E: Jessefirestone@gmail.com

The Backend

Featuring works by Merlin Carpenter, Maia Chao and Josephine Devanbu, Johann Diedrick,  Sophia Giovannitti, Liz Magic Laser, Ari Melenciano, William Powhida, Bat-Ami Rivlin, Rose Salane, Finnegan Shannon, TJ Shin, and Julia Weist.

The Backend
is a group exhibition featuring works by thirteen contemporary artists who delve into the protocols and agreements that shape our society and the framework of our participation. These often hidden structures, such as the code behind digital platforms or legal systems that dictate the use and access to information, significantly impact our daily lives. These artists focus on arrangements often already in place without our consent,  revealing societal givens we are born into regardless of our willingness and understanding. The artists uncover these hidden structures and how they manifest, inviting viewers to investigate further.

Nothing Under Heaven

Nothing Under Heaven marks Joseph Liatela's inaugural solo museum exhibition, assembling new commissions and recent works exploring the pursuit of connection, pleasure, and agency within oppressive systems. Exhibited alongside photography by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) and religious art by Carlo Dolci (1616-1686) from the University Galleries’ collection, Liatela invokes a range of stories to assess what it means to move together, remember together, and repair together.  

Liatela correlates spaces of communal experience – churches, medical institutions, and clubs – where promises of salvation and healing intersect with loss and grief. By uniting these different spaces through a range of mediums and interdisciplinary analysis, Liatela reveals how these disparate environments hold similar contradictions that impact the way we perceive ourselves and each other. Within the exhibition, Liatela intertwines the search for absolution in a church, the potential for healing through medical care, and the liberating escapism found on the dancefloor. Furthermore, Liatela also unites ideologies of the afterlife – the veneration of patron saints, possibilities of dancing with the memories of loved ones, and the lingering presence of mortality in hospitals, underscoring both their similarities and distinctions.

Open Call

Launched as part of The Shed’s inaugural-year program, Open Call is a large-scale commissioning program for early-career, NYC-based artists. Artist featured in 2018 included Tariq Al-Sabir, Justin Allen, Haley Elizabeth Anderso, Troy Anthony, Caitlin Blanchfield and Farzin Lofti-Jam, Kim Brand, Maia Chao, Onyedika Chuk, Gabriela María Corretjer-Contreras, nicHi dougla, Micaela Durand and Daniel Chew, The Extrapolation Factor, Avram Finkelstein, Fana Fraser, Moko Fukuyam, Ebony Noelle Golden, Yulan Gran, Vicente Hansen Atria and Mat Muntz, Hugh Hayde, Madeline Hollande, Maryam Hoseini and Phoebe d'Heurle, The Illustrious Blacks, It’s Showtime NYC, Ayesha Jordan, Tahir Carl Karmali, Richard Kenned, Kinetic Light, Sam Lavigne, Maya Lee-Parrit, Prince Harve, Kyle Marshall, Asif Mian, Troy Michi, MIPSTERZ, Tyler Mitchel, Rachika Nayar, Kelsey Pyro, daaPo reo, Ricky (YATTA), Saint Abdullah, Farideh Sakhaeifar, Salsa Masala, Richard Sears, Clara Cullen, Ethan Braun, and Yael Ginosar, Harold ‘Fyütch’ Simmons, Analisa Teachworth, Christopher Udemezue (Neon Christina), Mariana Valencia, WangShui, Julia Weis, Kiyan William, Nia O. Witherspoon,  and Thanushka Yakupitiyage.

Eco Urgency: Now or Never

Co-organized by Wave Hill and Lehman College Art Gallery, Eco-Urgency: Now or Never is a two-part exhibition showing the varied responses to our current ecological crisis by artists working across wide-ranging practices. Now, the first part of the exhibition, on view at Wave Hill, brings together artists looking at the urgency of the present moment, raising awareness through a holistic approach to understanding social, political and environmental concerns.

Artists at Wave Hill: Allora & Calzadilla, Tatiana Arocha, Hannah Chalew, Lionel Cruet, Nicky Enright, Susan Rowe Harrison, Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens, Mary Mattingly, Alison Moritsugu, Alexis Rockman, SPURSE, Candace Thompson, Natalie Collette Wood, Suné Woods and Sasha Wortzel.

Artists at Lehman College Art Gallery: Vanessa Albury, Samantha Box, Nicky Enright, Rachel Frank, Alicia Grullón, Alison Janae Hamilton, Mary Mattingly, Alexis Rockman, Francesco Simeti, SPURSE, Will Wilson, Natalie Collette Wood and Ken + Julia Yonetani.

Case Studies 

Case Studies is a new series of solo exhibitions in the Alexander Kasser Theater Cases initiated by Director Megan C. Austin and Curator Jesse Bandler Firestone. 

Case Studies 1: Damien Davis – OLD CURRENCIES brings together new and recent works by Damien Davis, on loan from Uprise Art, that explore Blackness through symbols, shapes, colors, and digital technology.

Case Studies 2: Justin Cloud – The Garden brings together new and recent sculptures of machine-like flora and fauna that employ impeccable craftwork and finishing techniques to reflect changes taking place across American industries including biotechnology, agriculture, and large-scale manufacturing.

Case Studies 3: Joseph Parra – the edge of flesh and blood explores the larger consequences of searching for validation, inspiration, and intimacy through digital images by asking “How does desire change when life is mediated through screens?” 

Case Studies 4: Hilliary Gabryel – Side Sleeper explores themes of consumer culture, resale markets, the American Dream, and gender. The artist transforms vacuum-formed headboards and vanity mirrors popularized by Franco Cozzo, an Italian-Australian salesman whose bedroom sets were often given female names.