236 Pender St East,
13 Oct 2023–10 Feb 2024
12 October, 2023
T. +1 604.683.7395
05 May–10 June 2000
Curated by: Anne Walsh (Guest Curator), Reid Shier (Director Curator)
Philosophy in the Bedroom
Michelle Lopez, Peter Schuyff, Marina Rosenfeld, Sandeep Mukherjee, Marnie Weber, Alex Slade
This is an exhibition whose fulcrum is two extravagant objects: Lit a la Polonaise, and Lit a la Turque, both 18th century French beds in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Neither will be exhibited at the Or, but they will serve as inspiration for the artworks on view; six young and emerging artists from New York City and Los Angeles have been invited to work with these beds as subject matter, raw material, or simply as a conceptual “jumping off point” in the creation of artworks made especially for this exhibition.
As part of the Or’s series of shows grounded in specific cities, this idea takes as its premise two objects that are permanent fixtures in Los Angeles, but historically and stylistically completely foreign to it. To viewer accustomed to seeing their own streets appropriated as movie sets, the very idea of a museum period room here is perhaps just a little bit funny – no more or less real or fabricated or stylistically consistent than anything else in this town. Beds like the Getty’s are virtually sets in themselves for whatever goes on inside/upon them, framing devices for sleep, sex, dreams, pain, death, childbirth, conversation. Empty beds are a little like artworks, they’re fields for vast psychic projections, albeit highly specific ones, ones that almost always include bodies.
The artists are selected based on an affinity between their own work and the spirit and meanings “embedded” in the Getty beds. Rich and complex ideas about craftsmanship, consumption, mannered but also regulated style, (the aesthetics of furniture and decoration in 18th c. France were highly codified, and of course social and sexual mores are suggested by these beds; the artists chosen to work with them are ones whose work all have a sensibility one might call “luxurious.” With the exception of Michelle Lopez, none are using particularly luxurious materials or processes, but the manner in which they conceive form and narrate desire manifests a certain grandeur.