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For 2016’s final chapter at MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38, Leah Dixon turns the exhibition space into a gathering place. Referencing popular games played during American backyard get-togethers and tailgates, her handmade sculptures initiate active participation. However, the games’ traditional configurations are shifted, interspersing notions of pain, fear, and ambivalence into celebratory zones: A national symbol of pride and trauma becomes part of a game’s set-up, another one involves a depiction of the artist herself in a humble pose—which players have to pierce in order to win.
Throughout the exhibition, routines of celebration are reiterated, but their escapist character seems to meet resistance. Where do our own histories align with the cultural intersection of celebration, escapism, and extremism?
Dixon’s self-reflection takes on a new urgency in light of the recent US presidential election. As artists, curators, thinkers, and cultural producers, how do we respond to this threatening situation? Our condition calls us, New Yorkers from the various united states and abroad, to connect and talk about our responsibilities. Via the games’ invitation to interact, participate, and discuss, members of the Ludlow 38 community are encouraged to raise their own questions in group and individual reflection.
The title A Pirate’s Meal references medieval pirates’ consumption of a food called hardtack, which was often so dry, vile, and infested that pirates chose to eat it together in the dark. In Dixon’s exhibition, we will gather in the dark, not to consume our foul reality, but to question its ingredients.
Curated by Nina Tabassomi
Graphic design: Leila Tabassomi