Tenet: Wall Begins to Know Itself
Curator-Mentor: Maren Hassinger
March 5 – April 2, 2022
CUE Art Foundation is pleased to present Wall Begins to Know Itself, a solo exhibition by Tenet, curated and mentored by Maren Hassinger. Consisting of sculptures and wall-hanging assemblages crafted from wood, papier-mache, photographs, and other materials, the exhibition explores how urban spaces unsettle the boundaries between public and private, past and present, functional and nonfunctional. Tenet, a collaboration between Julia Eshaghpour and Kevin Hollidge, is interested in the tension – and humor – created where architecture butts up against itself: where it has been renovated or erased over time, and where the past shows through, both in subtle traces and stubborn gestures.
Throughout the exhibition, Tenet draws much of their visual language from New York City’s Lower East Side tenement architecture. They are particularly interested in the embellishments that decorate late 19th and early 20th century building facades, which were produced by and for the working-class immigrants who lived there. Turn of the century mass-production allowed access to a style of classical ornamentation which had been historically characteristic of upper and middle-class homes. Tenet’s work is informed by these iconographies and their changing meanings.
In Tenet’s Frame series, architectural moments are distilled in dollhouse-sized snapshots: a clear shower curtain hangs against bright blue tiles, tiny wooden floorboards stretch the length of a railroad apartment, a staircase crosses its way in front of newspaper-backed window cutouts. Layered together, these motifs slide between detailed rendering and near obfuscation. The quiet strangeness of each piece echoes the poetics of city life – a hodgepodge of moments melded into a quotidian backdrop.
Complementing these wall-hanging pieces, larger sculptures like Ledge and Intrusion of Functional Reality occupy the gallery space at the scale of household furniture. Ledge evokes a distorted countertop, slanting and jutting out in all the wrong places. A rectangular cutout exposes a baluster (a decorative pillar used for railing supports or furniture legs) nestled inside. “In creating these hybrid forms,” Tenet writes in the exhibition catalogue, they “propose new ways to look at spaces — their uses, limitations and contradictions — and consider how they are altered, or should be altered, to reflect how we live.”
Tenet is a collaboration between Julia Eshaghpour and Kevin Hollidge. Julia and Kevin live and work in New York, NY, and both completed a B.A. in Fine Art from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN in 2017. Selected exhibitions include: “To Defeat the Purpose: Guerilla Tactics in Latin American Art” Aoyama Meguro Gallery, (Tokyo 2020), “Seen but Not Noticed” Institute for New Connotative Action, (Portland 2020), “Bubble: Presented by Joel Dean” Gern En Regalia, (New York 2019), “Sukkot” 211 Montrose, (Brooklyn 2019), “Vestigial” Biquini Wax, (Mexico City 2018), “No Más Antes Los Ojos” Tiro Al Blanco, (Guadalajara 2018). This is their first solo presentation in New York.
Maren Hassinger (b. 1947, Los Angeles, CA) has built an expansive practice that connects humanity to nature through a range of media. Carefully choosing materials for their innate characteristics, she has explored the subject of movement, family, love, nature, environment, consumerism, identity, and race. In each context, the artist creates an eloquent response to timely issues regarding our relationship to the natural world and to each other.
A selection of recent solo exhibitions include The Window, at Dia Bridgehampton and We Are All Vessels, at Susan Inglett Gallery. Her public installations include Monument, in Washington D.C. through the Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative and Nature, Sweet Nature, which traveled from the Aspen Art Museum to Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, Oklahoma City.
Hassinger is the recipient of numerous honors, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women’s Caucus for the Arts. Hassinger’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; Baltimore Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art, NYC; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC, among others. Hassinger is represented by Susan Inglett Gallery in New York City.