Constellations

FriezeNY2000

Constellations

First exhibited at Frieze New York in 2019 as a part of Diálogos, a section curated by Patrick Charpenel and Susanna Temkin, to coincide with El Museo del Barrio’s 50th anniversary, and invited galleries will show works by artists “who have played a significant role in El Museo’s history.”

For Diálogos, Gonzales-Day has created a new body of work culled from his own research into the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Philadelphia Academy of Fine Art (PAFA), The Louvre, and The Royal Cast Collection and Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen.

Imagined as a dialog with the past, the work invites viewers to reconsider an array of historic objects that have contributed to notions of race and whiteness from the history of art. One such “constellation” considers the sculptural works of Auguste Rodin, whose own embrace of modern reproduction techniques led to the wide-spread distribution (in plaster and bronze) of his work and was seen by some as the end of art. These technologies were also employed by academics and educators to make and distribute plaster copy casts (and bronze reproductions of works) from antiquity to the Renaissance as a way of teaching Western canons of beauty, and perhaps, the very idea of whiteness itself. These casts were not only used to train artists in drawing and painting but were used to “civilize” nations in art and culture. Perhaps ironically, Rodin’s own artistic skill was questioned when he was accused of casting The Age of Bronze (center figure) in plaster. He was able to prove his skill. Later, a plaster of the bronze would be used to instruct art students at North America’s oldest art school, The Philadelphia Academy of Art where Gonzales-Day photographed it in 2018. Today, the internet and social media have further expanded how and where we see art and ave forced us to rethink the question of the artistic reproduction or copy, in new ways.

Working with museum curators, collection management professionals, and other stakeholders, Gonzales-Day has identified, located, and photographed hundreds of works in museum collections as a way mapping out the material remains of white racial formation in art and art history. Beginning with the myth of whiteness in classical sculpture, created by the 18th century art historian Johann Winckelmann, Gonzales-Day visited the Royal Cast Collection in Copenhagen, which includes a plaster of Winckelmann himself. As an artist and scholar, Gonzales-Day repurposes these cultural artifacts and continues his efforts to locate, identify, and share, objects which have in some way contributed to our understanding of cultural difference, just as his much-cited Erased Lynching Series, helped raise awareness of the lynching of Latinos, Native Americans and Asians in the American West.

With Diálogos, Gonzales-Day imagines a future in which Latinx, and other marginalized voices, find representation from within, when he assembles works from LACMAs extensive Ancient Americas collection to produce, Americas (large and small constellation), 2019, which clearly asserts that Latinx art has a long and rich tradition of object making by any name.

Frieze Checklist: 3/23/2019

Ken Gonzales-Day, “Liberty: Stephan Sinding, The Slave; Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Why Born a Slave (Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen); encircled by Hendrick de Keyser, Mars; Guillaume Boichot, Seated Hercules; Pierre-Jean David d’Angers, Philopoemen; and Francois Rude, Head of the Genius of Liberty (LACMA - unless noted),” 2019, 40 x 50 inches, archival ink on Canson PhotoSatin paper. Courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.

Ken Gonzales-Day, “Aphrodite: (center) Plaster, Aphrodite; surrounded by (top to bottom) plasters of ‘Venus Genitrix’ and Antonio Canova, Venus Italica (Royal Cast Collection, Copenhagen); Roman Lady as Venus (Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen); Unidentified, model; Aphrodite/Venus, and Venus de Medici (Cast Collection, PAFA, Philadelphia -unless noted),” 2019, 40 x 50 inches, archival ink on Canson PhotoSatin paper. Courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.

Ken Gonzales-Day, “Rodin: Auguste Rodin, The Age of Bronze (Auguste Ney) aka The Awakening Man (PAFA, Philadelphia); encircled by Rodin’s The Shade, Kneeling Female Faun, Eve, Marsyas aka Torso of The Falling Man, and Monumental Head of Pierre de Wissant (LACMA),” 2019, 40 x 50 inches, archival ink on Canson PhotoSatin paper. Courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.

