Cornell University

Jennifer and Kevin McCoy: Inhabiting the World We Made

Friday, November 17, 2017 at 8:00am to 5:00pm

John Hartell Gallery, Sibley Dome

In Inhabiting the World We Made, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy present recent projects that examine the marriage of architecture and psychology. Comprised of video and sculpture, the exhibition's speculative and fictional scenarios dwell on the impact of technology on both environment and experience. The McCoys trace a utopian story of development that begins in the American prairie, extends to the West Coast, and then expands globally until reaching its apotheosis in New York City's luxury high rises.

Broker (2016), the most recent work in the show, is a meticulously shot portrayal of a high-end real estate broker, seen as the physical embodiment of the constantly accelerating pitch of luxury merchandising. The film uses the architecture of the apartment to create an echo chamber of lifestyle messages. With songs by Lori Scacco, this "filmed musical" magnifies the logic of marketing, the surfaces of luxury, and the sound of electronic speech, creating a world of sound and image just on the edge of plausible. In this exhibition, the McCoys trace this scenario back to work created seven years earlier in the Middle East where they made diorama-like sculptures and video images of the nether spaces beyond the glossy surfaces of Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Included in this exhibition is a collection of works that connect the dots between these disparate places. In works like Aerie and Silicon Flats, the corporate architecture of Silicon Valley is seen in opposition to the rugged landscape that it occupies. The flip-side of economic development is seen in The Discovery of Freedom, a lonely road movie focusing on the small shuttered town of DeSmet, South Dakota, the homestead of Laura Ingalls Wilder, an early chronicler of American progress.

The McCoys' work has been widely exhibited in the U.S. and internationally at venues including the Pompidou Center, Paris; the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; the British Film Institute Southbank in London; Hanover Kunstverein, Germany; the Beall Center in Irvine, California; pkm Gallery in Beijing; the San Jose Museum of Art; Palazzo della Papesse in Siena, Italy; the Addison Museum of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts; the Sundance Film Festival; and Artists Space in New York City. Their work can be seen in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the 21C Museum, and the Speed Museum. They received a Creative Capital award in 2003, the Wired Rave Award for Art in 2005, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2011, and a Headlands Alumni Award in 2014. Their work is represented by Postmasters Gallery in New York City and Johansson Projects in Oakland, California.

This exhibition was curated by Maria Park, associate professor of art and director of AAP exhibitions.

Artist Talk
Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art
Thursday, November 2
5:15 p.m.

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AAP Exhibitions and Events office

Contact Phone

(607) 255-7324


Friday, November 3, 5 p.m.

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