By Anthea Foyer
A recent vacation to the fabulous city of New York inspired six University of Calgary grad students to create the art collaboration/installation We Love New York.
Constructed by Josie Chu, Yvonne Wiegers, Matt Hassal and guest artist Rebecca Rowley, the exhibition is showing at the Little Gallery until May 26.
We Love New York is exhibited in a time-line format with each section representing the work of an individual artist. Much of the work is presented in the form of photographs, many of them Polaroids which encourage a wood paneled-station-wagon-family-vacation feeling. Even the Statue of Liberty makes an appearance alongside hot dog vendors. The artists explore the odd phenomenon of recreating how the authentic New York experience is marketed to the public. At the opening reception Thurs., May 18, another layer of reality/hyperreality will be realized in the form of an actual hot dog vendor. Yum
In the exhibition, the gallery becomes a space for simulation. The artists present not only photos of their experiences, but also recreate a New York-style wall complete with mass-marketed posters and enlarged photocopies of their expense receipts. Such a juxtaposition highlights the nature of the Lonely Planet-type travel experience of crass consumerism and capitalism. Proving they are not immune to these cultural forces, the artists show their own carefully presented and beautifully photographed purchases. Through this, the artists appear aware of the broader implications of this pop-culture phenomenon, as well as their somewhat complicit role in it.
Ultimately, this show is a tribute to the absolute and enormous love these artists feel for New York and all of its weird quirks. One great example is the photo of the disgruntled/rumpled subway employee.
We Love New York’s artists will be in attendance for the May 18 reception from 4:30-6 p.m.
Admission is free. In addition, signed posters will be available for five dollars.