Ken Gonzales-Day, “Mermaid: Willem Danielsz. Van Tetrode, Mercury; Mexico, Colima, Seated Figure; Egypt, Statuette of Osiris; Hendrick de Keyser, Mars; Republic of the Fiji Islands, Female Figure; Mali, Mother and Child for the Gwan Assoc.; Republic of Congo, Figure; Antonio Canova, Hercules and Lychas; Japan, Mermaid; (all LACMA), 2019, 40 x 50 inches, archival ink on Canson PhotoSatin paper. Courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.

Ken Gonzales-Day, “Five Sculptures with Snakes: Roman, The Landsdowne Athlete, The Hope Herakles, The Hope Hygieia, The Bateman Mercury, Jean-Antoine Houdon, Seated Voltaire; with snakes (LACMA),” 2019, 40 x 50 inches, archival ink on Canson PhotoSatin paper. Courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.

Ken Gonzales-Day, “Americas (Large and Small Constellation): Mexico (unless noted), “Dog; Standing Dog; Dog with Human Mask; Baby Figure; Columbia, Figure with Ligatures on the Arms and Legs; Figure of Xipe Totec; Figure, Male; Standing Figure; Standing Female Figure; Standing Male Figure; Male Standard Bearer; Man Using Tumpline to Carry Vessel; Standing Couple, Male Figure; Seated Figure; Seated Female on Bench; Columbia, Hollow-slab Seated Female with Geom Designs; Figurine Whistle of Seated Elite Female with Cranial Deformation, Facial Scarification, and Forehead Jewel; Seated Male Figure; Male Seated on Bench; Seated, Toothless Male with Protruding, Wrinkled Belly (Aged God); Hunchback; Seated Couple; Joined Couple (all LACMA), 2019, 40 x 70 in., archival ink on Canson PhotoSatin paper. Courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.

Ken Gonzales-Day, “Rodin: Auguste Rodin, Left Hand of a Pianist (LACMA),” 2019, 40 x 50 inches, archival ink on Canson PhotoSatin paper. Courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.

Ken Gonzales-Day, “Transformation: (left) Nepal, The Androgynous Form of Shiva and Parvati, (Ardhanarishvara); surrounded by, India, Head of Buddha Shakyamuni; Cambodia, Head of Buddha Shakyamuni; Indonesia, Brahma, the God of Creation; Pakistan, Buddha Shakyamuni; India, The Maharishi; India, Head of Buddha Shakyamuni; (center) Egypt, Figurine of the Goddess Bastet as a Cat, Royal Head, Nubian Female Figure, Statuette of Osiris, Foot, Baboon, Head of Osiris, Kneeling Priest Figurine in Worshipping Pose; (right) Japanese, Eleven-headed Kannon, Buddhist Layman, Melanesian with Drum, Amida Buddha; Unjudō Shumemaru, The Zen Priest Bukan; Japan, Monkey with Mermaid swimming to the Dragon King’s Palace (all LACMA),”  2019, 40 x 100 inches, archival ink on Canson PhotoSatin paper. Courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.

Ken Gonzales-Day, Africa: (left) Republic of Congo, Mask; Mali, Mother and Child for the Gwan Assoc.; Kota Peoples, Obamba or Mindumu groups, Janus Reliquary Guardian Figure; Republic of the Congo, Figure of Hunter; Nigeria, Plaque; Republic of Congo, Figure; Liberia, Mask; (center) Indonesia, Magical Figure of the Toba Bakat, (Louvre); Cote d’Ivoire, Fetish Figure; Republic of Mali, Boli (Komo Society Altar) (all LACMA), 2019, 40 x 50 inches, archival ink on Canson PhotoSatin paper. Courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.

Not framed for exhibition.

Ken Gonzales-Day, “Americas (Large constellation): Mexico (unless noted), “Dog; Standing Dog; Dog with Human Mask; Baby Figure; Columbia, Figure with Ligatures on the Arms and Legs; Standing Female Figure; Standing Male Figure; Man Using Tumpline to Carry Vessel; Standing Couple, Male Figure; Seated Figure; Seated Female on Bench; Columbia, Hollow-slab Seated Female with Geom Designs; Seated Male Figure; Male Seated on Bench; Hunchback; Seated Couple; Joined Couple (all LACMA), 2019, 40 x 50 in., archival ink on Canson PhotoSatin paper. Courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.

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