Gabriel Kuri at The Armory Show
Arts & Entertainment
by Laura Kusnyer, 01/18/2011
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Magazine pages, kitty litter and tickets are just a few of the objects that have made their way into the sculptures and collages of Gabriel Kuri, the Mexican-born, Belgium-based artist whose work has been selected to underpin the visual identity of the 13th-annual Armory Show. His art is thought-provoking, placing a spotlight on quotidian exchanges that viewers perhaps wouldn't have otherwise pondered. The names of Kuri's pieces are similarly challenging, inviting viewers to reconsider how they interpret human interactions: the 2007 installation A Calculated Journey into a Calculated Experience featured a "dinner table" and all the trappings of a shared meal; a 2010 exhibition at the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston was titled Nobody Needs to Know the Price of Your Saab. See Kuri's work at his representing galleries' stands (Galleria Franco Noero in Turin and Esther Schipper in Berlin will be in attendance) March 3 to 6 at Piers 92/94 on Manhattan's west side. Kuri himself will also be at The Armory Show; on March 3, for example, he'll be featured in conversation with a curator during the fair's Open Forum series, curated by Stamatina Gallery. Below, the artist answers a few questions about the event and his work.
You've been tasked with creating the visual identity of the 2011 Armory Show. What made you want to take this commission?
Gabriel Kuri: I was happy to be asked to fill this role, but knew that I could only do it if it involved just using existing material. I think "creating the visual identity" implies more that I designed the visual identity, and this was not the case. There is a designer [creative director Reed Seifer], who is actually very good, and I suggested what images from my work would possibly work well for all of the promotional material and the catalog of the fair. We focused on my works on paper. It is good to give them some exposure in this way.
Where in your work can we see the influence of your Mexican heritage?
GK: It is a question that comes up frequently, and it is not easy to answer. I think in a sense it is not up to me; I hope the work has its way to answer this. I can tell you that when I make art, I do not think of myself as a Mexican voice. I just do what I do, and whatever results is the sum of all parts that constitute me.
You and artists like Gabriel Orozco are drawing considerable attention to Mexican art. How do you see work from Mexico influencing contemporary art on an international scale?
GK: Gabriel Orozco is a very influential artist. He really changed the international public's expectation of what art coming from Mexico could be like. I think that things have changed with regards to the way the international public looks at Mexico, and this is mainly a result of globalization. I do feel that there is very interesting art being made in Mexico (not just by Mexicans) and abroad by Mexican artists. I try to remain connected to my colleagues and my context even if I am geographically far away.
Where do you find your inspiration?
GK: I look everywhere: in the studio, in my notebooks—which I try to follow with discipline—on the street, at other people's work. Everywhere, really.
Where do you like to see art in New York City?
GK: I have seen interesting things in pretty much every scenario: museums, galleries, studios, people's houses and the street.