press release

SculptureCenter is pleased to present Addict- Love, a solo exhibition by Tom Burr.

In Addict-Love, Tom Burr creates a set of abstract tableaux reflecting on modernity: its history, its personalities, and of course, its style. Burr ruminates on figures, moments, and the heady mises en scène that both gave rise to and were shaped by Modernism's powerful ideology. These groupings include elements that are further developments in Burr's repertory of forms. Burr describes his approach to the making of sculptural work as so many acts in a play, or stills in a film. This theatricality and his allegorical use of specific forms of the theater: platforms/stages, railings, curtains, lighting, mirrors, and personal articles that function as sculptural props suggest a history of modernism, and a history of sculpture, as a series of scripted gestures to be performed.

Three figures serve as éminence grise in Addict-Love: Frank O'Hara, Chick Austin, and Kurt Weill. The exhibition title is borrowed from a poem by Frank O'Hara. A poet of the New York School, O'Hara was also a curator at the Museum of Modern Art in the early 1960s, and counted among his circle John Ashbery and Jackson Pollack. Chick Austin, Director of the Wadsworth Atheneum 1927 - 1944, was instrumental in introducing European Modernism to the United States (hosting Picasso's first U.S. museum exhibition in 1934) and making Hartford a gathering place for the international intelligentsia including Gertrude Stein, Le Corbusier, Salvador Dali, and George Balanchine. The composer Kurt Weill is important in Burr's subjective history as an émigré whose work spanned Brechtian theater in 1920s Berlin to Tony Award-winning Broadway musicals. For Burr, each of these men embodied the modern of their own era.

Tom Burr's work, infused with both wit and melancholy, re-visits some of the central concerns of sculptural practice of the last few decades: site- specificity, monumentalism, appropriation, and theatricality. Like many of his peers (e.g., Andrea Fraser, Rachel Harrison, John Miller, and Kelley Walker), Burr pursues a critical art that emerges from a dialogue with the context of its production and display. While sculpture is his primary medium, Burr's work draws on and engages with film, theater, music, architecture, and various underground cultures. Biography also enters into many of his sculptures and installations, questioning the foundations of identity construction and subjectivity. In this particular exhibition, the role of author, particularly as director or exhibition maker, moves to the foreground as if the artist is "trying on" different artistic personae.

On Saturday, March 8, 6pm Tom Burr presents sculpture in a constricted space & other stories: a cocktail party at SculptureCenter with words by the artist and live music, a homage to Chick Austin, chairs, and other sources of influence in Burr's work.

Burr is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts and the Whitney Independent Study Program. He lives and works in Norfolk, Connecticut and New York. Burr has exhibited extensively throughout Europe in solo and group exhibitions, and was included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial. He has had recent solo exhibitions at the Secession (Vienna, Austria, 2007); and Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne (Lausanne, Switzerland, 2006). His work will be seen in New York this fall in a two-person exhibition at the Swiss Institute with Walter Pfeiffer, and Unmonumental on view through January 2008 at the New Museum.

Tom Burr: Addict-Love is presented through SculptureCenter's Artist-in-Residence program and is funded in part by contributions from Jan and Warren Adelson, The Kraus Family Foundation, The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, and The MICA Foundation/Barbara and Howard Morse.

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Tom Burr