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Jason Simon

Imprint

Opening: Wednesday, May 23, 6–8pm

May 23 – July 13, 2018

A view of the temporary wall in the gallery, where we see "Flag" on the back wall, and the wall to the left of the gallery with several "Muffs & Gaffs" and "lobby cards"
A view of the temporary wall where we see "Flag" through the window, and a "Muff & Gaff" at the left. We see the wall to the right of the temporary wall, which includes one "Muff & Gaff" and a column of 3 "lobby cards"
A closer crop of the corner in the front gallery: 1 "Muff & Gaff" artwork is situated to the left of the window in the temporary wall, with 2 "lobby cards" installed at right of the window. We also see one "Muff & Gaff" on the next wall around the corner
A corner of the gallery that includes the temporary wall. We see 3 "Muffs & Gaffs" sculptures separating sections of "lobby cards"
Two "Muffs & Gaffs" sculptures hung on the wall are stationed between 2 sets of "lobby cards": the first set of card is a column of 3 works; the second set is 2 columns of 3 works each.
An installation of 6 rectangular lobby card artworks hung on the wall in 2 columns of 3. Colors are mostly purple, yellow, orange, blue, with black and white photographs.
A side view of the "Muff & Gaff" at-right of the front door. We see in the background an arrangement of 6 "lobby cards" hung on the wall in 2 columns of 3. There is another "Muff & Gaff" at-left of the "lobby cards"
A single "Muff & Gaff" sculpture, seen at-right of the front door. The images shows the sculpture in the center, with windows on either side.
The front area of the gallery, where we see the door and window. There are 5 "Muffs & Gaff" artworks installed at the left of the door. There is one "Muff & Gaff" at right of the door.
A single wall: 6 "Muffs & Gaffs," 4 "lobby card" artworks. They are hung idiosyncratically, like musical notes moving slightly above and below a central line.
An installation of three works hung on the wall. They are hung a triangle arrangement with the third work on the left, equally stationed between the other 2 hung to the right.
A single wall: 4 "Muffs & Gaffs" sculptures are installed (1, then a group of 3), with 2 sets of 2 "lobby cards" separating them, in a single column.
An image looking through a small rectangular hole in the gallery's temporary wall: we see "Flag" partially, and numerous "Muffs & Gaffs" and "lobby cards" at left.
A view of "Flag" on the back wall. At left we see several "lobby card" works, and several "Muffs & Gaffs" sculptures.
A view of a video being played on a CRT monitor installed on the ground, 3 "lobby cards" in the distance, and at-left we see a crop of Simon's "Flag" artwork.
An image of the gallery with a CRT monitor playing a video in the foreground, with 2 headsets on top of the television. In the background we see the gallery windows, and numerous "lobby card" works installed on the wall, several "Muffs & Gaffs" sculptures installed upon the white walls.
An image of the gallery with a CRT monitor playing a video in the foreground, with 2 headsets on top of the television. In the background we see the gallery windows, and numerous "Muffs and Gaffs" sculptures installed upon the white walls.
A "lobby card": print on dibond that is orange and brown with an abstracted pair of children. "2 TOUCH" is printed on the dibond in baby blue. There is a black and white photograph of a woman touching a man's face in the lower-left of the dibond, glued on.
An abstract composition of blue, black, and white printed on dibond, appearing like a lava lamp. "the other of sensuousness" is printed in blue on the bottom-left of the dibond. There is a black and white photograph glued to the dibond of a young boy swinging his hips to the right, seen from behind.
A yellow, abstracted image of a dog looking to the right with visual static near the top of the image. Centered on the bottom of the dibond is written "The Plow." A black and white photograph of two people with their legs up-and-over their heads, on the floor (the plow yoga pose) on a carpet.
Magazines arranged in 6 rows of 16 that make a visual that appears like an American flag from a distance: there are magazines with blue covers at the upper-left, and all other magazines are black, white, and red.
A detail of the red-white-black "Gamecock" magazine, which each have a photograph of a fighting chicken in side profile.
A detail of color-printed covers of Gamecock magazine, which are bordered by blue and white at the top and bottom of each magazine. The chickens on the covers remain in side profile, but are in color.
A "lobby card": print on dibond is green-white-yellow like a lava lamp. At the bottom-left in pink letters is written "The Concept of Play." At middle-right is a black-and-white photograph of a man with his mouth open, sitting on the ground.
A "lobby card": print on dibond is yellow, looks like static or a close-up of a motherboard with vertical lines. In the center is a black-and-white photograph of a boy looking down, with a small mirror in his right hand and situated directly to the left of his own face. We see his nose, eyes, and mouth in the round mirror.
Two mannequin hands attached at the wrists, installed on the wall like a downward "U". There are muffs (small foam balls covered in colored leather) and gaffs (sharp blades) attached to the hands with brass wire.
A wooden mannequin hand set upon a raw steel shelf that projects outward from the wall. There are muffs (leather-covered balls of foam) and gaffs (small blades) attached to the hand with brass wire.
A red mannequin hand set upon a steel shelf painted black that projects outward from the wall. There are muffs (leather-covered balls of foam) and gaffs (small blades) attached to the hand with brass wire.q
Two mannequin hands (one black plastic, one wooden) with their fingers touching, set upon a raw steel shelf that projects outward from the wall. There are muffs (leather-covered balls of foam) and gaffs (small blades) attached to the hand with brass wire.
Two mannequin hands (one pink plastic, one wooden) set upon a raw steel shelf that projects outward from the wall. There are muffs (leather-covered balls of foam) and gaffs (small blades) attached to the hand with brass wire.

