The National Academy of Design’s new exhibition, Sites of Impermanence, celebrates the contributions of the 2023 Class of National Academicians: Alice Adams, Sanford Biggers, Willie Cole, Torkwase Dyson, Richard Gluckman, Carlos Jiménez, Mel Kendrick, and Sarah Oppenheimer. On view in New York City now through May 11, the show focuses on their engagements with architecture, site-specific interventions, land art, assemblage, printmaking, drawing, interactive installation, and the skillful synthesis of visual art and architecture, practices central to the founding of the National Academy of Design in 1825.
This group of artists and architects share a common thread: They push against binary thinking and the dominance of dichotomies, blurring boundaries drawn between nature and human, human and machine, spirit and object, architectural systems and their constituent parts. They defy classification, prompting a critical assessment of the origins of so-called “high culture” and the infinite modes of identification that define the United States’ aesthetic landscape in the 21st century.
Collectively, the works on view make clear that to be situated in the contemporary is to have one foot in the present and one in the future, and to contend with constant change and transformations that are partially shaped by gains and losses, progress and reversals. All of this contributes to expanded notions of what retains cultural value over time. Sites of Impermanence is a dialogue about the conditions that have led to this contemporary moment in which the future is uncertain. As leading practitioners in their respective fields, the 2023 Class of National Academicians demonstrate how powerful art and architecture are as forces that move the needle of perception, by design or by inadvertent discovery, divining new meaning from familiar objects, materials, conceptual tropes, and physical locations.
Sites of Impermanence is co-curated by Sara Reisman, Chief Curator, and Natalia Viera Salgado, Associate Curator.
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