press release

The Anderson Gallery, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Museum of the Arts, will present works by 11 internationally acclaimed artists this fall in the exhibition Surface Charge. Organized by the New York-based curators Sabine Russ and Gregory Volk, the exhibition will be on view from September 23 through December 4, 2005. The public is invited to an opening reception on September 23, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.

A standard museum practice is to import art works in order to display them on the walls or on the floor; Surface Charge aims to thoroughly alter this practice. Works in Surface Charge will be created directly on and with the walls of the Anderson Gallery, turning its very surfaces into active forces, as opposed to neutral supports. A variety of techniques will be used, and most of the works will exist only for the duration of the exhibition.

Ragna Róbertsdóttir (Iceland) will apply thousands of lava chips from a volcano in Iceland directly to the wall, while Karin Sander (Germany) will sand and polish a section of wall, turning it into a shimmering, highly reflective field. Odili Donald Odita (Nigeria/U.S.) will compose abstract paintings on the walls, and Elana Herzog (U.S.) will staple and sew textiles into the wall. Lawrence Weiner (U.S.), long one of the main figures associated with Conceptual Art, will apply enigmatic phrases to the wall, while Karina Peisajovich (Argentina) will create a light and painting installation that responds to the specifics of the space. Kim Schoenstadt (U.S.) will both draw on and cut into the wall to create a large, architecturally inflected work while K atrin Sigurdardottir (Iceland) will present three sculptures that conflate walls, abstract forms, and Icelandic landscape imagery. Surface Charge will include a riveting video by Maix Mayer (Germany) involving empty walls in a newly built museum in Leipzig. Lisa Sigal (U.S.) will create a three-dimensional painting installation with elements on, and springing from, the walls. Completing the exhibition will be a sprawling wall collage of textile and felt silhouettes by Sally Smart (Australia) replete with references to Australian culture and the artist’s personal life.

Most of the artists—who hail from Argentina, Australia, Germany, Iceland and the United States—will be present during a 10-day installation period. Students from VCU’s top-ranking School of the Arts will provide assistance, resulting in a unique educational opportunity. "We are very pleased to bring together this distinguished group of established and emerging international artists," says Richard E. Toscan, VCU's Vice-Provost of International Affairs and Dean of the School of the Arts. “This exhibition represents our commitment to making Anderson Gallery a leading venue for contemporary art."

Surface Charge is the 15 th exhibition co-curated by Sabine Russ and Gregory Volk, who are known for their unusual themes; international scope; tendency to mix older, well-established figures with younger artists; and for the visual appeal of their shows. Sabine Russ, a native of Leipzig, Germany, who has lived in New York since 1994, is an art critic and curator and Managing Editor of American Historical Publications. Gregory Volk is an art critic, curator and associate professor in the Department of Painting and Printmaking and the Department of Sculpture + Extended Media at VCU’s School of the Arts.

While many of the works in Surface Charge will disappear once the exhibition is dismantled, a catalogue will document the exhibition and provide information on the artists and their works. The catalogue will be published in December 2005.

Since 1971, the Anderson Gallery has been one of the most important venues for contemporary art in the Southeast, with exhibitions of work by noted artists such as Yoko Ono, Gregory Crewdson, Teresita Fernandez, Sally Mann, Douglas Bourgeois, Gregory Barsamian, Dale Chihuly, Jim Campbell, and Heide Fasnacht. Guest curators have included Edward Albee, the renowned playwright; John Yau, noted art critic and poet; and Robert Hobbs, who holds the Rhoda Thalhimer Endowed Chair in American Art at VCU and is also visiting professor at Yale University.


Surface Charge
Exhibition Turns the Museum Into a Collection of Temporary Art Works
Kuratoren: Sabine Russ, Gregory Volk

mit Elana Herzog, Maix Mayer, Odili Donald Odita, Karina Peisajovich, Ragna Robertsdottir, Karin Sander, Kim Schoenstadt, Lisa Sigal, Katrin Sigurdardottir, Sally Smart, Lawrence Weiner