White Columns Online:
Like a museum filled with things and bones 
curated by Rachel Vera Steinberg

October 3–November 10, 2023
A sheet of white paper with rows of black ink smudges, which resemble lines of sheet music.

rosaire appel, Silent Song #20, 2023, Drawing. Ink on paper. 29 × 23 inches. Courtesy of the artist. 

An abstract collection of disparate objects on a white background, forming the vague shape of a semicircle.

Clare Churchouse
canary, 2022.
Thread, brads, pins, yarn, tape, wire, photographs, wood, mylar, ink, paper, sponge, wire mesh, gauze fabric, fabric, plastic mesh.
59 × 61 × 3 inches.
Courtesy of the artist.

A side view of a collection of disparate objects on a white background. At this angle, the viewer can see a small piece of black mesh that protrudes out from the wall on which it is hung, surrounded by other, unidentifiable bits of flotsam and jetsam.

Clare Churchouse
canary (detail, side view), 2022.
Thread, brads, pins, yarn, tape, wire, photographs, wood, mylar, ink, paper, sponge, wire mesh, gauze fabric, fabric, plastic mesh.
59 × 61 × 3 inches.
Courtesy of the artist.

A photograph of a sculpture composed of a pair of distressed hiking shoes attached to the tops of music stands, where the ray for sheet music would usually be. The shoe on the right has a mauve bow attached at the rear. Clumps of clay are positioned under the music stands.

Coco Klockner
Good Name/Dead Name, 2022.
Burnt trail shoes, altered music stands, greenware, polyester bow, resin
36 × 36 × 34 in.
Courtesy of the artist

An abstract sculpture rests just above the floor, atop a short freestanding rectangular wire mesh structure. The sculpture is an abstracted version of a laser printer covered in a cracking clay-like material, with a braid made of a straw-like material laid on top. There are patches of gingham fabric attached to the “printer.”

Coco Klockner
Femme Brother Printer, 2019.
Brother laser printer, mixed media
26 × 40 × 25 in.
Courtesy of the artist

A sculpture installed on the floor, made of a burnt, disfigured plastic bucket. Small metal rods extend from the top of the bucket, and light purple figures resembling broomsticks are attached to the tops of these rods, at varying heights.

Coco Klockner
Dysphoria i, 2020.
5-gallon bucket, dirt, wood, paint, steel wire
12 x12 x28 in.
Courtesy of the artist.

An abstract photograph of scraps of paper and other unidentifiable materials, encased in a lump of ice.

Margrit Olsen
Artifact From Memory, 2021.
Fine Art Inkjet Print
297 × 420 cm
Courtesy of the artist

An abstract photograph, in which black flecks and hazy shapes appear on a beige background. There is a circular impression in the middle of the frame.

Margrit Olsen
Film Sediment / Untitled, 2022.
Fine Art Inkjet Print
42 × 32 cm
Courtesy of the artist

A sculpture installed on the floor, which is made of a loaf of bread that looks to be wrapped in thick pieces of bronze. A silicone band, resembling a rubber band, stretches around the piece.

Lauren Dahlia Schaffer
Dirty Sweep : rue interieur, 2018.
brass, bronze, white bread, silicone
7 × 7 × 5 in.
Courtesy of the artist.

An arachnid-like sculpture installed on the floor, which is made of copper wire bent to cradle a moth larva. The moth larva hangs suspended by the wire, which supports itself with two “legs.” Complex shadows extend on the floor behind the piece.

Lauren Dahlia Schaffer
Dirty Sweep : Untitled, 2015 – 2022.
Nickel-plated copper wire, Ceratomia undulosa moth larva
4.5 × 2.5 × 4 in.
Courtesy of the artist.

Several objects are arranged on a cement floor in a gallery. Red tape, also applied to the floor, surrounds some of the objects. There are also three long pieces of red tape on the white walls of the gallery, hung in three rows.

Julia Taszycka
The Sole Result is the Game, 2022.
installation: found objects, gaff tape
Courtesy of the artist.

