleries and Barney Building, as well as The Center for Photography in Woodstock, NY, and the Ise Cultural Foundation in New York City.
I-Hua Lee is as a photographer and graphic designer and currently works as an Assistant Project Manager at the New York City Fire Museum. She has exhibited her work at NYU’s Washington Square East and Barney Building galleries and has participated in numerous exhibitions in Taiwan, Shanghai and New York City. Lee earned a BA in Chinese Literature from the National Tsing Hua University and an MA in Studio Art from NYU Steinhardt.