Parafacts & Parafictions: Helguera, and Blachly & Shaw

Parafacts & Parafictions: Helguera, and Blachly & Shaw

The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts

Photograph from the archives of The Temporary Museum of Vaseline in Perth Amboy, 2010, courtesy Jimbo Blachly and Lytle Shaw

February 7, 2010

Parafacts & Parafictions: Helguera, and Blachly & Shaw
Wednesday, February 10, 6:30- 8 pm

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Companion, on view through March 13, 2010

EFA Project Space
A Program of the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts

323 West 39th St, 2nd Floor, New York, NY
Gallery hours: Wed- Sat, 12-6
212-563-5855 |

‘Parafacts and Parafictions: Helguera, and Blachly & Shaw’ is an evening of performance-presentations organized in conjunction with the exhibition Companion, curated by REV- and currently on view at EFA Project Space. Pablo Helguera and Jimbo Blachly & Lytle Shaw will enact live components to their projects included in Companion, followed by a Q & A session moderated by Marisa Jahn, artist and exhibition curator.

Art historian Carrie Lambert-Beatty offers a definition of the term ‘parafiction’, a term used to describe an emergent genre of artwork that plays in the overlap between fact and fiction: “Like a paramedic as opposed to a medical doctor, a parafiction is related to but not quite a member of the category of fiction as established in literature and drama. It remains a bit outside. It does not perform its procedures in the hygienic clinics of literature, but has one foot in the field of the real.” If a ‘parafiction’ operates in that space between fictional and real, alongside this term we might position a second: a ‘parafact’—an artwork that more stringently draws from the real—but a ‘real’ whose narrative is so curious, exquisite, or implausible so as to call into question its own veracity. Pablo Helguera, and Jimbo Blachly & Lytle Shaw‘s performance-presentations engage both of these tacts. In so doing, the artists raise questions about the function of truth and fiction—its bearing on knowledge, ethics, or aesthetic transformation.

Description of the Works
The Temporary Museum of Vaseline in Perth Amboy is the latest iteration of J. Blachly and Lytle Shaw‘s ongoing research into the cast of characters known as the ‘Chadwick family.’ While following up leads about missing Chadwick family relics in the New Jersey city, the duo instead stumbled upon the possibility of naturally occurring Vaseline springs in the region.

Pablo Helguera‘s What in the World replicates a popular television show from the 1950′s in which artifacts were presented to a team of archaeologists, artists, and aficionados to decipher. Adapting the show’s theatrical conventions for a You Tube generation, Helguera departs from the objects to focus on the eccentric museum staff, positioning the institution itself as the subject of the ethnographic inquiry.

For more information on this event, visit

Companion is an exhibition of artworks contextualized with the source that influenced their creation. Using the EFA Studios Program as a curatorial foundation, Companion culls together cultural projects that draw inspiration from references mined from history, culture, and science.

Projects by: Tom Bogaert, Cui Fei, J. Blachly & Lytle Shaw, Pablo Helguera, Sarah Oppenheimer with Edward Stanley, Karina Skvirsky, Yuken Teruya, Saya Woolfalk with Rachel Lears, plus special screening of Margaret Mead & Gregory Bateson’s ‘Bathing Babies in Three Cultures’ (1951)
Curated by: Marisa Jahn for REV-
On view through March 13, 2010

For more information on this exhibition, please visit

EFA Project Space
A program of The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, EFA Project Space is a multi-disciplinary arts venue that encourages creative expression and new interactions in the arts. By collaborating with organizations and individuals to present a variety of programs including exhibitions, performances, screenings, workshops, and conversations, EFA Project Space generates an ongoing dialogue about the creative process. EFA Project Space is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Private funding for the program has been received from The Lily Auchincloss Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation Inc. and numerous individuals.

REV- Founded by Marisa Jahn, Stephanie Rothenberg, and Rachel McIntire, REV- is a non-profit organization that furthers socially-engaged art, design, and pedagogy. REV- produces projects that fuse disciplines, foster diversity, and vary in form (workshops, publications, exhibitions, design objects, etc.). Engaged with different communities and groups, REV-’s projects involve collaborative production, resource-sharing, and a commitment to the process as political gesture. The organization derives its name from both the colloquial expression “to rev” a vehicle and the prefix “rev-” which means to turn—as in, revolver, revolution, revolt, revere, irreverent, etc.

*Lambert-Beatty, Carrie. “Make Believe: Parafiction and Plausibility.” October Magazine. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009. p. 54.

EFA Project Space

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The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts
February 7, 2010

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