Anne Chu

October 30–December 18, 2021 West Gallery

Press Release

White Columns is proud to present a solo exhibition of sculptures and works on paper by Anne Chu (1959–2016). This will be the first exhibition of Chu’s work since a posthumous presentation in 2016 at Anglim Gilbert Gallery, San Francisco; and the first presentation of her work in New York since her 2014 solo exhibition at Tracy Williams, Ltd. The show at White Columns will focus on Chu’s later works and will be the first time that many of them have been exhibited in New York. The exhibition has been organized in close collaboration with Beatrix Chu, the artist’s Estate, and the artist and gallerist Janice Guy.

Chu’s final body of work took its inspiration from Goya’s “The Burial of the Sardine” (c.1812–1819), a painting depicting a carousing crowd in procession on the first day of Lent. Chu’s subsequent work is a processional grouping of sculptures citing different eras and subjects, augmented by a series of watercolor diptychs that combine abstract patterns with figurative drawings. The ‘underwater’ sculptures use materials such as glass, embroidered fabric, and suspended shapes to evoke life in a largely unknown world. The group of sculptures combines references from her personal experiences as a diver as well as influences from Tang dynasty and Baroque sculpture.

Reflecting her persistent interest in history, change, and continuity, Anne Chu’s work referenced ancient art and artifacts to better understand the present world. Chu’s influences ranged from Tang dynasty funerary figures to Medieval heraldry and puppets, Gaudi’s architectural studies, and Pompeian frescoes, all of which served as starting points for different bodies of work. Chu’s work often conflated sculpture and drawing, abstraction and figuration, paying homage to past aesthetic traditions and reinventing them through material and formal experimentation.

Writing in Artforum about Chu’s 2012/13 exhibition at Museum Haus Lange, in Krefeld, Germany, critic Hans Rudolf Reust observed that Chu’s work “… surprises with an array of cultural fragments whose amalgamation seems at once unconventional and natural. The return of ornamentality, a lascivious luxury in spatial geometry, is here more than the return of what modernism repressed.”

Anne Chu (1959-2016) lived and worked in New York, her place of birth. After graduating from the Philadelphia College of Art (1982), she returned to New York to receive her MFA from Columbia University (1985). She was a co-director of AC Project Room (1996-2002), a legendary artist-run gallery based in lower Manhattan. Chu’s work was widely exhibited during her lifetime with one-person institutional exhibitions at: Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany (2012); Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, FL (2005); Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC (2005); MATRIX Gallery, UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA (2000); and the Dallas Museum of Art (1998), among others. Group shows included: Art Parcours, Basel, Switzerland (2011); the 54th Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, PA (2004); and a two-person show with Matthew Monahan at the ICA, Philadelphia, PA (2010). Chu had solo gallery exhibitions with Tracy Williams Ltd., New York (2014); Monica De Cardenas, Zuoz, Switzerland (2010); Donald Young Gallery, Chicago (2009 and 1999); 303 Gallery, New York (2008 and 2003); Victoria Miro, London (2006 and 2001); Christine Burgin, New York (2002); Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles (1998); and AC Project Room (1999, 1998, and 1996), and others.

Anne Chu received a number of prestigious grants and awards including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation; Joan Mitchell Foundation; NEA/Arts International; Alpert/Ucross Foundation; and Art Matters. Her commissioned work “Mountain Views” is on permanent display at the US Embassy in Beijing.

For further information: info@whitecolumns.org

Event

On the occasion of the current exhibition of Anne Chu’s (1959-2016) work at White Columns, we are pleased to announce an online gathering to celebrate Anne’s life and work. Participants will each speak to their personal relationship with Anne and her work, and will include the artist’s friends, colleagues, collaborators, gallerists, and curators.

Speakers:

Connie Butler
Lynne Cooke
Robyn Farrell
Aki Fujiyoshi
Janice Guy
Ellen Lesperance
Emily Letourneau
Bruce Pearson
Ingrid Schaffner
Suzanne Weaver

