Press Release

OFF-SPRING: New Generations at 21c Lexington Opens August 4

Event Date: 
4 August 2018
Lexington, KY
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Opening Reception on Saturday, August 4 Features Special Presentation by Artist Stacey Steer

21c Museum will present OFF-SPRING: New Generations, a group exhibition opening at 21c Lexington on August 4. Featuring 37 artists, the exhibition explores the development of personal and group identity through religious, cultural, institutional, and domestic rituals. To mark the opening of the exhibition, 21c Lexington will host a reception on August 4 from 6 - 9 p.m. with remarks by 21c Chief Curator and Museum Director Alice Gray Stites, and a special presentation by and artist Stacey Steers, whose work is featured in OFF-SPRING. This event is free and open to the public.

Employing sculpture, painting, photography, and video, the artists in OFF-SPRING explore the daily rituals and communal rites that continue to shape identity and define the politics of family and society, transforming iconic imagery to generate the power of new potential and change. The exhibition covers themes ranging from the constraints of marriage and the conventions and aesthetics of faith-based traditions, to the domestic ritual of the family portrait and the gender and identity issues entangled in legacy.At the wedding altar, in the family home, or in the classroom; within the fantasy of childhood play or the familiarity of grown-up habit; these narratives generate a spectrum of meditations on the contemporary construction of self and society.

OFF-SPRING: New Generations emerged from an impulse to explore the concept of ritual—religious and secular, personal and communal—and how rituals continue to define the politics of family and society,” said 21c Chief Curator and Museum Director Alice Gray Stites. “Many works in the exhibition transform iconic imagery from spheres both sacred and profane, interrogating and disrupting conventional notions about the value of domestic, cultural, or religious rituals and the power structures these practices support.”

Highlights of the exhibition include:

  • Stacey Steers’ Night Hunter, is an animation composed from more than 4,000 individual collages from found 19th century illustrations and video stills of celebrated silent film actress Lillian Gish. Steers’s dreamlike world of Night Hunter depicts parallel transformations—both biological and metaphorical—of the house and in the character portrayed by Gish.  As snakes, worms, eggs, flies, and moths overtake the rooms, Gish slowly transforms into a birdlike creature, eventually fleeing from the house and the domestic tasks that confine her. 
  • Frances Goodman’s The Dream, a textile and sound installation comprised of satin, silk, and organza wedding dresses flowing from the ceiling to the floor in waves of pinks and whites. Goodman interviewed dozens of women ages 20 to 60 and integrated their candid emotions of hope, envy, angst, uncertainty, and desire about the tradition of marriage, into the work as both hand-embroidered words on the dresses and as sound excerpts from the interviews she recorded.
  • Deanna Lawson’s photographs Oath and Coulson Family, capture the ways that sexuality, violence, family, religion, economic and social status, and community mark the human body. Inspired by the materiality of black culture and its expression as seen through the body, often in domestic settings, Lawson’s photographs blur the divisions between documentary and staged photography, family albums and fine art.
  • In Chiharu Shiota’s State of Being (Dress. In State of Being (Dress), white plastered children’s dresses float in between layers of thread, as if the young bodies that once wore them were still there, filling the space with their histories and breath. They remain haunting traces of anonymous childhoods and pay homage to the untold stories of the people who may have worn these clothes, in life or in death: in Japan, white is the color of mourning. The artist, who works in both installation and performance, is best known for filling rooms with her large-scale installations that enclose everyday personal objects within a complex web of threads; in turn, these threads memorialize, protect, and confine the objects

Additional artists featured in the OFF-SPRING: New Generations include Lauren Argo, Angela Ellsworth, Gehard Demetz, Lalla Essaydi, Anthony Goicolea, Gottfried Helnwein, Li Hongbo, Loretta Lux, Laurie Lipton, Beth Moysés, Sofie Muller, Cobi Moules, Julie Nord, Hans Op de Beeck, Robert Pettena, Christa Parravani, Chris Radtke, Asya Reznikov, Chris Roberts-Antieau, Laetitia Soulier, Vee Speers, Sam Taylor-Johnson, and Carrie Mae Weems.

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Stacey Steers (American), Night Hunter [still], 2011. Film 35mm to HD, stereo sound. Courtesy of the Artist and 21c Museum Hotels.

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