Press Release

Callicoon Fine Arts proudly presents Imprint, Jason Simon’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. Simon’s installation extends his work in media histories through found and collected materials, sculpture, photo-collage, and video.

Imprint juxtaposes the strange with the familiar and autobiographical, suggesting both reside in compromised and overlapping media memories. A series of "lobby cards," for example, normally a promotional item for movies, combines Simon's processed analog video frame-grabs with documentation from the field of Creative Dramatics. Simon's mother, Josephine, trained in Creative Dramatics—her practicum doctoral dissertation from 1972 is the source of imagery, text, and imagined titles. Within the gallery, context emerges via contrasting mediums and methods, suggestive sightlines, and the idea of hand-me-down sensations.

As a genre of theater, Creative Dramatics positions itself within utopian pedagogy: through play and story, touch and movement, the body becomes an agent of empathy and democratized self-expression. Simon's video, From Creative Dramatics to Owego, narrated in part by Josephine, rehearses her methodology on-screen. Recorded visits to the Experimental Television Center in upstate New York in the early 2000s, interspersed with processed visuals, nods to Simon’s background in electronic media. Both alternative video and Creative Dramatics exercised a language of liberation that remains contradictory, unresolved. On the gallery's website, a video Simon created in collaboration with his college students activates Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos’ poetry of anarchism, masquerading as a news conference, where projections double as fact.

In the gallery, outdated and outlaw material history intersect. The Gamecock, a magazine devoted to cockfighting, is assembled into a large grid entitled Flag. In the shadow of the birds, arranged into a chorus or citizenry, an ideological tension sprouts from even a whisper of the damned sport, the periodicals only recently banned after a century of national circulation promoting the persistent cruelty. Proceeding from anthropologist Clifford Geertz’s sense of deep play—the continual engagement with an impossibly high stakes scenario, ranking status over sustenance—and from Charles Willeford’s pulp-fiction novel, Cockfighter, whose hard-boiled hero operates under a vow of silence, Simon draws attention to American valences.

Rather than define or dismiss, Simon recovers references for recycling and interpretation, perhaps with a dose of wishful thinking. His bricolage sculptures of mannequin, nail salon, and jewelry display hands, each adorned with leather and metal accessories usually reserved for gamecocks, disconnect from the ‘sport’. These works, titled Muffs and Gaffs, are attached to metal shelves at the wrist, suggestive of a recreational purpose or couture. Cockfighting serves as an oscillating frame of reference, at once an anthropomorphic vocabulary of adornment, and allusion to sparring rhetoric. For Imprint, Simon approaches artifact-ambiguity, circulating on eBay among cockfighting connoisseurs or archives of Creative Dramatics, as a contradictory logic of the present.

 

Jason Simon (b. 1961) is an artist who lives and works in New York and teaches at The College of Staten Island, City University of New York. Solo exhibitions include Request Lines are Open, Callicoon Fine Arts, NY (2015); In and Around the Ohio Pen, Sismografo, Porto, Portugal (2015); and Changeover, Artexte, Montreal (2014). Recent group exhibitions have taken place at Azkuna Zentroa, Bilbao; mumok, Vienna; The Kitchen, New York; Dazibao, Montreal; Yale Union, Portland, Oregon; and Ibid, London. Simon’s videos are distributed by The Video Data Bank and Icarus Films. His writing has appeared in Artforum, May Journal, Parkett, Frieze, Springerin, and Afterimage. Simon and Moyra Davey’s “Ten Years of the One Minute Film Festival” was hosted by MASS MoCA in 2013. Simon was a founding member of the cooperatively run gallery, Orchard (2005–08), and he established the Art & Tech filmmaking residency facility at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. This summer, his work will appear in The Conditions of Being Art: Pat Hearn Gallery and American Fine Arts, Co (1983–2004), at the Hessel Museum, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.

Callicoon Fine Arts is located at 49 Delancey Street between Forsyth and Eldridge Streets. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm. The nearest subway stops are the B and D trains at Grand Street and the F, J, M and Z trains at Delancey-Essex Street.

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