Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University presents Michael Ashkin

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University presents Michael Ashkin

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University

Michael Ashkin
American, born 1955
(Long Branch), 2002-10
Digital print
Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Erna Hécey, Brussels
April 20, 2010
Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University presents Michael Ashkin

April 3 – July 11, 2010

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art,
Cornell University

Ithaca, NY 14853
607 255-6464
Tuesdays–Sundays, 10 am–5 pm
Free admission


Michael AshkinUntitled (where each new sunrise promises only the continuation of yesterday)…

The photographic series (Long Branch) (2002–10) addresses territorial issues more directly. Ten digital prints seem to document the New Jersey beach neighborhood embroiled in eminent-domain issues for over a decade. But upon closer inspection, interventions become apparent: by either cutting negatives or pairing askewed views, Ashkin has produced a series of images that do not allow for a stable viewing position. The many layers of information in this conflict are further expressed in a printed piece combining the photographs with quotes from online, real estate brochures, and newspaper articles, with writings by the artist as yet another voice among many.

The video Here (2009), a gallery installation, combines the grainy, flickering image of an empty room with a voiceover by the artist about an unnamed desert. Filmed at a decommissioned military depot in upstate New York, Here lacks temporal and spatial coordinates, making it a virtual extension of the sculptural installation. Projected onto the façade of the Museum, the video Centralia (2009) takes its name from a central Pennsylvania mining town, where coal deposits have been burning since 1962, causing major environmental problems. Ashkin directs our attention to an ongoing mining operation nearby, emphasizing layers of disappearance and absence in the process of history.

Alongside two of his well-known miniature scale models from the 1990s depicting marginalized landscapes is Ashkin’s most recent project, Wall (Western Sahara) (2010), a wall-mounted frieze-like piece that uses aerial abstractions based on images from Google Earth of the Moroccan Wall. While this immense structure is already abstracted through its representation online, Ashkin adds another layer of alienation by presenting a fragment of the actual 865-foot piece.

Ashkin’s work has been shown widely, including in Documenta 11 in 2002 and the Whitney Biennial in 1997. Recently it was the subject of a solo show at Secession in Vienna and the Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina. In 2009, Ashkin received a fellowship from the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. This year, his work will be included in shows in Stuttgart, Valencia, and Bludenz.

The artist texts in the show are available on http://www.michaelashkin.com

The exhibition was curated by Andrea Inselmann, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Johnson Museum.

The exhibition was supported by a grant from the Cornell Council for the Arts.

Art for Lunch: Michael Ashkin
Thursday, April 22, 12:00–1:00 pm, at the Johnson Museum
Cornell visiting lecturer Anthony Graves, who contributed the essay on Ashkin to the recent Secession catalogue, will lead a free public tour of the exhibition.

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art
The Johnson Museum has a permanent collection of over 30,000 works of art from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America. The museum building was designed by I. M. Pei and opened in 1973, funded by Cornell alumnus Herbert F. Johnson, late president and chairman of S C Johnson.

Press contact: Andrea Potochniak, [email protected]

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April 20, 2010

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