Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual – Selected by Olivia Shao

January 20–March 4, 2023

Press Release

White Columns is pleased to announce the 13th edition of its Annual exhibition Looking Back, which has been selected by the New York-based curator Olivia Shao. The exhibition will be presented throughout all of White Columns’ galleries.

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.

Through the recontextualization of artworks encountered in other circumstances, 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 a variety of contexts such as exhibitions at galleries, not-for-profit spaces, or during visits to artists’ studios.

Writing in Artforum in 2022 about the 12th ‘Annual’ exhibition selected by artist Mary Manning, Johanna Fateman wrote:

“In ‘Looking Back,’ Manning’s response to what could have been a dismaying subject – the not-quite-back-to-normal art world of 2021 – left me somewhat relieved. The show seemed to credibly propose that it was a good year for small things, for perceiving and adjusting to, but not making decisive claims about, our particular catastrophic-embryonic state.”

Writing about the ‘Annual’ exhibitions in 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.”

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About Olivia Shao:

Olivia Shao is a curator based in New York.

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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); Anne Doran; and Mary Manning.

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

For press inquiries please contact: violet@whitecolumns.org
For further information about this exhibition contact: info@whitecolumns.org

Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11am to 6pm.

 

Participating Artists

Terry Adkins
Olga Balema
Lyndon Barrois Jr.
Patricia L. Boyd
James Castle
Leidy Churchman
Jenni Crain
Blacklips Performance Cult
Verne Dawson
Trisha Donnelly
Elise Duryee-Browner/Graham Vunderink
Elizabeth Englander
Donald Evans
Minnie Evans
Ryan Foerster
Raque Ford
Ellie Ga
Fernanda Gomes
Ray Hamilton
Yun-Fei Ji
Dominique Knowles
Marc Kokopeli/Matthew Langan-Peck
June Leaf
Maggie Lee
Agosto Machado
Danny McDonald
Peter Moore
Maria Nordman
Andy Robert
Rafael Sánchez
Ser Serpas
Jack Shannon
Ahlam Shibli
Bob Smith
Anita Steckel
Unknown Lakota Artist
Frank Walter
Johanna Went
and Benjamin Péret/Robert Rius/André Breton
/Thérèse Caen/Remedios Varo

