ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. Lost and Found City is an exhibition project, curated by 10 graduate students in their first year of study in curatorial studies and contemporary culture at CCS Bard. The project examines the intersection of private and public settings, as well as the metaphorical "owning" of locations based upon personal events. A initial component takes place at Cuchifritos from January 27 to February 3, followed by the opening of the exhibition at Storefront for Art and Architecture on Saturday, March 3, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in New York City. Lost and Found City continues on view at Storefront through Saturday, March 24. There will be also be a performance at Orchard in early March (date to be announced).
For this exhibition project, emphasis is placed upon phenomena within areas of New York City, such as Nolita and the Lower East Side. The individual exhibition components occur at different times and locations, including at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, Cuchifritos (next to Essex Street Market), and Orchard. Exhibition participants reflect a diversity of artistic and cultural practices, including fictional, autobiographical, analytical, politically/socially engaged, poetic, and psychogeographic responses to urban life.
The initial component of the project is a one-week presentation of Lara Favaretto's suitcase object at Cuchifritos from Saturday, January 27, through Saturday, February 3. The contents of this suitcase remain unknown, suggesting a presence at once familiar and threateninga magical-realist everyday object, seemingly abandoned in the space.
Favaretto's work then migrates to the Storefront for Art and Architecture on March 3, where it is recontextualized with the works of other exhibition participants. The Storefront show is composed of a number of newly commissioned and modified works that reactivate the space, including recorded olfactory tours of the urban environment created by Caitlin Berrigan and Michael McBean, designed for visitors to remap and renavigate Nolita and the Lower East Side; architectural/urban investigations and pedagogical projects of CUP (Center for Urban Pedagogy); Jonah Freeman's imaginary megabuilding as city; a new outdoor urban projection/intervention by LURE (Aaron Igler plus collaborators); Mark Koven's real-time, live-feed interactive/participatory work that explores history, geography, and the claim of territory; Mads Lynnerup's performative-video infiltrations of other people's navigations of the neighborhood's streets; Jill Magid's performance about her metaphorical seduction of a New York City police officer in the subterranean environs of the subway system; Costa Vece's flags made of a bricolage of discarded clothing that contest national/local identities; and Stephen Vitiello's sound installation that creates a provocative interpenetration of city and nature.
Through this careful mixing of art practices, the curators desire to generate a dialogue that animates questions of urbanism with a new grammar, encapsulating the intersections between private and public domain, the personal and the political, and social engagement and poetic disengagement, all of which constitute the complex territory of any city.
Lost and Found City proposes to examine the relationship between the private urban narratives that we invent and the constant flux of the city at large. Where do history and memory intersect? How does subjectivity map itself onto community? The project seeks to connect the urban present to the past, articulating cycles of dispossession and reclamation within city space. This pattern is symbolic of the city's continuous losing and finding of itself, including its citizens' gains and losses in relation to the cultural, economic, and political systems of a particular metropolis. The New York urban environment, for example, is characterized by an accelerating privatization of public space, as well as by gentrification and development that perpetrate an antihistorical and impersonal experience of neighborhoods. Lost and Found City proposes that there is a continuous oscillation of loss and gain within urban flux, and is a dramatic interplay between winners and losers in terms of power: political, economic, and subjective. That which is lost is usually reactivated and repurposed within urban space, for better and worse.
Lost and Found City is curated by: Lauren Benanti, Daniel Byers, Vincenzo de Bellis, Anat Ebgi, Edith Tyler Emerson, Milena Hoegsberg, Sabrina Locks, Nicole Pollentier, Terri Smith, and Niko Vicario. The graduate students, in their first year at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, developed the exhibition within their first-year practicum, supervised by Joshua Decter, an independent curator and CCS faculty member.