Press Announcement - “Looking Back” / The 12th White Columns Annual — Selected by Mary Manning
White Columns

January 22 – March 5, 2022

Looking Back / The 12th White Columns Annual — Selected by Mary Manning

Opening Reception: Saturday, January 22, 4pm – 7pm

Image by Mary Manning

Participating artists:

Patrick Angus, Brassaï, Donna Chung, Anne Collier, Ann Craven, Aria Dean, Hard to Read/Fiona Alison Duncan, Nicole Eisenman, Matthew Fischer, Gauri Gill, Nan Goldin, Molly Greene, Neil Greenberg, Barbara Hammer, Dmitri Hertz, Matt Hoyt, Jacqueline Humphries, Dominique Knowles, Irwin Kremen, Fabienne Lasserre, Deana Lawson, Eric N. Mack, Alice Mackler, Nour Mobarak, Monique Mouton, Luke O’Halloran, Gordon Parks, Matt Paweski, Lisa Ponti, Jacob Robichaux, Sam Roeck, Mosie Romney, Em Rooney, Kern Samuel, Davina Semo, Arthur Simms, Diane Simpson, Diamond Stingily, Sophie Stone, Marisa Takal, Stewart Uoo, Frederick Weston, Kandis Williams, Terry Winters and Yui Yaegashi.

White Columns is excited to reinstate its Annual exhibition, Looking Back, for its 12th iteration, curated by the New York-based artist Mary Manning. The exhibition will be presented throughout all of White Columns’ galleries, alongside a parallel screening of Barbara Hammer’s films at The Center.

As with previous ‘Annuals’ an individual or a collaborative team (e.g. an artist, a curator, a writer, etc.) is invited to organize an exhibition based on their personal experiences and interactions with art in New York City during the previous year. In a very straightforward way, the ‘Annual’ exhibitions hope to reveal something of the complexities involved in trying to negotiate – and engage with – New York’s constantly shifting cultural landscapes. The format of the exhibition inevitably encourages highly subjective and personal responses to the realities of viewing art in New York City. The ‘Annual’ exhibition series hopes to illuminate aspects of the specific, yet highly idiosyncratic networks – historical, social, aesthetic, etc. – that individuals follow in an increasingly expansive and fragmented cultural environment.

Writing about their experience working on the exhibition Manning said:

“As the global pandemic raged on for another year in 2021 I felt that I was still working with confusion and some heartbreak, so the experience of getting to go look at art with a purpose of sorts had a different, more joyful register. I primarily used love as a guiding metric to select these works, being aware of the messy hard work that comes with love and the rigorous emotional work that went into making these pieces.” – Mary Manning, 2022.

Through the recontextualization of artworks encountered in other circumstances and contexts, the exhibition hopes to establish – albeit temporarily – a new ‘narrative’, a conversation, of sorts, amongst both artists and artworks that seeks to illuminate and/or explore certain underlying tendencies or connections that might otherwise have remained elusive or obscured. In rethinking aspects of the (fairly) recent past the exhibition hopes to provoke something akin to a sense of déjà vu, establishing a scenario that is at once both reflective and forward-thinking.

There are no restrictions as to what type of work can be included. The ‘Annual’ exhibitions seek to eliminate any categorical or hierarchical distinctions we might place upon artworks (e.g. based upon the circumstances in which they were originally seen, or the seniority of an individual artist, etc.). The works included in the exhibition might have originally been encountered in exhibitions at galleries, not-for-profit spaces, or during visits to artists’ studios, etc.

Writing about the ‘Annual’ exhibitions in the The New York Times, Holland Cotter wrote:

“One of the things that makes the White Columns annuals so valuable is that they often include artists … who are unlikely to find their way into mainstream institutions. A second, equally important function that Looking Back serves, or should serve, is to provide a view of contemporary art that is not entirely determined by art-industry consensus – meaning the market – but rather is seen through a single informed, idiosyncratic, even resistant sensibility.”

Events & Screenings:

Thursday, February 3rd at 7pm: A reading event organized by Fiona Alison Duncan and Hard to Read featuring contributions from Sarah Schulman, Alisha Mascarenhas, Muna Mire, Thora Siemsen and Arthur Jafa. (List in formation, full program details to follow.)

Date and time to be confirmed: A screening of films by Barbara Hammer at The Center, 208 W. 13th Street, New York, NY 10011.

About Mary Manning:

Mary Manning (b. 1972, Alton, IL) lives and works in New York City. They are represented by CANADA Gallery (NYC), where they have a forthcoming solo exhibition scheduled for April 2022. CANADA will also publish the artist’s first monograph this spring. Previous solo exhibitions include Love at CANADA (NYC) in 2018, Blue Prints at Little Sister (Toronto, CA) in 2018 and Trees Is As Good As Anything at Cleopatra’s (NYC) in 2017. Manning’s work has been included in group exhibitions at Gordon Robichaux (NYC) and Situations (NYC). Manning frequently collaborates with other artists, brands, and writers with their imagery; and has published their work in several magazines in addition to their own books and zines.

The curators of the previous White Columns Annual exhibitions were: White Columns’ Director Matthew Higgs; Clarissa Dalrymple; Jay Sanders; Primary Information (Miriam Katzeff and James Hoff); Bob Nickas; Ken Okiishi and Nick Mauss; Richard Birkett; Pati Hertling; Cleopatra’s (Bridget Donahue, Bridget Finn, Colleen Grennan, and White Columns’ Deputy Director and Curator Erin Somerville); and Anne Doran.

White Columns and Mary Manning would like to thank all of the participating artists and galleries for their enthusiasm and support for Looking Back.

For further information about this exhibition contact:

White Columns
91 Horatio Street
New York, NY 10014
Tuesday–Saturday, 11 AM–6 PM