The Institute of Fine Arts at New York University today announced that sculptor Martha Friedman’s Some Hags will be the inaugural exhibition in its new Great Hall series, which will focus exclusively on the practices of women artists. Some Hags will open Wednesday, October 19, accompanied by a panel discussion with Nancy Worman and Jamieson Webster, and will run through December 1, 2016. The exhibition is free and open to the public.
Friedman's exhibition is the first of an ambitious new series of solo shows hosted in the Great Hall of the Institute's Duke House. Accompanying Freidman’s exhibition will be a series of free public programs featuring notable thinkers from New York’s art community and beyond, including MacArthur Award-winning choreographer Susan Marshall and sound artist C. Spencer Yeh (see full program below).
For Some Hags, Friedman has orchestrated a site-specific installation that responds to the sixteenth-century Flemish tapestry hanging in the building’s grand staircase. Her response takes the form of three metal and rubber sculptures that allude to the female body in various states of use, and are a reflection of her ongoing exploration of industrial objects, modernity, and the female body.
“The tapestry depicts a scene from The Odyssey where Odysseus uses a sword to threaten the sorceress Circe, who has just used her magic book to turn his men into boars,” said Friedman. “I’m intrigued by how contemporary this five-hundred-year-old weaving feels in the way it tackles issues of gender and power.”
The show’s title, Some Hags, refers not only to “the three steel and rubber ‘bodies’” that will occupy the hall, but also critiques the negative perception of forceful women throughout history. Friedman, a Brooklyn-based artist who is also an assistant professor of sculpture at Princeton University, collaborated with IFA students, and writer Jeff Dolven, to produce a series of innovative programs to accompany the exhibition:
On Wednesday, October 19, at 6 p.m., the exhibition’s opening reception will include a panel discussion about the works on display; NYU professor Thomas Crow will moderate. The exhibition and associated programming is sponsored by The Barnard Center for Research on Women, Princeton University, and Valeria Napoleone. RSVP is required.
On Wednesday, November 16, at 6 p.m., Susan Marshall & Company will perform the world premiere of their newest dance piece Two Person Operating System, which will activate one of the sculptures featured in the exhibition. This work, which grew out of a collaborative concept developed by Friedman and Marshall, is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.
On December 1, a concert in the Great Hall will feature sound artist C. Spencer Yeh debuting an original sound score in response to electronic music pioneer Milton Babbit’s Homer-influenced composition, Philomel.
Since 1931, the Institute of Fine Arts has been dedicated to graduate teaching and advanced research in the history of art, archaeology, and conservation. This tradition was enhanced in 2013 when the Institute inaugurated its student-led Great Hall Exhibition program, revealing the potential of the Duke House’s beaux-arts interior as a venue for contemporary art. Acclaimed artists Lynda Benglis, Rachel Harrison, Felix González-Torres, Marta Chilindrón, Walead Beshty, and Charles Simonds are amongst the artists featured to date.
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October 19, 6 p.m. - Opening and panel discussion featuring Dr. Nancy Worman
The Institute will host a panel discussion to consider the ways in which Friedman’s work responds to and dialogues with the Circe tapestry. The esteemed panelists will each draw from their own area of expertise to contemplate the various renderings of the female figure through history, ranging from classical Greek literature through the Renaissance and ending with contemporary portrayals.
November 16, 6 p.m. - Performance by Susan Marshall & Company followed by a panel discussion
Susan Marshall & Company will perform the world premiere of the their newest dance piece, Two Person Operating System. The work activates one of Martha Friedman's sculptures featured in the 2016 Fall Great Hall Exhibition. The dancers pay careful attention to speed, force, and precision, while navigating dangerously sharp edges in Friedman’s creation. The sculpture and dance grew out of a collaborative concept developed by Friedman and choreographer Susan Marshall. This collaborative piece was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.
December 1 - Concert with C. Spencer Yeh, followed by a panel discussion
Innovative artist and musician C. Spencer Yeh will premier a new piece of music based on Milton Babbit's groundbreaking electronic masterpiece, Philomel. Vocalist Liz Pearce will also perform Babbit's original piece. Both works draw inspiration from the myth of Philomel, who famously wove a tapestry to betray the identity of her rapist.
Martha Friedman was born in Detroit, MI and lives and works in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. She earned her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1998 and her MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2003. She has had solo exhibitions at Wallspace, New York (2012, 2009, 2007); the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, MI (2010); DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA (2010); Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago, IL (2010). Her work has been shown in numerous group exhibitions, nationally and internationally. Select examples include Frieze New York Sculpture Park, curated by Tom Eccles, New York (2013) and Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem, Israel (2013). Friedman is Assistant Professor of Sculpture at Princeton University. Friedman has an upcoming solo exhibition at the Henry Museum in 2018.