Opening reception: Thursday, September 29, 6-8 p.m.
periods ever began from a theory. What’s first is a game, a struggle, a
journey.” – Guy Debord
Seeking the initial moment described by Debord, Push Play explores the work of artists who
borrow from play and games to expose social, cultural, and philosophical
issues. From playground antics to mathematical strategy, the artists in Push Play mine the significance of games,
reinventing them to create experiences that involve the viewer and
reflect on the nature of participation in art and art exhibitions.
Strategies tied to game playing have historically attracted the
avant-garde, most famously the chess master Marcel Duchamp. His every artistic move
had his chess partner in mind: you, the viewer. Games were also intrinsic to
the work of war-addled Surrealists and Dadaists, the inventors of the exquisite
corpse and automatic drawing, in their quest to upend the bourgeois pretensions
of art and free the artistic imagination. In the 1960s and 1970s, the
countercultural and anti-war Fluxus group and the New Games Foundation
questioned capitalism and corporate culture by staging massive non-competitive games in city parks.
Moving away from the classical
chess period of kings, queens, and bishops, the works in this exhibition do not
represent medieval warfare but strategies of decision-making around
contemporary culture and politics. Among the arcade of objects in the show is a version of Guitar
Hero by Cory Arcangel, hopscotch by Mary Flanagan, and Ryan Gander’s double blackjack - while the more mystically inclined may gravitate toward Allan
McCollum and Matt Mullican’s divining game.
Other artists include Patrick Bernier and Olive Martin, Ruth Catlow,
Futurefarmers, Jeanne van Heeswijk and Rolf Engelen, Paul Noble, Pedro Reyes,
Jason Rohrer, David Shrigley, Erik Svedäng, and Yoko Ono.
invited to come in and play.
Push Play is curated
by Melissa E. Feldman and organized and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. Push Play was
made possible, in part, by grants from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham
Foundation and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and with the generous
support from ICI’s International Forum and Board of Trustees.
2 West 13th St, Ground FloorAnna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery
Sheila C. Johnson Design Center
The New School