Drawers accumulate objects. We use them in our homes and offices to store, file, or hide our messy lives. Rummaging through them can yield unexpected discoveries — objects that are markers of ourselves at different times under different circumstances. While most drawers hold person memories, the cabinet in this room had a more public purpose. Inherited from the Museum of the American Indian, it was designed to preserve and display archeological specimens. The individually labeled drawers held arrowheads and other artifacts that had been removed from their original sites and organized scientifically by tribe and object type. Scholars used them to compile data and form theories. For scientists and the public alike, the contents of these drawers were used to make sense of the world.
When invited to curate an exhibition for Triple Candie using this museum case, with its 72 drawers, we set out to explore how creative people from various professions — artists, curators, writers, architects, and others — might represent something as vast and unknowable as the world, with all its systems and structures, in the confines of a single drawer. How have travel, our personal interests, and the media informed how we see and think of the world? What objects, images, symbols, maps, photos, or shapes would one choose to represent it?
The contents of each drawer range from the grand to the personal, from the factual to the metaphoric, from visual puns to diagrams, paintings and sculptures. The top of the cabinet contains objects that relate to each of the drawers — Ambassadors, if you will. The Ambassadors are arranged according to similar object type and/or characteristics to create a dialog of like specimens in keeping with the spirit of the historical museum case.
Thomas Allsopp, Paul Atela, Gudjon Bjarnason, Mathieu Borysevicz, Alison Bradley, Helen Brough, Johnson Chang, Alexandra Chang and Matthew Hockenos, Long-Bin Chen, Margaret Cogswell, Lois Conner, Peggy Cypher, Lisa Corrine Davis, Santiago Cucullu, Robin Dash, Julie Evans, Solange Fabiao, Jane Fine, Richard Gien, Andrew Ginzel, Richard Gluckman, Deborah Grant, Joanne Greenbaum, Alex Grey, Wenda Gu, Ingo Gunther, Jane Hammond, Julie Heffernan, Betti-Sue Hertz, Jene Highstein, Satch Hoyt, Peter Hristoff, Tom Huhn, David Henry Hwang, Soojung Hyun and Robert C. Morgan, Richard Jochum, David Judelson, Hoon Jung, Elaine King, Ellen Lanyon, Paul Laster and Renee Riccardo, Bing Lee, Nicole Lin and Joe Hill, Sara Maharaj, Katy Martin, Iris Moon, John Moore, Robert Oxnam, Gary Peterson, Steven Rand, Lordy Rodriguez, Diane Samuels, Joachim Schmid, Barbara Segal, Varvara Shavrova, Ward Shelly, Eric Shiner, Francesco Siquieros, Alan Sondheim, Gary Stephan, Wash SyCip, Elaine Tin Nyo, Jaret Vadera, Richard Vine, Ken Wahl, Sarah Walker, Ryszard Wasko, Lilly Wei, Daniel Wiener, Elga Wimmer, O Zhang.
Triple thanks to Christina Chung, and to Douglas Fathers and Arthur Zegelbone for their generous assistance and support.