EXHIBITIONS

ROSEMARIE CASTORO INTERFERENCE / INFINITY

September 16 — December 23, 2016

I have always regarded myself a futurist.
-R. Castoro, in conversation with the author, 2014
One of the few women associated with Minimalism, Castoro was a painter, sculptor, dancer, installation artist and Conceptual poet. The breath of her production is astonishing, its singularity even more so.
-Prudence Peiffer, ARTFORUM, 2016

We are excited to announce our first solo gallery exhibition of this outstanding vanguard artist. This show also marks the first solo project at our new Harlem gallery space. In Fall 2015, BROADWAY 1602 curated Rosemarie Castoro’s “Loft Show” in her 1964 Soho studio. In her review of the “Loft Show” Prudence Peiffer pointed out that “to visit the exhibition was to have the privileged intimacy of walking through her oeuvre’s site of origin and experimentation” and that it “hinted at the possibility of numerous future focused shows…” (ARTFORUM, Dec 2015).

Through the imposing maze of Castoro’s 1971 ‘Free Standing Wall’ installation “Foyer” – a rite-of-passage introducing the enticing performativity of Castoro’s work – the new gallery show INTERFERENCE / INFINITY gives way to a pivotal group of Castoro’s 1960s large-scale Minimal ‘Y’-pattern and ‘Interference’ paintings.

In 1965 a dominant element emerged the “Y.” I answered its question by painting “Ys” on 7 ft square single color fields.
-R. Castoro, in conversation with the author, 2014
The “Y” became an element that I could play with. …I also liked its question “Why Painting? …It told me to look at the  edges, of how the edges  intersected space…Structure started to come in and then I was able to play with it. With overlapping and interfering, because people were interfering also, with my brain. Other people, so much interference. I had to experience that, make it my own…to have it large, then you can really experience the idea, because you are immersed… I want to be immersed into an idea. Take responsibility for it.
-R. Castoro, in conversation with Alex Bacon, Brooklyn Rail, 2015

We see the mural-size ‘Interference’ painting “Blue Red Gold Pink Green Yellow Y Bar” (1965), – its brilliant color bars intersecting a large blue monochrome and evoking movement and form choreography. And we see the imposing square “Y”-unit pattern paintings: “Yellow Pink Brown Blue” (1964), “Orange Ochre Purple Yellow Y” (1965) and “Red Blue Green Ochre Black” (1965), – their all-over structure creating an optical infinity effect with the surrounding space.

On another wall, one sees for the first time a comprehensive presentation of Rosemarie Castoro’s most prominent Conceptual project: the indexical “Inventory” works from 1968-69.

“The “Inventory” drawings and paintings emerged from the split vision experienced in taking inventory of my surroundings. I began structuring visual reality in numbers. By noticing dominant objects my number system did not exceed 5 including a quality count of 0 and 5.

For example, look upon a scene: a tree on your left could be 1, a group of people on your right could be 20, but
counting as a qualitative 5 or 0, depending on how I felt about them. I made lists of numbers and after a while,
what was seen was absorbed into the listing. I plotted them on either side of the paper and canvas, left and right,
and made connections.
-R. Castoro , In Conversation with the author, 2014 (2014)

We see the prominent “Inventory” drawings “In Celebration of Part-Time Work”, “No Connection Whatsoever”, “Sol Lewitt with Donor and Friends”, “Controlled Arbitrary Statement”, “Oct 25, 1968/Jan 24 1969”, “Split Inventory”, “Constant 4”, and ”On the table Again”. Lucy Lippard called the diaristic Conceptualism of these works as “the best fiction I have read about the life of an artist” (ARTFORUM, 1975).

And it (the line) is nowhere more pivotal than in Castoro’s astonishing “Inventory” series, made between 1968 and 1969, in which she traced her daily interactions with both friends and strangers via a notational rubric of her own devising that, while conceptually complex and not a little mysterious, has the stunning formal clarity of a Fred Sandback drawing. There is often a witty openness to Castoro’s systems, a seam in her works through which the world comes in, disturbing any perfect order. Her ”Inventory” lines may be rigidly quantitative, but they haphazardly fall and trip over each other.
-Prudence Peiffer, ARTFORUM, 2016

In the late 1960s Castoro started to step out of her introspective studio practice to interfere with public space in New York City. Her ‘Instruction’ piece “RUNNING (Polaroid Self Timing)” stages a dialectic between the same action performed in her Soho studio and on the cobblestone pavement of Washington Street downtown. Her actions followed a conceptual ‘script’ – “at once analytical and confessional” (Peiffer, 2016), and were performed for the eye of her self-timer polaroid camera only. Finally “RUNNING” was accompanied by a sheet of Concrete poetry in blue and black lines of capital lettering, formulating through mundane production precision with the mid line FOCUS AT INFINITY – which can simultaneously be read as artist-philosophic underpinning typical for Castoro’s writing – the essence of the piece:

INGREDIENTS
POLAROID FILM PACK
UTENTSILS
POLAROID CAMERA
TRIPOID
SELF TIMER
INSTRUCTIONS
FOCUS AT INFINITY
SET TIMER
START RUNNING TO TURN
WHEN YOU THINK TIME
IS UP
REPEAT EIGHT TIMES

 

FIREHOUSE
213 E 121 St
New York, NY 10035

ROSEMARIE CASTORO

LYDIA OKUMURA

YOCHEVED WEINFELD

In conjunction with our presentation of Rosemarie Castoro’s conceptual paintings, sculptures and drawings in our 211 gallery space, we will be doing a special presentation with Tempo Rubato in the 213 FIREHOUSE exhibition space. Tempo Rubato Israeli artist Yocheved Weinfeld’s  will be shown in conversation, a projection of Castoro’s Concrete Poetry compositions and BROADWAY 1602 UPTOWN & HARLEM Brazilian-born artist Lydia Okumura’s conceptual installation “Object Module – 1mm3 / Módulo Objeto – 1 mm3”.

Text by Anke Kempkes