Looking Back / The Fifth White Columns Annual
selected by Bob Nickas

December 11, 2010–January 29, 2011 320 West 13th Street

Press Release

‘Looking Back’ is the fifth installment of the White Columns Annual. The exhibition is now an annual fixture on White Columns’ calendar. Each year an individual (e.g. an artist, a curator, a writer, etc.) is invited to make an exhibition at White Columns based on their personal experience of looking at art in New York in the previous year. For the fifth ‘Annual’ exhibition White Columns has invited the New York-based independent curator Bob Nickas to make the selection.

In a very straightforward sense the ‘Annual’ exhibition hopes to reveal something of the complexities involved in trying to negotiate – and engage with – New York’s constantly evolving cultural landscape. The format of the exhibition inevitably encourages highly subjective and deeply personal responses to the realities of viewing art in New York. The ‘Annual’ exhibition series hopes to illuminate aspects of the specific, yet highly idiosyncratic routes – geographical, intellectual, historical, social, etc. – individuals follow in an increasingly expansive and fragmented cultural environment.

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

There are no restrictions as to what type of work can be included. ‘Looking Back’ seeks 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.) These works might have been originally seen in exhibitions at institutions, galleries, and not-for-profit spaces, or at performances, readings, or during visits to artists’ studios, etc.

About the curator:

Since the early 1980s Bob Nickas has organized more than 75 exhibitions in the United States and Europe. A former editor of Index magazine and curator at PS1, his is arguably amongst the most influential – and mercurial – curatorial voices of the past 25 years.

The inaugural ‘Annual’ exhibition in 2006 was selected by White Columns’ Director & Chief Curator Matthew Higgs; the second in 2007 was selected by curator Clarissa Dalrymple; the third in 2008 was selected by former Greene Naftali Director and curator Jay Sanders (who will co-curate the 2012 Whitney Biennial); and the fourth in 2009 was selected by Primary Information, the New York-based non-profit organization devoted to printing artists’ books, artist writings, out of print publications and editions.

White Columns would like to thank Bob Nickas for his commitment to this project, and we would like to acknowledge all of the participating artists and their representatives for their enthusiastic response to ‘Looking Back.’

Participating Artists

Darren Bader
Jules de Balincourt
Barry X Ball
Alvin Baltrop
Gene Beery
Huma Bhabha
Carol Bove
Freddie Brice
Vija Celmins
Mike Cloud
Bruce Conner
Volker Corell
Jay DeFeo
Trisha Donnelly
John Fahey
Brion Gysin
Tamar Halpern
Ull Hohn
David Hurles
Candy Jernigan
Craig Kalpakjian
Stephen Kaltenbach
Jacob Kassay
David Malek
Justin Matherly
Wardell Milan
Joseph Montgomery
Amy O’Neill
Virginia Overton
Alyssa Phoebus
Charlotte Posenenske
Nathaniel Robinson
Michael Scott
Lily Van der Stokker
Philip Taaffe
Paul Thek
Gert and Uwe Tobias
Josh Tonsfeldt
Andra Ursuta
Chris Vasell
Dan Walsh
Karl Wirsum
anonymous tantric artist