A photograph of a horizontally-hung sculpture of a long, skinny scrap of metal which is bent and creased.

Julia Taszycka
Break 47 with a Nail, 2023.
metal stud, hardware
3 3/4 × 47 × 3 in.
Courtesy of the artist.

A side view of a sculpture, hung vertically on a white wall, of two bent and crumpled metal rods. Both pieces of metal are bent out from the wall at the top.

Julia Taszycka
Break 45 × 2, 2023.
metal stud, hardware
45 × 26 × 28 in.
Courtesy of the artist.

A photograph of a large abstract sculpture installed on the floor, an assemblage of found objects and metal. Spirals of metal, including one ladder-like protrusion, jut out from the sculpture at various angles.

Vy Trịnh
Honda Dream II, 2022.
Honda Dream II moped chassis, found dolly, metal scraps, brass, aluminum, found bumper, rubber, found tree branch, plastic wrap, and epoxy putty.
39 × 52 × 69 inches
Courtesy of the artist.

A photograph of a large abstract sculpture installed on the floor, in which a circular steel armature is partially covered in a shiny black material. Strands of ball chain are draped and wrapped around parts of the structure.

Vy Trịnh
Honda (KIA), 2023.
Found bumper, PETG, metal rod, nickel plated steel ball chain, brass, flux, cable zip tie, and epoxy putty.
19 × 16 × 21 inches
Courtesy of the artist.

Participating Artists

rosaire appel
Clare Churchouse
Coco Klockner
Margrit Olsen
Lauren Dahlia Schaffer
Julie Taszycka
Vy Trịnh

Exhibition Description

In the last scene of the 2018 Swedish sci-fi film Aniara, unrecognizable detritus floats inside of an aimless space ship nearly six million years after its voyage began. The film, which is based on Harry Martinson’s book-length science fiction poem from the mid-1950s, attempts to touch the deep psychological melancholy of a passenger space shuttle doomed to drift directionless through space for all of eternity. Thrown off its course without fuel to redirect itself in the very beginning of the story, the majority of the film details the slow collapse of this micro-society as supplies, populations, and hopes dwindle. This event is felt viscerally through this final scene where the entropy of the physical matter that once supported life breaks into fine particulates.

This exhibition explores the ways that things—materials, ideas, language, time—have come apart from themselves. The works included embody abstractions through separation, distillation, and reconfiguration. In most cases, the works have grown out of recognizable, mundane objects, but through processes of improvisation and extraction from their use-function, they have become category-avoidant and strange. These objects are not discarded or disused, rather they catalog the interstices of breakdowns where meanings collapse or reconfigure through the slow drift of functions and values.  

As science fiction narratives offer mirrors-at-a-distance to their concurrent conditions, Aniara reflects the psychological and material impacts of nuclear terror from the time it was first written, and the rampant social, political, and environmental collapse of the present. Similarly, the artworks within this exhibition outline the broader stakes of our current moment, wherein meaning cannot be understood as a given. Things break down into fragments, are re-possessed into new orders, present as alternative schematics, offer new visual languages, and disintegrate the infrastructure of capitalist production. The title is taken from the very last chapter of Martinson’s poem, detailing the descent of the ship’s microcosm into a sarcophagus, “like a museum filled with things and bones.” One is left to wonder if this museum represents life, supports it, or if its future was ever alive to begin with.

Rachel Vera Steinberg is a curator based in New York City. Her work explores cultural mythmaking, the world-building methodologies found in science fiction, as well as political and historical distinctions between facts and fictions. Since the beginning of her career she has focused primarily on the presentation of time-based media. She is the Curator & Director of Exhibitions at Smack Mellon in Brooklyn, NY where she oversees the production of ambitiously-scaled installations and exhibitions. She was the Director of SOHO20 Artists Inc (2015-2018) and the Assistant Director of NURTUREart Non-Profit Inc (2010-2015). She has taught at FIT, RISD, and the New School. She has a BFA from Pratt Institute and an MA in Curatorial Studies from Bard College.

