Artist: Rosemarie Castoro
Venue: Broadway 1602, New York
Exhibition Title: Interference/Infinity
Date: September 16 – December 2, 2016
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Broadway 1602, New York
“I have always regarded myself a futurist.”
-R. Castoro, in conversation with the author, 2014
“One of the few women associated with Minimalism, Castoro was a painter, sculptor, dancer, installation artist and Conceptual poet. The breath of her production is astonishing, its singularity even more so.”
-Prudence Peiffer, ARTFORUM, 2016
We are excited to announce our first solo gallery exhibition of this outstanding vanguard artist. This show also marks the first solo project at our new Harlem gallery space. In Fall 2015, BROADWAY 1602 curated Rosemarie Castoro’s “Loft Show” in her 1964 Soho studio. In her review of the “Loft Show” Prudence Peiffer pointed out that “to visit the exhibition was to have the privileged intimacy of walking through her oeuvre’s site of origin and experimentation” and that it “hinted at the possibility of numerous future focused shows…” (ARTFORUM, Dec 2015).
Through the imposing maze of Castoro’s 1971 ‘Free Standing Wall’ installation “Foyer” – a rite-of-passage introducing the enticing performativity of Castoro’s work – the new gallery show INTERFERENCE / INFINITY gives way to a pivotal group of Castoro’s 1960s large-scale Minimal ‘Y’-pattern and ‘Interference’ paintings.
“In 1965 a dominant element emerged the “Y.” I answered its question by painting “Ys” on 7 ft square single color fields.”
-R. Castoro, in conversation with the author, 2014
“The “Y” became an element that I could play with. …I also liked its question “Why Painting? …It told me to look at the edges, of how the edges intersected space…Structure started to come in and then I was able to play with it. With overlapping and interfering, because people were interfering also, with my brain. Other people, so much interference. I had to experience that, make it my own…to have it large, then you can really experience the idea, because you are immersed… I want to be immersed into an idea. Take responsibility for it.”
-R. Castoro, in conversation with Alex Bacon, Brooklyn Rail, 2015
We see the mural-size ‘Interference’ painting “Blue Red Gold Pink Green Yellow Y Bar” (1965), – its brilliant color bars intersecting a large blue monochrome and evoking movement and form choreography. And we see the imposing square “Y”-unit pattern paintings: “Yellow Pink Brown Blue” (1964), “Orange Ochre Purple Yellow Y” (1965) and “Red Blue Green Ochre Black” (1965), – their all-over structure creating an optical infinity effect with the surrounding space.
On another wall, one sees for the first time a comprehensive presentation of Rosemarie Castoro’s most prominent Conceptual project: the indexical “Inventory” works from 1968-69.
“The “Inventory” drawings and paintings emerged from the split vision experienced in taking inventory of my surroundings. I began structuring visual reality in numbers. By noticing dominant objects my number system did not exceed 5 including a quality count of 0 and 5.
“The “Inventory” drawings and paintings emerged from the split vision experienced in taking inventory of my surroundings. I began structuring visual reality in numbers. By noticing dominant objects my number system did not exceed 5 including a quality count of 0 and 5. For example, look upon a scene: a tree on your left could be 1, a group of people on your right could be 20, but counting as a qualitative 5 or 0, depending on how I felt about them. I made lists of numbers and after a while, what was seen was absorbed into the listing. I plotted them on either side of the paper and canvas, left and right, and made connections.”
-R. Castoro, in Conversation with the author, 2014
We see the prominent “Inventory” drawings “In Celebration of Part-Time Work”, “No Connection Whatsoever”, “Sol Lewitt with Donor and Friends”, “Controlled Arbitrary Statement”, “Oct 25, 1968/Jan 24 1969”, “Split Inventory”, “Constant 4”, and ”On the table Again”. Lucy Lippard called the diaristic Conceptualism of these works as “the best fiction I have read about the life of an artist” (ARTFORUM, 1975).
In the late 1960s Castoro started to step out of her introspective studio practice to interfere with public space in New York City. Her ‘Instruction’ piece “RUNNING (Polaroid Self Timing)” stages a dialectic between the same action performed in her Soho studio and on the cobblestone pavement of Washington Street downtown. Her actions followed a conceptual ‘script’ – “at once analytical and confessional” (Peiffer, 2016), and were performed for the eye of her self-timer polaroid camera only. Finally “RUNNING” was accompanied by a sheet of Concrete poetry in blue and black lines of capital lettering, formulating through mundane production precision with the mid line FOCUS AT INFINITY – which can simultaneously be read as artist-philosophic underpinning typical for Castoro’s writing – the essence of the piece:
POLAROID FILM PACK
FOCUS AT INFINITY
START RUNNING TO TURN
WHEN YOU THINK TIME
REPEAT EIGHT TIMES