An installation shot at an angle shows the gallery lobby. There is a painting on the left wall. On the right wall is one sculpture mounted to the wall, and another atop a plinth. Between the two walls in the background can be seen a wall-mounted installation of framed photographs and cardboard cutouts.
Frontal view of two sculptures. On the left is a wall-mounted sculpture, hung high, of a parachute extending down from a small wooden drum. On the right is a minimalist sculpture of a wooden frame partially painted white, which rests on top of a plinth installed on the floor.
An installation shot at an angle reveals a gallery shown through a brick archway. Installed on the floor to the left in front of the archway is a minimalist wooden sculpture on top of a plinth. Through the arch, four works hang on a wall in the distance.
Frontal view of three walls in a gallery. On the left wall are three hanging works: the first a lit box that protrudes from the wall, the next two are framed. On the far center wall is an installation of framed photographs and cardboard cutouts, as well as a painting made of plaid fabric and feathers. On the right wall, a monitor plays a video, with two pairs of headphones hung below. Two stools sit in front of the monitor.
A gallery view at an angle shows six artworks hanging on a wall, varying in medium and in size. Two white stools sit towards the front of the frame.
A gallery view at an angle depicts four artworks. On a column between two large windows is hung a small painting of an elephant’s head on a green background. Installed on the floor in front of the right window is a wooden sculpture. On the wall to the right of the windows are hung a framed photograph and a larger framed drawing.
A gallery view at an angle depicts a freestanding wall to the left of two large windows. On the wall hangs a monitor and two pairs of headphones. Two stools are placed on the floor in front of the monitor. On a column between the two windows is hung a small painting of an elephant head on a green background. Installed on the floor in front of the right window is a wooden sculpture.
Frontal view of a monitor mounted on a gallery wall, with two pairs of headphones hung just below the monitor. On the screen, an elaborately made-up figure in a black-and-white outfit is bathed in pinkish light.
Frontal view of a projected video work with a white stool on the floor in front of the projection. The projection plays footage of two whales arched gracefully as light filters through the water. The projection fills the darkened room with a blue glow.
Four artworks are displayed on either side of a brick archway within the gallery. On the left, a sculpture made of a radiator is installed on the floor. To the right on the wall above it is a small framed work. Two framed works are hung to the right of the arch. Through the arch, a minimal wooden sculpture rests atop a plinth.
Frontal view through a brick archway within a gallery. Two small framed works are hung to the left and right of the arch. To the far left is a sculpture of a radiator installed on the floor directly in front of the wall. Through the arch can be seen several framed works, a wall-mounted sculpture and a sculpture atop a plinth.
Frontal view of two gallery walls. On the left wall, viewed head-on, hang two framed works. To the right of these works is a mannequin wearing a black dress topped with a headpiece of a giant stuffed hand. On the right wall hangs another small framed work.
Frontal view of a gallery wall. To the left, a mannequin installed on the floor wears a costume of a stuffed headpiece in the shape of a giant hand, from which extends a simple black dress. To the right of this sculpture are several works: one framed drawing, and four black-and-white photographs arranged in a grid.
Frontal view of a gallery wall hung with four artworks. On the left is a sculpture made of a piece of transparent cloth wound around two metal cylinders, resembling a scroll. This sculpture rests on a shelf protruding from the wall. To the right are three wall works: a black-and-white photograph, a framed drawing on lined paper, and an abstracted rectangular sculpture.
A gallery view at an angle shows four artworks, two on the left wall and two to the right. On the left wall hangs a framed drawing on lined paper and a rectangular abstract sculpture. The leftmost artwork on the right wall, an abstract black sculpture, is hung higher than the rest of the works. The work to its right is a framed photograph accompanied by a book resting on a wall-mounted plinth below.
A gallery view at an angle shows seven artworks. At the edge of the left wall hangs one artwork; the other six are on the right wall. From left to right, they are: an abstract black sculpture hung higher than the other works, a framed photograph and accompanying book atop a wall-mounted plinth, a larger abstract painting, a framed photograph, a smaller, yellow painting, and a sculpture made of branches and metal.
A frontal view of an eclectic grouping of artworks. On the left wall hangs a framed photograph, a framed yellow painting, and a sculpture. Straight ahead, a white wooden cabinet on wheels is installed on the floor. On the right wall, which is freestanding, are one large and one small framed work; between the two is a plinth installed on the floor. A sculpture made of a globe rests on the plinth.
An angled view of a sculpture installed on the floor in front of a window. The sculpture is a white wooden cabinet on wheels that houses a framed drawing. To the left, behind the cabinet, are two music stands; the stand on the right holds two sheets of text and two flashlights, while the stand on the right holds an open notebook meant for visitors to record their impressions of the sculpture.
Frontal view of a freestanding gallery wall. From left to right are a large, colorful framed print, a sculpture of a globe on top of a plinth, and a small framed photograph. In the background, on the wall to the right, hangs a framed work consisting of five drawings.
Gallery view at an angle of six artworks. Four works are hung on the left wall in the distance. On the closer wall, which is freestanding, are two framed works. A vase rests atop a stool on the floor below the leftmost framed work on this wall.
Frontal view of a freestanding gallery wall. On the left is a multimedia work consisting of a framed portion on the wall and a sculptural component on the floor below it, consisting of a ceramic vessel resting on a small wooden stool. To the right is a found rag mounted in a black frame. Behind this freestanding wall and to the left can be seen a work consisting of a framed photograph that hangs above a wall-mounted plinth holding an open book.
Frontal view of two artworks. The sculpture on the left is a tiny wooden spoon made of a branch, which rests on a fabric-covered shelf extending from the column between two large windows. In front of the right window is a large, felt-covered plinth, atop which lays a sculpture of an oversized egg in an open cardboard box connected via twine to several rolled-up diapers stacked on top of one another and wrapped in brown felt.
Gallery view of seven artworks. On the left wall are two framed pieces; the leftmost artwork also consists of a small stool installed on the floor below the framed component. On the back, windowed wall, a small sculpture rests on a shelf hung between the two windows. In front of the right window is a felt-covered plinth that houses another sculpture. On the right wall, which also has two brick archways, are two small framed works and a sculpture made of a radiator installed on the floor.
Gallery view of a windowed wall, left, meeting the right wall, which contains a brick archway. In front of the window is a large felt-covered plinth housing a sculpture of an oversized egg in a cardboard box, connected via twine to a stacked pile of rolled diapers wrapped in brown felt. To the right of the archway is a sculpture of a radiator installed on the floor, and, above it to the right, a small framed work.
Close-up of a sculpture made of a cardboard coffee cup resting on the edge of a desk. A bright pink book lies shut to the right of the sculpture.