This exhibition is the twenty-fifth in a series of online exhibitions curated exclusively from White Columns’ Curated Artist Registry.

A sheet of white paper with rows of black ink smudges, which resemble lines of sheet music.
An abstract collection of disparate objects on a white background, forming the vague shape of a semicircle.
A side view of a collection of disparate objects on a white background. At this angle, the viewer can see a small piece of black mesh that protrudes out from the wall on which it is hung, surrounded by other, unidentifiable bits of flotsam and jetsam.
A photograph of a sculpture composed of a pair of distressed hiking shoes attached to the tops of music stands, where the ray for sheet music would usually be. The shoe on the right has a mauve bow attached at the rear. Clumps of clay are positioned under the music stands.
An abstract sculpture rests just above the floor, atop a short freestanding rectangular wire mesh structure. The sculpture is an abstracted version of a laser printer covered in a cracking clay-like material, with a braid made of a straw-like material laid on top. There are patches of gingham fabric attached to the “printer.”
A sculpture installed on the floor, made of a burnt, disfigured plastic bucket. Small metal rods extend from the top of the bucket, and light purple figures resembling broomsticks are attached to the tops of these rods, at varying heights.
An abstract photograph of scraps of paper and other unidentifiable materials, encased in a lump of ice.
An abstract photograph, in which black flecks and hazy shapes appear on a beige background. There is a circular impression in the middle of the frame.
A sculpture installed on the floor, which is made of a loaf of bread that looks to be wrapped in thick pieces of bronze. A silicone band, resembling a rubber band, stretches around the piece.
An arachnid-like sculpture installed on the floor, which is made of copper wire bent to cradle a moth larva. The moth larva hangs suspended by the wire, which supports itself with two “legs.” Complex shadows extend on the floor behind the piece.
Several objects are arranged on a cement floor in a gallery. Red tape, also applied to the floor, surrounds some of the objects. There are also three long pieces of red tape on the white walls of the gallery, hung in three rows.
A photograph of a horizontally-hung sculpture of a long, skinny scrap of metal which is bent and creased.
A side view of a sculpture, hung vertically on a white wall, of two bent and crumpled metal rods. Both pieces of metal are bent out from the wall at the top.
A photograph of a large abstract sculpture installed on the floor, an assemblage of found objects and metal. Spirals of metal, including one ladder-like protrusion, jut out from the sculpture at various angles.
A photograph of a large abstract sculpture installed on the floor, in which a circular steel armature is partially covered in a shiny black material. Strands of ball chain are draped and wrapped around parts of the structure.

rosaire appel, Silent Song #20, 2023, Drawing. Ink on paper. 29 × 23 inches. Courtesy of the artist. (A sheet of white paper with rows of black ink smudges, which resemble lines of sheet music.)

Clare Churchouse, canary, 2022. Thread, brads, pins, yarn, tape, wire, photographs, wood, mylar, ink, paper, sponge, wire mesh, gauze fabric, fabric, plastic mesh, 59 × 61 × 3 inches. Courtesy of the artist. (An abstract collection of disparate objects on a white background, forming the vague shape of a semicircle.)

Clare Churchouse, canary (detail, side view), 2022. Thread, brads, pins, yarn, tape, wire, photographs, wood, mylar, ink, paper, sponge, wire mesh, gauze fabric, fabric, plastic mesh, 59 × 61 × 3 inches. Courtesy of the artist. (A side view of a collection of disparate objects on a white background. At this angle, the viewer can see a small piece of black mesh that protrudes out from the wall on which it is hung, surrounded by other, unidentifiable bits of flotsam and jetsam.)

Coco Klockner, Good Name/Dead Name, 2022. Burnt trail shoes, altered music stands, greenware, polyester bow, resin, 36 × 36 × 34 in. Courtesy of the artist. (A photograph of a sculpture composed of a pair of distressed hiking shoes attached to the tops of music stands, where the ray for sheet music would usually be. The shoe on the right has a mauve bow attached at the rear. Clumps of clay are positioned under the music stands.)

