Austin, Texas - The Contemporary Austin debuts CATALIN, 2014, and presents Pet Sounds, 2012, two installations by Los Angeles-based artist Charles Long. These projects open on January 18, 2014, and will be on view through April 20, 2014, at The Contemporary Austin's two venues, the Jones Center and Laguna Gloria. Enveloping viewers in multisensory experiences through the use of sound, film, sculpture, and other elements, Long's installations are by turns seductive, playful, and uncanny. Known for his history of partnering with other artists and organizations, for CATALIN, Long has collaborated with the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, Chasing Ice, Jeneene Chatowsky, Ecovative, Eluvium, Seth Hawkins, John Hiler, Kerstin Hovland, Emery Martin, Timothy Morton, Carrie Paterson, Alison Petty, Karen Reitzel, Solid Concepts, SXSW, and Anna Wittenberg.
CATALIN takes its name from a plastic popular in the 1930s that was used to make jewelry and other Art Deco objects. Beautiful but ultimately toxic and subject to rapid decay, this plastic serves as the exhibition's conceptual and visual centerpiece. CATALIN will present the viewer with an eerie and immersive landscape filled with fragrance, film, sculpture, and performance. Moving through CATALIN, the viewer will encounter an array of sights, sounds, and scents, including a flotilla of iceberg sculptures and a crypt grown from mushrooms with a piece of Catalin at its base. This installation continues Long's engagement with the relationships among nature, culture, and ecological collapse by toying with the fragility of natural and man-made environments.
"From the trivial to the catastrophic, specificity of objects has been the focus of my sculptural investigation," states Long. "I employ the autonomy of the sculptural object for metaphysical speculation, political awareness, and individual and social experience for others to creatively engage with the objects and ideas I present." Newly commissioned by The Contemporary Austin and on view at the Jones Center, CATALIN simultaneously investigates themes of beauty, toxicity, and decay while expanding the traditional experience of viewing sculpture into an all-encompassing engagement of the senses.
Viewers will also have the opportunity to encounter Long's mischievous and interactive installation, Pet Sounds, 2012, on the grounds of Laguna Gloria. In this work, colorful, biomorphic blobs will populate a wooded area on the outdoor grounds. To the delight of the viewer, however, these sculptures are not just for looking; when stroked, patted, or rubbed, they emit a variety of musical sounds and vibrations. Titled after the 1966 Beach Boys album of the same name, Pet Sounds was originally created for New York City's Madison Square Park as a way to engage the relational and communal aspects of public spaces. Similarly, the installation will invigorate Laguna Gloria's historic grounds, but in the context of a new formation, setting, and audience, Long's playful and provocative objects will morph in intent and meaning.
"With these two projects, The Contemporary Austin presents what we hope will be an equally engaging but radically different experience from our inaugural fall exhibitions—here, transforming both the museum's downtown spaces and a wooded section of the outdoor grounds into complex, interactive environments," notes Senior Curator Heather Pesanti. "The dark undertones of CATALIN, as seen in its commentary on the dire global ecological situation, are counteracted by the all-encompassing immersiveness and sheer beauty of its objects and imagery. Likewise, the joyful interactivity and kid colors of Pet Sounds are coupled with the mysterious nature of its curling, organic shapes, evoking oversized insects, toxic waste, or otherworldly intrusions onto the landscape."
This exhibition is organized by Senior Curator Heather Pesanti.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Charles Long, born in 1958 in Long Branch, New Jersey, currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Recent solo exhibitions of his work have been held at Jarla Partilager, Berlin (2013); Madison Square Park, New York (2012); the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2011); and SITE Santa Fe (2005). His work has also been included in numerous group exhibitions at venues including Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2013); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2010, 2004, 2001, 1999); the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (2007, 2006); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2000); and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2008, 1997). He was the recipient of an Award of Merit Medal for Sculpture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and two Pollock-Krasner Foundation grants. His work is held in the collections of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Long received his MFA from Yale University and is represented by the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York.
ABOUT THE CONTEMPORARY AUSTIN
The Contemporary Austin reflects the spectrum of contemporary art through exhibitions, commissions, education, and the collection.
SELECT PUBLIC PROGRAMS
Artist Talk: Charles Long
Saturday, January 18, 2P
Jones Center - Free with admission
Charles Long's practice might be compared to that of an alchemist: the blending of art, science, and spirituality, driven by a sincere pursuit of answers to existential questions, imbued with a healthy dose of imagination and play. For this public talk, Long will put his outdoor multisensory sculpture Pet Sounds, 2012, and newly commissioned immersive environment CATALIN, 2014, in the context of his past work.
Good Taste - Co-presented with Edible Austin
Thursday, February 6, 6-8P
Jones Center - Advanced tickets recommended
$15/$10 for members
This quarterly series connects the art on view with local and sustainable food. Inspired by Charles Long use of fungi in the exhibition CATALIN, join us for an evening sampling mushrooms and cultured food and drink.
Visiting Lecture: Ali Subotnick, Hammer Museum
Thursday, February 20, 7P
Jones Center - Free with admission
This series brings internationally renowned contemporary arts professionals from around the globe to Austin to present a free public lecture and attend studio visits with area-based artists. Ali Subotnick, Hammer Museum (UCLA) curator, will join Senior Curator Heather Pesanti in conversation.
Talk: Timothy Morton - Co-presented with SXSW Eco
Friday, March 7, 5-7P
Jones Center Roof Deck - Reception and conversation
RSVP required, limited reservations
For his immersive exhibition CATALIN, Long is inspired by ecological theorist Timothy Morton's writing and has invited him to speak. Morton, based at Rice University, writes about the cultural significance and context of "dark ecology," environmentalism, and object-oriented philosophy, and will sign his latest book, Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology After the End of the World.
Rooftop Film: Biophilic Design: The Architecture of Life
Wednesday, March 26, Roof opens 7P, film at 8P
Jones Center Roof Deck
$10/Free for members
We need nature in a deep and fundamental fashion, but we have often designed our cities and suburbs in ways that both degrade the environment and alienate us from nature. Biophilic Design, 2011, features buildings that connect people and nature: hospitals where patients heal faster, schools where children's test scores are higher, offices where workers are more productive, and communities where people know more of their neighbors and families thrive.
Performance: Sam Green & Yo La Tengo, The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller, 2012
In partnership with Fusebox Festival
Thursday, April 17, 7P & 9P
State Theater, 719 Congress Ave.
Tickets $25/$20 museum members
Available at fuseboxfestival.com
The Contemporary Austin presents Sam Green's latest "live documentary" project accompanied by the legendary musicians of Yo La Tengo (Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew). Love Song examines Fuller's remarkable life as a visionary architect, designer, and social critic, most famous for his creation of the geodesic dome. Green draws heavily from the Fuller archive at Stanford University, an astonishing collection of notes, letters, blueprints, photographs, films, and ephemera that contains a wonderful record of the utopian thinker and creator's massive body of work. Yo La Tengo's eclectic indie rock provides live musical accompaniment to the film and Green's live narration.
Drop in for tours catered to your interests Saturdays and Sundays at Laguna Gloria at 1P and Tuesdays at the Jones Center at 12P. Free.
For information about The Contemporary Austin, please visit www.thecontemporaryaustin.org. Follow us on Twitter: @ContemporaryATX.