January 15 – July 31, 2010
New Year was a project series running over seven months at the beginning of 2010. A baker’s dozen of artists from the US and Canada were commissioned to create new work for the upstairs gallery at Western Bridge. The invitation: to do whatever the artist would like, given the space, time and money available. Each project ran for two weeks.
New Year drew inspiration from a number of recent projects, including curator Anthony Huberman’s Front Room series at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and Associates, artist Ryan Gander’s program of twelve artists and twelve shows in twelve months in London. New Year allowed Western Bridge to work outside of its collection-based exhibition program. Artists were paid fees for their participation, and retained ownership of work produced for the series, though works by Corin Hewitt, Tauba Auerbach, and Josh Faught were acquired for the collection.
The series began with a project by Michael Drebert, who brought an ember from Vancouver to Seattle by chain-smoking during a three-hour drive across the border, a riff on the Olympic torch. Some artists came to Seattle and worked with whatever was at hand, as in improvisatory installations by Mark Soo and Geoffrey Farmer. Corin Hewitt took this approach to an extreme, building a studio inside the gallery and using as raw material drywall, plywood, studs and insulation removed from the gallery walls. Over the course of two-plus weeks he shot a video: a fantasia of constructing, cutting into, and rebuilding a wall. Auerbach, Faught, and Dawn Cerny presented more traditional exhibitions, but used the opportunity to try out new approaches and ideas. Allison Hrabluik, Alex Hubbard, Mungo Thomson, and Jennifer West presented new videos in a range of scales and orientations. Matt Sheridan Smith’s project, involving a burial at sea and a dinner party, is part of a longer term project we continue to develop with the artist. And Eli Hansen and Oscar Tuazon’s project took their work Use It for What It’s Used For, which has been on long-term display outside our building, and turned it into a set for a one-time-only performance of a play written by their mother Anna Linzer.