Coco Klockner, Femme Brother Printer, 2019. Brother laser printer, mixed media, 26 × 40 × 25 in. Courtesy of the artist. (An abstract sculpture rests just above the floor, atop a short freestanding rectangular wire mesh structure. The sculpture is an abstracted version of a laser printer covered in a cracking clay-like material, with a braid made of a straw-like material laid on top. There are patches of gingham fabric attached to the “printer.”)

Coco Klockner, Dysphoria i, 2020. 5-gallon bucket, dirt, wood, paint, steel wire, 12 x12 x28 in. Courtesy of the artist. (A sculpture installed on the floor, made of a burnt, disfigured plastic bucket. Small metal rods extend from the top of the bucket, and light purple figures resembling broomsticks are attached to the tops of these rods, at varying heights.)

Margrit Olsen, Artifact From Memory, 2021. Fine Art Inkjet Print, 297 × 420 cm. Courtesy of the artist. (An abstract photograph of scraps of paper and other unidentifiable materials, encased in a lump of ice.)

Margrit Olsen, Film Sediment / Untitled, 2022. Fine Art Inkjet Print, 42 × 32 cm. Courtesy of the artist. (An abstract photograph, in which black flecks and hazy shapes appear on a beige background. There is a circular impression in the middle of the frame.)

Lauren Dahlia Schaffer Dirty Sweep : rue interieur, 2018. Brass, bronze, white bread, silicone, 7 × 7 × 5 in. Courtesy of the artist. (A sculpture installed on the floor, which is made of a loaf of bread that looks to be wrapped in thick pieces of bronze. A silicone band, resembling a rubber band, stretches around the piece.)

Lauren Dahlia Schaffer, Dirty Sweep : Untitled, 2015 – 2022. Nickel-plated copper wire, Ceratomia undulosa moth larva, 4.5 × 2.5 × 4 in. Courtesy of the artist. (An arachnid-like sculpture installed on the floor, which is made of copper wire bent to cradle a moth larva. The moth larva hangs suspended by the wire, which supports itself with two “legs.” Complex shadows extend on the floor behind the piece.)

 Julia Taszycka, The Sole Result is the Game, 2022. Installation: found objects, gaff tape. Courtesy of the artist. (Several objects are arranged on a cement floor in a gallery. Red tape, also applied to the floor, surrounds some of the objects. There are also three long pieces of red tape on the white walls of the gallery, hung in three rows.)

Julia Taszycka, Break 47 with a Nail, 2023. Metal stud, hardware, 3 3/4 × 47 × 3 in. Courtesy of the artist. (A photograph of a horizontally-hung sculpture of a long, skinny scrap of metal which is bent and creased.)

Julia Taszycka, Break 45 × 2, 2023. Metal stud, hardware, 45 × 26 × 28 in. Courtesy of the artist. (A side view of a sculpture, hung vertically on a white wall, of two bent and crumpled metal rods. Both pieces of metal are bent out from the wall at the top.)

Vy Trịnh, Honda Dream II, 2022. Honda Dream II moped chassis, found dolly, metal scraps, brass, aluminum, found bumper, rubber, found tree branch, plastic wrap, and epoxy putty, 39 × 52 × 69 inches. Courtesy of the artist. (A photograph of a large abstract sculpture installed on the floor, an assemblage of found objects and metal. Spirals of metal, including one ladder-like protrusion, jut out from the sculpture at various angles.)

Vy Trịnh, Honda (KIA), 2023. Found bumper, PETG, metal rod, nickel plated steel ball chain, brass, flux, cable zip tie, and epoxy putty, 19 × 16 × 21 inches. Courtesy of the artist. (A photograph of a large abstract sculpture installed on the floor, in which a circular steel armature is partially covered in a shiny black material. Strands of ball chain are draped and wrapped around parts of the structure.)