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (An installation shot at an angle shows the gallery lobby. There is a painting on the left wall. On the right wall is one sculpture mounted to the wall, and another atop a plinth. Between the two walls in the background can be seen a wall-mounted installation of framed photographs and cardboard cutouts.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (Frontal view of two sculptures. On the left is a wall-mounted sculpture, hung high, of a parachute extending down from a small wooden drum. On the right is a minimalist sculpture of a wooden frame partially painted white, which rests on top of a plinth installed on the floor.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (An installation shot at an angle reveals a gallery shown through a brick archway. Installed on the floor to the left in front of the archway is a minimalist wooden sculpture on top of a plinth. Through the arch, four works hang on a wall in the distance.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (Frontal view of three walls in a gallery. On the left wall are three hanging works: the first a lit box that protrudes from the wall, the next two are framed. On the far center wall is an installation of framed photographs and cardboard cutouts, as well as a painting made of plaid fabric and feathers. On the right wall, a monitor plays a video, with two pairs of headphones hung below. Two stools sit in front of the monitor.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (A gallery view at an angle shows six artworks hanging on a wall, varying in medium and in size. Two white stools sit towards the front of the frame.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (A gallery view at an angle depicts four artworks. On a column between two large windows is hung a small painting of an elephant’s head on a green background. Installed on the floor in front of the right window is a wooden sculpture. On the wall to the right of the windows are hung a framed photograph and a larger framed drawing.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (A gallery view at an angle depicts a freestanding wall to the left of two large windows. On the wall hangs a monitor and two pairs of headphones. Two stools are placed on the floor in front of the monitor.  On a column between the two windows is hung a small painting of an elephant head on a green background. Installed on the floor in front of the right window is a wooden sculpture.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (Frontal view of a monitor mounted on a gallery wall, with two pairs of headphones hung just below the monitor. On the screen, an elaborately made-up figure in a black-and-white outfit is bathed in pinkish light.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (Frontal view of a projected video work with a white stool on the floor in front of the projection. The projection plays footage of two whales arched gracefully as light filters through the water. The projection fills the darkened room with a blue glow.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (Four artworks are displayed on either side of a brick archway within the gallery. On the left, a sculpture made of a radiator is installed on the floor. To the right on the wall above it is a small framed work. Two framed works are hung to the right of the arch. Through the arch, a minimal wooden sculpture rests atop a plinth.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (Frontal view through a brick archway within a gallery. Two small framed works are hung to the left and right of the arch. To the far left is a sculpture of a radiator installed on the floor directly in front of the wall. Through the arch can be seen several framed works, a wall-mounted sculpture and a sculpture atop a plinth.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (Frontal view of two gallery walls. On the left wall, viewed head-on, hang two framed works. To the right of these works is a mannequin wearing a black dress topped with a headpiece of a giant stuffed hand. On the right wall hangs another small framed work.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (Frontal view of a gallery wall. To the left, a mannequin installed on the floor wears a costume of a stuffed headpiece in the shape of a giant hand, from which extends a simple black dress. To the right of this sculpture are several works: one framed drawing, and four black-and-white photographs arranged in a grid.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (Frontal view of a gallery wall hung with four artworks. On the left is a sculpture made of a piece of transparent cloth wound around two metal cylinders, resembling a scroll. This sculpture rests on a shelf protruding from the wall. To the right are three wall works: a black-and-white photograph, a framed drawing on lined paper, and an abstracted rectangular sculpture.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (A gallery view at an angle shows four artworks, two on the left wall and two to the right. On the left wall hangs a framed drawing on lined paper and a rectangular abstract sculpture. The leftmost artwork on the right wall, an abstract black sculpture, is hung higher than the rest of the works. The work to its right is a framed photograph accompanied by a book resting on a wall-mounted plinth below.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (A gallery view at an angle shows seven artworks. At the edge of the left wall hangs one artwork; the other six are on the right wall. From left to right, they are: an abstract black sculpture hung higher than the other works, a framed photograph and accompanying book atop a wall-mounted plinth, a larger abstract painting, a framed photograph, a smaller, yellow painting, and a sculpture made of branches and metal. )

