Various Artists: A Promise is a Cloud

About the Exhibition

Like the atmospheric transformation of a cloud into rain, some works of art have the potential to change their form and meaning. Borrowing its title from the proverb, “a promise is a cloud, fulfillment is rain,” this exhibition explores the idea of potentiality, whether drawing out a relationship between artworks and actions, or, focusing on the interaction between the objects and the architecture of MetroTech Center. In both their static and evolving states, the artworks installed throughout the Commons incorporate a capacity for transformation—either in their form, process, or visual language.

This exhibition is curated by Andria Hickey.



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Featured Artists

A Promise is a Cloud includes artworks by Ohad Meromi, Adam Pendleton, Erin Shirreff, and Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries.

Ohad Meromi, Stepanova, 2011
Painted aluminum, dimensions variable.
Courtesy the artist and Harris Lieberman Gallery.

This large modular work, composed of 13 conical forms, reconsiders public sculpture as a stage and explores the relationship between architectural forms and interaction and agency. Over the course of the work’s year-long installation, Ohad Meromi will invite members of the public to move individual elements of the piece on two specific occasions, expanding upon his thinking of the sculpture as being “open” to new possibilities. The work’s title,Stepanova, is a reference to the Russian avant-garde constructivist artist, Vavara Stepanova (1894–1958), whose work also involved theatrical set design. A sister piece to Stepanova, fabricated by Meromi in wood, is called Popova, in reference to Lyubov Popova, a collaborator of Stepanova’s.

Ohad Meromi (b. 1967, Kibbutz Mizra, Israel) lives and works in New York City. Meromi graduated from Bezalel Academy (1992) and went on to receive his MFA from Columbia University School of the Arts (2003). He has exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Herzliya; 2nd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art; Lyon Biennial, France; Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin; Magasin 3, Stockholm; De Appel Museum, Amsterdam; Sculpture Center, New York; PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York; and Art in General, New York. Meromi has received numerous scholarships and awards including a Percent for Art commission (2009), the Foundation for Contemporary Arts 2008 Grants to Artists Award, and the Nathan Gottesdiener Foundation Israeli Art Prize (1998), as well as awards from the Fund for Video and Experimental Film (2004) and the I.C. Excellence Foundation (2003).

Adam Pendleton, Black Dada Flags, 2011
16 vinyl flags, 5 x 7 feet each, courtesy the artist and Shane Campbell Gallery.

With this work Adam Pendleton furthers his Black Dada project, a long-term exploration pairing two concepts: Dada, the early 20th-century absurdist cultural movement, and the notion of “black” as an open-ended signifier. Inspired by a 1960s performance in Central Park by the language-poet Hannah Weiner that was said to incorporate flags and abstract poetry, the work features sixteen large silver, black, and white flags along the axis of the Myrtle Promenade. Together the flags play with the traditional function of the flag as a recognizable and authoritative symbol. Each flag features a unique and increasingly abstract design drawn from the visual language of Pendleton’s Black Dada, in this case derived in part from reproduced images of Sol LeWitt’s sculpture series Incomplete Open Spaces (1974). Like LeWitt’s variable forms, the flags create a new variation on Black Dada as the wind folds the fabric in innumerable ways.

Adam Pendleton (b. 1984, Richmond, Virginia) lives and works in New York City. Major exhibitions include BAND, The Kitchen, New York (2010); Greater New York, MoMA PS1, New York (2010); The Generational: Younger Than Jesus, New Museum, New York (2010); Manifesta 7, Trentino-South Tyrol, Italy (2008); After 1968: Contemporary Artists and the Civil Rights Legacy, High Museum of Art, Atlanta (2008); Object, The Undeniable Success of Operations, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2008); Manifesto Marathon, The Serpentine Gallery, London (2008); Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll Since 1967, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2007); Performa 07, New York (2007); Talk Show, ICA London (2007); and Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art Since the 1970s, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (2005).

Erin Shirreff, Sculpture for Snow, 2011
Painted aluminum.
Courtesy Lisa Cooley Fine Arts.

Sculpture for Snow by Erin Shirreff considers what is lost in translation between two- and three-dimensional forms. Expanding upon her 2006 video involving several iconic Tony Smith sculptures, this new work transforms the film’s maquette into a life-size sculpture and extends the artist’s ongoing investigation of the relationship between objects, images, and time. In situ, the dimensionality of the sculpture shifts with the viewer’s perspective—from one angle the sculpture shows a verisimilitude to Smith’s iconic work, Amarylis (1965-1968). At another angle, it can be likened to a drawing or a large-scale folded piece of paper: weightless and airy. Likewise, the texture and surface of this sculpture will be transformed by the natural elements, gathering snow and rain throughout the yearlong installation and further changing how we experience the work.

Erin Shirreff (b. 1975, Kelowna, Canada) lives and works in New York City. She received her BFA from University of Victoria (1998) and her MFA from Yale University (2005). Recent exhibitions include Surface, Structure & Absence, White Cube, London (2011); Another Victory Over the Sun, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, Colorado (2011); The Anxiety of Photography, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado (2011); To What Earth Does This Sweet Cold Belong, The Power Plant, Toronto, Ontario (2011); Still, Flat and Far, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2010); Which Witch is Which? and/or Summertime, White Flag Projects, St. Louis (2010); Immaterial, Ballroom Marfa, Texas (2010); Between Here and There: Passages in Contemporary Photography, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2010); Greater New York, MoMA PS1, New York (2010); Knight’s Move, Sculpture Center, New York (2010). Her work is also included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, among others.

Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, The Struggle Continues,, 2011
Flash animation, 8:42 min loop.
Courtesy the artist.

This web-based Flash animation, created using Monaco type and original jazz music, flashes resounding declarations on a screen in the MetroTech Commons plaza at a manic pace. The Struggle Continues, by Young-Hae Change Heavy Industries originally launched in 2007, has been modified in this new version and created in response to the exhibition invitation. As the narrative unfolds over nearly nine minutes, the dialogue juxtaposes a critical discussion of class, freedom, and equality, with a struggle for the most human of desires, love and sex.

Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries (b. Young-hae Chang, Korea; Marc Voge, USA) live and work in Seoul. YHCHI has created works in 17 languages that have been presented at some of the world’s premier institutions including Centre Pompidou, Paris (2008); New Museum (2007); and Tate, London (2006). YHCHI presented a new work for the 2011 Mercosul Biennial, in Porto Alegre, Brazil.