Nina Katchadourian’s varied practice includes sculpture, sound, video, photography, and public projects. Her Sorted Books project spans over 20 years and has taken place at over 10 different sites to date. The process involves looking through a collection of books, pulling particular titles, and eventually grouping the books into clusters so that the titles can be read in sequence, from top to bottom. The final results, shown either as photographs of the book clusters or as the actual stacks themselves, become a portrait of the person or site as seen through the books there. In 2013, Chronicle Books published a book documenting the first 20 years of the project. In May 2014, Katchadourian sorted the personal book collection of the American writer William S. Burroughs.
For this exhibition, Katchadourian worked with the “micro libraries” at the desks of the 39 staff members. The resulting clusters reflect the research, past exhibitions, and curatorial focus of the institution as well as many broader questions about contemporary art and culture.
Katchadourian was born in Stanford, CA and has lived in Brooklyn, NY for the past 20 years. Her work will be the subject of a solo museum show in 2016, originating at the Blanton Museum in Austin and then traveling. She is an Associate Professor at the NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Katchadourian is represented by Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco. She is currently working with the Exploratorium in San Francisco on a project about the famous longitudinal psychology study known as the “Marshmallow Test,” in which she has been a subject for the past 42 years.
This exhibition brings together an international coterie of artists and academics that enlist this untamed, “wild” other as partners in the production of art. From Florentine architecture and Mannerist painting to Hollywood film, Japanese anime, and the impossible bodies of video game fantasy, Julien Nguyen builds hybrid histories to pose contemporary queries.
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