November 19, 2021

From left to right, a ceramic vase on a white pedestal displays fabric flowers and a watercolor painting installed in the entrance of a gallery. In the back right, two sculptures depict an onlooking winged figure and a decorated pedestal with two hanging components.
A coral colored ceramic vase containing fabric flowers is presented on a white pedestal to the left. To the right, a watercolor painting of abstract floral shapes is hung in a wooden frame on a white gallery wall.
Three framed works on paper to the left and three watercolor diptychs to the right are mounted on white gallery walls. A sculpture of a winged figure and floating aluminum head populate the gallery space as a hanging textile structure emerges from behind.
A sculpture of a winged figure is exhibited next to a hanging aluminum head suspended from a single, thin piece of rope. Centered behind both pieces hangs a boxy taupe textile structure featuring an encased rat. To the right, a watercolor diptych is hung on the back wall.
Two sculptures are presented in front of three diptychs mounted on white walls. The sculpture to the left depicts a winged figure, a floating head, and a hanging textile structure. The sculpture to the far right displays a decorated pedestal with two ornate pieces hung from above.
Two diptychs are hung on adjacent gallery walls. Centerend in the corner is a sculpture of a decorated pedestal adorned with netted cloth. From above, two coral-like shapes are suspended ornately.
Close up view of a sculpture composed of a wooden base, green pedestal, oblong glass table top, and brightly colored netted cloth. To the far right, three watercolor on paper diptychs are displayed in a horizontal row on a white gallery wall.
Gallery interior showcasing three large sculptural assemblages to the front, the right and the far back left. A watercolor diptych can be seen on the back wall, center right. And a framed work can be seen on the adjacent back wall, far left.
Gallery view of Underwater Rattus, 2016. The freestanding sculpture is composed of four primary components. From bottom to top: wooden base, green pillar, layered fabrics, and a floating coral-like shape connected by a wire.
Detail view of a winged ceramic figure draped in hemp like cloth. To the back left, a soft construction of fabrics hangs from the ceiling, concealing a rat on all fours facing the back left corner.
Detail view of a limp rat figure nestled in a fetal position on dark blue fabric. On the top right side of the frame, a green and blue camouflage patterned fabric hangs loosely.
Close up view of Procession (Burial), 2016 detailing an aluminum head with a protruding tongue and two angular horns hanging from a single piece of rope.
Two watercolor diptychs installed on a freestanding gallery wall. Burial of the Sardine, no. 6, 2015 to the left displays a cowboy figure and a man in a beak mask adjacent to a vibrant opposing watercolor of horizontal lines. Burial of the Sardine, no. 2, 2015 on the right displays a landscape painting with a central water feature next to a depiction of thick, vibrant, horizontal lines.
A watercolor diptych made of blended greens, blues, yellows, and oranges. The left component accents a rosey off-central point, and further dark details on the lower right hand of the frame. The right component boasts dark vertical lines of various thicknesses, complementing brightly colored verticals sparingly.

Anne Chu, installation view, 2021 (From left to right, a ceramic vase on a white pedestal displays fabric flowers and a watercolor painting installed in the entrance of a gallery. In the back right, two sculptures depict an onlooking winged figure and a decorated pedestal with two hanging components.)

Anne Chu, installation view, 2021 (A coral colored ceramic vase containing fabric flowers is presented on a white pedestal to the left. To the right, a watercolor painting of abstract floral shapes is hung in a wooden frame on a white gallery wall.)

Anne Chu, installation view, 2021 (Three framed works on paper to the left and three watercolor diptychs to the right are mounted on white gallery walls. A sculpture of a winged figure and floating aluminum head populate the gallery space as a hanging textile structure emerges from behind.)

Anne Chu, installation view, 2021 (A sculpture of a winged figure is exhibited next to a hanging aluminum head suspended from a single, thin piece of rope. Centered behind both pieces hangs a boxy taupe textile structure featuring an encased rat. To the right, a watercolor diptych is hung on the back wall.)

Anne Chu, installation view, 2021 (Two sculptures are presented in front of three diptychs mounted on white walls. The sculpture to the left depicts a winged figure, a floating head, and a hanging textile structure. The sculpture to the far right displays a decorated pedestal with two ornate pieces hung from above.)

Anne Chu, installation view, 2021 (Two diptychs are hung on adjacent gallery walls. Centerend in the corner is a sculpture of a decorated pedestal adorned with netted cloth. From above, two coral-like shapes are suspended ornately.)

Anne Chu, installation view, 2021 (Close up view of a sculpture composed of a wooden base, green pedestal, oblong glass table top, and brightly colored netted cloth. To the far right, three watercolor on paper diptychs are displayed in a horizontal row on a white gallery wall.)

Anne Chu, installation view, 2021 (Gallery interior showcasing three large sculptural assemblages to the front, the right and the far back left. A watercolor diptych can be seen on the back wall, center right. And a framed work can be seen on the adjacent back wall, far left.)

Anne Chu, installation view, 2021 (Gallery view of Underwater Rattus, 2016. The freestanding sculpture is composed of four primary components. From bottom to top: wooden base, green pillar, layered fabrics, and a floating coral-like shape connected by a wire.)

Anne Chu, installation view, 2021 (Detail view of a winged ceramic figure draped in hemp like cloth. To the back left, a soft construction of fabrics hangs from the ceiling, concealing a rat on all fours facing the back left corner.)

Anne Chu, installation view, 2021 (Detail view of a limp rat figure nestled in a fetal position on dark blue fabric. On the top right side of the frame, a green and blue camouflage patterned fabric hangs loosely.)

Anne Chu, installation view, 2021 (Close up view of Procession (Burial), 2016 detailing an aluminum head with a protruding tongue and two angular horns hanging from a single piece of rope.)

Anne Chu, installation view, 2021 (Two watercolor diptychs installed on a freestanding gallery wall. Burial of the Sardine, no. 6, 2015 to the left displays a cowboy figure and a man in a beak mask adjacent to a vibrant opposing watercolor of horizontal lines. Burial of the Sardine, no. 2, 2015 on the right displays a landscape painting with a central water feature next to a depiction of thick, vibrant, horizontal lines.)

Anne Chu, Burial of the Sardine, no. 8, 2015. Watercolor on paper. (A watercolor diptych made of blended greens, blues, yellows, and oranges. The left component accents a rosey off-central point, and further dark details on the lower right hand of the frame. The right component boasts dark vertical lines of various thicknesses, complementing brightly colored verticals sparingly.)