COOLEY

DOUGLAS F. COOLEY MEMORIAL ART GALLERY, REED COLLEGE


EXHIBITIONS | CALLIGRAPHY INITIATIVE | K-12 OUTREACH | ABOUT | CONTACT | ART DEPARTMENT | REED HOME


COOLEY GALLERY NEWS /

MARCH 29, 6:30 PM, Pioneering environmental artist ALAN SONFIST lectures on his work in the chapel

ZERO RITUAL UPDATE: Due to air quality concerns in SE Portland, the Cooley has decided not to burn the ZERO. The plane will be reconstructed and celebrated on campus the week of May 2, before it is taken to a nearby clean-burning incinerator for its "return to zero."

MALIA JENSEN / IN THE COOLEY'S CASE WORKS PROGRAM—REED LIBRARY
READING ROOM
Celebrate Malia's installation March 29 after Alan Sonfist's lecture!

Sonfist

ALAN SONFIST : NATURAL HISTORY

March 29 – June 12, 2016
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 12 to 5 pm, closed Monday.
Groups and classes welcome. Please contact director Stephanie Snyder to schedule class tours.

Alan Sonfist (b. 1946, Bronx, New York) is among the first generation of 1960’s artists who began to explore the natural environment as both the site of, and the material for, creative practice. Sonfist is perhaps best known for his project Time Landscape, a handcrafted New York City park located at the corner of Houston Street and La Guardia Place in Greenwich Village.

In Time Landscape Sonfist researched, cultivated, and planted a park of indigenous foliage that grew on Manhattan island prior to European settlement. Project development began in 1965, the planting was completed in 1978, and the work continues in perpetuity. Time Landscape’s evolving, open-ended interaction with New York’s bustling urbanism epitomizes the artist’s attention to the evolving and contingent dynamics motivating our understanding of the natural world.

Unlike many of the most well known artists associated with the Land Art movement—such as Robert Smithson, Michael Heizer, and Walter De Maria—Sonfist’s work is distinguished by its sustained and multifaceted investigation of humanity’s interaction with nature. While other Land Artists journeyed into the landscape to explore its magnanimity and symbolism in spaces largely devoid of human presence, Sonfist investigates nature in the context of human habitation, at times literally bringing nature back to the urban environment and the museum.

By focusing on Sonfist’s work created between 1960 and 1980, Alan Sonfist: Natural History expands our awareness of Land Art’s broader ecological and historical implications, particularly its influence on the development of installation and social practice art. It could be argued that today, when many of the aesthetic innovations associated with Land Art and conceptual art more generally have been thoroughly integrated into contemporary artistic and museological practice, it is the content and biocentrism of land-based practices that have become most crucial to contemporary culture.



From the beginning of his career, Sonfist extended the aesthetic implications of Land Art by bringing its ecological significance to the fore, engaging—or perhaps reengaging—the long tradition of artistic representations of the landscape and the natural environment in relationship to its own fragmented history within urban culture. For Sonfist, nature presents an infinite number of viable subjects for artistic reflection.

Despite the fact that his work has been collected by many major public and private collections, including: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Ludwig Museum in Aachen, Germany, Sonfist has not received the same level of attention as some of the other artists associated with Land Art. Alan Sonfist: Natural History, brings a renewed attention to Sonfist’s extensive and multifaceted oeuvre, in particular his research-based and performance practices.

The exhibition includes over ninety works of art, including rare photographs and films, as well as drawings and sculptures. The exhibition also provides the first extensive consideration of Sonfist’s performance works in which the artist ventured into nature to “become one” with the environment. The exhibition presents a nuanced understanding of the artist’s early career, situating his work within some of the most important artistic tendencies of the past thirty years, and demonstrating the increasing relevancy of Sonfist’s exploration of humankind’s relationship with the environment.

A Companion Edition reader accompanies the exhibition. Companion Editions is a special publication imprint of the Cooley Gallery Reed College, designed by Heather Watkins. The reader features two essays by the show’s lead curators Robert Slifkin and Stephanie Snyder, and an essay by the show’s assistant curator Allison Tepper. Alan Sonfist: Natural History will be an essential reference for anyone interested in exploring Sonfist’s work, and the history and legacy of the Land Art movement.

EXHIBITION CURATORS: Robert Slifkin, Associate Professor of Fine Arts, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and Stephanie Snyder, John and Anne Hauberg Curator and Director, Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College, with Assistant Curator Allison Tepper, Curatorial Project Assistant, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.



THE DOUGLAS F. COOLEY MEMORIAL
ART GALLERY, REED COLLEGE
3203 SE WOODSTOCK BLVD.
PORTLAND, OREGON 97202-8199


HOURS: NOON TO 5 P.M., TUESDAY – SUNDAY, FREE
LOCATED ON THE MAIN FLOOR OF THE REED LIBRARY


The mission of the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery is to enhance the academic offerings of Reed College with a diverse range of scholarly exhibitions, lectures, and colloquia in its role as a teaching gallery.

The gallery was established by a generous 1988 gift from Sue and Edward Cooley and John and Betty Gray "in support of the teaching of art history at Reed College, as part of an interdisciplinary educational experience that strengthens the art history component of Reed's distinctive humanities program." Exhibitions are coordinated in collaboration with Reed faculty members and courses, with attention to the needs and interests of the larger Portland and Northwest arts communities. A schedule of three to four exhibitions during the academic year brings to Reed and the Portland community work that would not otherwise be seen in the region.



 
Stephanie Snyder
John and Anne Hauberg Curator and Director
Office: 503.777.7251
Fax: 503.788.6691
Cell: 503.367.7004
snyders[at]reed.edu

Colleen Gotze
Registrar and Program Coordinator
Office: 503.517.7851
Fax: 503.788.6691
gotzec[at]reed.edu

Greg MacNaughton
Education Outreach Coordinator
Calligraphy Initiative Coordinator
Office: 503-517-7677
Cell: 503.929-3663
Fax: 503.788.6691
macnaugg[at]reed.edu

Please email Registrar Colleen Gotze to be added to the Cooley Gallery announcement list and for general gallery questions.