Mobility and Its Discontents Exhibition at The 8th Floor

Jorge Wellesley, Truth 0062 Dyslexia II , 2013. Watercolor on paper

Jorge Wellesley, Truth 0062 Dyslexia II, 2013. Watercolor on paper

The 8th Floor is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition Mobility and Its Discontents, featuring artwork by Jane Benson, Alberto Borea, Ángel Delgado, Javier Téllez, Lan Tuazon and Jorge Wellesley. The exhibition examines the dynamics of mobility and its physical, psychological, socio-economic, geographic, and political boundaries. Mobility and Its Discontents signals a shift in the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation’s mission, now focused on broadening public access to artistic and cultural activities in New York City. Featuring artists from Venezuela, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the Philippines, alongside two Cuban artists from the Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection, the show brings the Rubins’ dedication to contemporary Cuban art into conversation with a wider artistic community, reflecting the diversity of New York’s cultural life. The works in the exhibition convey experiences of separation, isolation, and distance, experienced on both a local and global scale, in sites such as the United States-Mexico border, New York City’s financial district, and Havana, Cuba. Collectively, they contribute to a dialogue about the barriers encountered in contemporary life, suggesting possibilities for transformation enabled by connectivity and increased access.

Both Lan Tuazon and Alberto Borea question ideas of access within New York City’s built environment. Tuazon’s series of prints, Architectures of Defense, rework the design and placement of fencing on public property, proposing absurdly decorative versions of the wrought iron fences and gates that ‘protect’ public parks and buildings from unspecified intruders. Borea’s recently completed Wall Street and One Liberty/Empire of Decline comment on human value as experienced in the context of municipal and privately owned public spaces in Lower Manhattan’s financial district. Ángel Delgado, a Cuban artist who was imprisoned in the early 1990s - for a performance condemned by the Cuban government - creates work inspired by materials that were available to him in prison. His Inside Outside series of quilts are comprised of hand-stitched handkerchiefs, which depict prison watchtowers, security and border stations.

The works of Jane Benson, Jorge Wellesley, and Javier Téllez provide conceptual and pragmatic solutions to cultural divisions created by social and political limitations. Benson’s Splits are musical duets played on halved string instruments, performed simultaneously from two geographic locations, creating a platform for musical dialogue between family and community members who are estranged because of political turmoil. Jorge Wellesley’s Exit/Exito posits that the most direct path to success is to leave (combining the Spanish word for success “exito” with the English word “exit”), implicitly referring to the lack of access experienced in his home country of Cuba. Javier Téllez’s video One Flew over the Void (Bala perdida) documents a public performance in which a human cannonball is fired over the US-Mexico border, from Tijuana to San Diego.

Mobility and Its Discontents is the first in a series curated by Sara Reisman who was recently appointed Artistic Director of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, with research and curatorial support by George Bolster and Anjuli Nanda. Related public programs will be hosted on The 8th Floor throughout the course of the exhibition.

More information can be found at The 8th Floor 17 West 17th Street, 8th floor New York, NY 10011 Opening reception: March 6, 6pm-8pm Gallery hours: Tuesday through Friday 11am-6pm, Saturday by appointment.