June 9, 2008 - Americas Society - Melvin Charney
June 9, 2008

Melvin Charney

Melvin Charney, PARABLE SERIES …With Help, Gasoline, 1994. Image courtesy of the Amesbury Chalmers Collection.

Between Observation and Intervention:
The Painted photographs of Melvin Charney

680 Park Avenue at 68th Street
New York, NY 10065
T: 212.249.8950


Artist and architect Melvin Charney’s constructs “do not act as space-defying elements in the traditional modes,” says Phyllis Lambert, celebrated Canadian architect and philanthropist, exploring how Charney’s work intervenes in urban spaces. Rather, they play with our traditional understanding of space, revealing its conceptual underpinnings.

Over the last thirty years, Charney has investigated the overlap and the gulf between art and architecture, producing a body of work that spans both categories. Demanding and rhetorically complex, his site-related installations, drawings, photographs and montages raise questions and stimulate discussion on the nature of the city and connections between people. The Americas Society exhibition, his first solo museum show in New York since 1979, focuses on Charney’s painted photographs—stylized images in pastel and paint overlaid on printed mass media images. Set free of their original context and brought into the picture plane, these buildings have a different life. The exhibition also includes video and images of Charney’s major built projects, including the famous 1976 installation Les maisons de la rue Sherbrooke, demolished on orders of the mayor of the city of Montreal (in a case similar to Serra’s Tilted Arc).

The gallery, located at 680 Park Avenue, at 68th Street, is open Wednesday through Saturday, from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and is free to the public. The exhibition has inspired two public panel programs, which will investigate themes arising from Charney’s work, including conceptualizing the city in the 21st century and the interaction between art and architecture.

On Wednesday June 11, Guest Curator Gwendolyn Owens will be on hand to participate in a panel discussion entitled The City in the 21st Century, which will unite experts to examine the impact of architectural ideas circulating between New York, Montreal, Toronto, and Latin America. Owens will be joined by Anthony Kiendl, Director of Plug In ICA, Winnipeg, Canada; Carlos Brillembourg, Architect, New York and Caracas, Architecture Editor of Bomb magazine; and Saul Ostrow, Chair, Visual Arts and Technologies, The Cleveland Institute of Art. The panel will take place at 6:30 pm at the Americas Society, 680 Park Avenue, at 68th Street.

A second panel, Dangerous Liaisons: Public Arts and Architecture, will be held on Tuesday June 24, exploring the intersection of art and architecture within the development and transformation of public spaces in global cities. Featured panelists include Dan Graham, artist; Susan Herrington, University of British Columbia; and Yasmeen Siddiqui, Curator, Storefront for Art and Architecture. The panel will be held at 6:30 pm at the Storefront for Art and Architecture at 97 Kenmare Street, at Centre Street.

Between Observation and Intervention: the Painted Photographs of Melvin Charney, was curated by Gwendolyn Owens. The show, organized in collaboration with the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, continues the Americas Society’s tradition of presenting timely and compelling exhibitions of contemporary artists from across the hemisphere to the New York public.

Americas Society gratefully acknowledges the following donors for their generous support:
Government of Canada, Consulate General of Canada, New York; Government of Québec, Québec Government Office in New York; Parnassus Foundation, courtesy of Jane & Raphael Bernstein; Power Corporation of Canada; and Rosamond Ivey. This exhibition is also made possible in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency. Additional support has been received from the Nicholas Metivier Gallery.

The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec gratefully acknowledges the following donors and partners for their generous support: American Apparel Canada; Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc.; Webster Foundation, and anonymous donors; Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada; and Canada Council for the Arts.

The listed events are free, and open to the public.
We are located at 680 Park Avenue at 68th Street, in New York City.
For wheelchair access, kindly call in advance.
Reservations are mandatory, so please RSVP to: (212) 277-8359 or culture@americas-society.org

For more information, visit www.americas-society.org . If you have questions or comments, please email us at culture@americas-society.org

Americas Society

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