Artist: Robert Barry
Venue: Schindler Church, Los Angeles
Exhibition Title: Bethlehem Baptist Church Installation
Curated by: Thomas Solomon Art Advisory
Date: November 1 – December 13, 2015
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of the artist and Thomas Solomon Art Advisory. Photos by Joshua White/JW Pictures.
Thomas Solomon Art Advisory presents Bethlehem Baptist Church Installation, an exhibition by New York based artist Robert Barry. The church, designed by renowned architect Rudolph M. Schindler, was built in 1944 for a small African American Baptist congregation, and is located in historic South Central Los Angeles. Barry’s installation consists of a new wall-text piece that will cover the interior space of the church integrating with the architecture. The artist will present a 1970 performance text reading on opening day.
Robert Barry artworks addresses a kind of architecture sculpture with white vinyl lettering flowing across the interior walls of the church. Reading, understanding, and linking language/ideas are transformed into a personal art experience. Barry states that his work involves, “something that is very measured opposed to something that is very free, or more natural”. Time manifests in Barry’s work in a number of different ways, some experienced directly and others in a more conceptual space. The contemplation of time in order to get within time is what contemplation is all about. Moving from an expanded frame of reference to a rather focused one throughout the installation. Barry’s work necessitates viewer participation, reading and walking around something, trying to get at it- inside it. Language comes from us; language would not exist if we did not exist. There is sometimes a void in the center, or between things.The receiver must operate in different modes to bridge the gaps, to complete the piece by interacting with it on different conceptual levels.
Barry’s works analyze the relationship between words, color, and architecture. He does not make work intended to subvert the architecture, but art that is conscious of the architectural space. It’s about working with architecture, the relationship, and trying to declare the situation itself. Making something imposing and encompassing, yet still personal. Words are generally signifiers, or they are part of the flow of a sentence. Words such as “ACCEPT”, “REVEAL”, “CONFUSED”, “LOOKING”, appear without any specific order, and no literary devices are applied.The words occupy the vaulted church, reaching out like sculpture into the space and imprinting on the mind’s eye. Sometimes there is really no beginning and no end. It’s about both distinct and amalgamated experiences: reading, interpreting, understanding, and moving through the space of an artwork. Barry’s works are non-classifiable, neither conceptual, minimal, narrative, or body art-related, yet they touch on each of those movements.
Robert Barry was born in 1936 in the Bronx, NY.
Robert Barry’s artworks are in public collections such as Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Guggenheim Museum of Art, New York; The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; The Musee d’Orsay, Paris, France; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; MNAM-Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Recent solo exhibitions include Greta Meert, Bruxelles, Belgium; 205 Hudson Street Gallery at Hunter College, New York; Galerie Bugdahn and Kaimer, Dusseldorf, Germany; Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg, Germany; Galerie Alfonso Artiaco, Naples, Italy; Barbara Krakow, Boston, Massachusetts; Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, New Jersey; Le Consortium, Dijon, France; Massimo Minini Gallery, Brescia, Italy; Yvon Lambert Gallery, Paris, France.
The Bethlehem Baptist Church was built for it’s congregation in 1944 at the height of the Rudolph M. Schindler’s architectural work In Los Angeles. It is the only church the architect designed. The building served as a community center as well as a place of worship for it’s small African-American congregation. The Bethlehem Baptist Church embodied Schindler’s philosophy that a well-designed building could shape space, light, and be accessible for a small budget. It was designed to look very big from the outside, but it is only 2000 square feet. The structure consists of only two stories; however, the tower’s white horizontal bands visually extend the height. The church was declared a historical cultural monument in 2009.
Thomas Solomon is founder and principle of Thomas Solomon Art Advisory in Los Angeles, California. He brings a lifetime of expertise as an art advisor, forming a new venture that focuses on art collection acquisitions with private, corporate, and public institutions, as well as artists projects. Thomas Solomon was previously owner of Thomas Solomon Gallery located in Chinatown, Los Angeles from 2007-2014.