EFA - Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York
323 West 39th Street
NY-10018 New York
artists & participants
Accompaniment is an exhibition exploring "accompaniment" as an evolving theory of practice, developed in response to our cultural and political milieu. We ask: might an artistic practice characterized by distributed authorship be a catalyst for a shift in the ways we produce, exhibit, and write about art? This exhibition enacts accompaniment such that the physical, historical, and social supports within individual practices are made explicit, but also so that each participant and contribution inevitably accompanies and is accompanied in the present grouping. This model subverts the order of the soloist, laying bare a deeply stratified ground in which everything created is inscribed and contingent.
Support, understood in its widest brushstroke as the "second position," is tested, fatigued, and reified; we try to solidify forms of abstract support that sustain the practice of the artist and the body of the artist, as well as wider cultural economies. Some of the work is made manifest; some remains non-manifest; some calls into question the politics of organizing a show around accompaniment.
The show was originally titled Which is Friendship. From Michel Foucault: "They have to invent, from A to Z, a relationship that is still formless, which is friendship..." The quote presents the coevolution of language and friendship. Is friendship formless? Of all our political relationships, it is perhaps the hardest to codify or commodify. It is not an instrument. You cannot play it. It does not look like a "network," though it is often conscripted in the service of one. In fact, friendship will not work in the service of anything, never mind an exhibition. Its refusal to do so is proof of its ingenuousness.
As we enacted friendship as a practice we called "accompaniment," we learned that support is a concept fissured by: gender binaries; friendship economies, sharing, and communing; structural exploitation; privilege and subjugation; debt and dependency. The work of support is loaded unevenly into the cart. The burden is light or heavy depending on your social position.
Artists: Shannon Ebner, Dylan Gauthier, Kara Hamilton and Angie Keefer, Will Holder, Dominika Ksel, Duane Linklater, Tanya Lukin Linklater with Laura Ortman, Babette Mangolte, Rodrigo Ortiz Monasterio and Mario Garcia Torres on Conlon Nancarrow, David Morris and Pedro Cid Proença with Stefan and Franciszka Themerson, David Reinfurt, Sarah Rose, Rosalie Schweiker and Rudy Loewe, Alex Waterman, Rebecca Wilcox