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (A frontal view of an eclectic grouping of artworks. On the left wall hangs a framed photograph, a framed yellow painting, and a sculpture. Straight ahead, a white wooden cabinet on wheels is installed on the floor. On the right wall, which is freestanding, are one large and one small framed work; between the two is a plinth installed on the floor. A sculpture made of a globe rests on the plinth.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (An angled view of a sculpture installed on the floor in front of a window. The sculpture is a white wooden cabinet on wheels that houses a framed drawing. To the left, behind the cabinet, are two music stands; the stand on the right holds two sheets of text and two flashlights, while the stand on the right holds an open notebook meant for visitors to record their impressions of the sculpture.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (Frontal view of a freestanding gallery wall. From left to right are a large, colorful framed print, a sculpture of a globe on top of a plinth, and a small framed photograph. In the background, on the wall to the right, hangs a framed work consisting of five drawings.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (Gallery view at an angle of six artworks. Four works are hung on the left wall in the distance. On the closer wall, which is freestanding, are two framed works. A vase rests atop a stool on the floor below the leftmost framed work on this wall.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (Frontal view of a freestanding gallery wall. On the left is a multimedia work consisting of a framed portion on the wall and a sculptural component on the floor below it, consisting of a ceramic vessel resting on a small wooden stool. To the right is a found rag mounted in a black frame. Behind this freestanding wall and to the left can be seen a work consisting of a framed photograph that hangs above a wall-mounted plinth holding an open book.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (Frontal view of two artworks. The sculpture on the left is a tiny wooden spoon made of a branch, which rests on a fabric-covered shelf extending from the column between two large windows. In front of the right window is a large, felt-covered plinth, atop which lays a sculpture of an oversized egg in an open cardboard box connected via twine to several rolled-up diapers stacked on top of one another and wrapped in brown felt.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (Gallery view of seven artworks. On the left wall are two framed pieces; the leftmost artwork also consists of a small stool installed on the floor below the framed component. On the back, windowed wall, a small sculpture rests on a shelf hung between the two windows. In front of the right window is a felt-covered plinth that houses another sculpture. On the right wall, which also has two brick archways, are two small framed works and a sculpture made of a radiator installed on the floor.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (Gallery view of a windowed wall, left, meeting the right wall, which contains a brick archway. In front of the window is a large felt-covered plinth housing a sculpture of an oversized egg in a cardboard box, connected via twine to a stacked pile of rolled diapers wrapped in brown felt. To the right of the archway is a sculpture of a radiator installed on the floor, and, above it to the right, a small framed work.)

Looking Back / The 13th White Columns Annual, installation view, 2023 (Close-up of a sculpture made of a cardboard coffee cup resting on the edge of a desk. A bright pink book lies shut to the right of the sculpture.)