Buffalo, NY – Today the Albright-Knox announced that Swoon, a notable New York City–based artist who emerged from the street scene in the early 2000s to establish herself as one of the most thought-provoking artists working today, will be the next featured artist at Albright-Knox Northland. Her exhibition, Seven Contemplations, will be on view from September 26, 2020, to January 10, 2021.
Albright-Knox Northland will remain closed through September 25, as the planned exhibition for summer 2020 was postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The museum will monitor developments and continue gathering information on the status of the pandemic and its potential impact on the reopening date, and will share updates on its website and on social media.
Caledonia Curry, known to her friends as Callie and to the art world as Swoon, will create an open and meditative environment at Albright-Knox Northland through her installation of sculptural objects, collages, installations, and the presentation of her first-ever animation work.
The exhibition space will feature several iconic artworks from Swoon’s career including Thalassa, one of her most recognizable works. It was originally commissioned by the New Orleans Museum of Art in 2011 and was inspired by the primeval Greek goddess of the sea who, in Swoon’s depiction, rises triumphantly from the water to declare her dominion. At the time Thalassa was created, the artist was inspired and horrified by the disaster of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. She created this work as a way to encourage viewers to consider their relationships to elements greater than themselves and the implications of human hubris in the face of natural forces. Throughout Curry’s career, her art and activism have manifested through her belief that often the only way to move through something is to make work on the subject. Installation works including Medea and Temple will complement the presentation of Thalassa. The artist will also present Cicada, her first stop-animation video work. All of these works deal with the notion of healing from trauma at the individual and community level.
The space will further be filled with wall installations that will include multimedia collages, drawings, and paintings. Space for reading, meditation, and contemplation will be carved out for visitors to utilize and to provide a location for programs and events within the exhibition. The artist is interested in working with wellness and mental health providers to support efforts to alleviate stress in our community and work towards healing from trauma. Each of the seven “contemplations” that guide the exhibition—including mediations on the primordial self, birth and death, fear and suffering, transformation and healing, and grace and forgiveness—is accompanied by a work of art.
The artist imagines that viewers may explore the exhibition without ever participating in or even being directly aware of the central themes, yet still enjoy a full experience. Curry’s work is beautiful, intricate, and dense, but also often deals with challenging subjects. In Curry’s early career as a street artist beginning in the early 2000s, she presented work primarily through the act of wheat-pasting portraits of her family and friends. As she began to discover that these simple gestures resonated with the public in ways she could not have predicted or intended, Curry began to embrace larger works with more specific themes.
Now, much of Curry’s production deals directly with her personal healing journey, but her work allows space for viewers to sit, interpret it, and internalize how they may heal from their own personal traumas. Increasingly, Curry is interested in healing collective traumas felt by communities ravaged by addiction, mental illness, or economic disparities. With a global pandemic still unfolding and with ongoing worldwide protests over racial inequality, this exhibition is intended to be a place where our individual and collective traumas can be thoughtfully addressed in a manner that encourages healing for all.
Albright-Knox Northland is generously supported by M&T Bank.