The title of this exhibition, Give Me Space, reflects the radical and unprecedented shifts in space, both physical and psychic, that are emerging as a result of the current political moment as we confront simultaneously spiraling crises of public health and systemic racism. Give Me Space speaks to these conditions—of a global pandemic and the stark inequalities it has laid bare, which are giving way to a radical restructuring of how bodies exist in public space and can access intimacy. In the process, the works offer re-imagined geographies and a new way of thinking about everyday environment, intimacy, and official record.
This jurying process was thus informed by our COVID-19 context—in which for the first time, IPCNY's New Prints exhibition, due to current social distancing guidelines, will only ever be viewed online. For a set of forms and practices that are as deeply imbued with materiality as the printmaking process, this presented an unexpected challenge. The result is a selection of works whose formal qualities I hope could be translated, preserved, or opened up further for inquiry as best as possible in a digital realm.
This year’s submissions by more than 1,000 artists encompassed a broad range of approaches to form, including portraiture, architectural drawing, collage, abstraction, animation, the inclusion of text, books, textiles, and archives. In the process a few categories emerged as frames for viewing the selection of prints. As you navigate the site you can explore these overlapping categories and their meanings: PsychoGeographies, Points of Contact, New Cosmologies, Environment and Justice, and A Story in Fragments.
In some cases, the formal language employed sheds light on these conditions, drawing on printmaking technologies to bring attention to the economic precarity, policing and racial profiling, non-consensual family separations, and authoritarian power that have been part of our moment and the past several years. As I write this statement in the context of experiencing a curfew in New York City for the first time in almost 70 years, and certainly never in my lifetime as a New Yorker born and raised, I hope that the works that you see here aim to provoke meaningful consideration of and necessary breathing room from the task at hand: of seeing the world as it is with our eyes open, and transforming the complex and contradictory structures that frame our exceptionally fraught political moment.
JUNE 2, 2020