Gifting Abstraction

Soho20 Chelsea Gallery, NYC, 2011

Gifting Abstraction established a provisional, intimate economy within Soho20Chelsea gallery in which abstract art objects had not yet been thrust into  the dominant economic system. Representing the economy as a direct synonym for capitalism requires the exclusion of other types of economic proceedings that remunerate and distribute material goods but do so according to other kinds of values. Rendering affective fields of its own, the gift economy paradigm builds different registers outside dominant market forces. One of the peculiar aspects of the gift is that while its impact cannot be measured, the underlying intention is generally palpable: at its best, the gift generates a sense of interconnectedness. At the same time, under unfavorable interpretation, the gift carries a taste of impossibility as intention, ego and object collide, shattering in the transaction.

This experimental exhibition brought abstract objects and artists together into a shifting relational process. The arrangement of the works in the exhibit changed regularly depending on artists’ choices. Each artist gave a piece and selected one from the exhibition to take at the end of the show. Using the abstract art object as a catalyst, gifting artists communicated with each other through a blog created for that purpose.

Artists: Melanie Crader, Matthew Deleget, Anoka Faruqee, Michelle Grabner, Brent Hallard, John Hawke, Gilbert Hsiao, Pablo Manga, Thomas Martin, Leah Raintree, Claudia Sbrissa, Karen Schifano, Karen Schiff, Jessica Snow, Robert Strati, Ann Tarantino.

Gifting Abstraction is part of Abstraction at Work, an entity dedicated to the inquiry and redeployment of abstraction’s functions through projects ranging from temporary installations to social practice and curatorial experiments.

Visit the archived Blog for Gifting Abstraction