September 26 – December 19, 2009
Parenthesis presented work in video, installation, and photography. Inspired by a trio of videos Neil Goldberg made with his mother and father, we collected a set of pieces by artists working with their children or parents. Family relationships were viewed through political and economic frames in a video by Maria Marshall of her children, set to a soundtrack of one son reading a speech by Bill Clinton on welfare reform. These themes resurfaced in Guy Ben-Ner’s Stealing Beauty, a comedy linking family with property shot with his wife, daughter, and son in the domestic tableaux of Ikea showrooms.
Ann Hamilton’s wall-embedded video, showed parenting’s obsessive concern, the artist exploring in detail a photograph of her child. Neil Goldberg’s three videos featuring his parents showed how, over time, parents’ care of a child shifts to the child’s care for his parents. Kerry Tribe’s two-channel video cast parenting as a form of Platonic education, while Jessica Jackson Hutchins’ hour-long video Sun Valley Road Trip, shot with handheld intimacy, was a messy view of the messy reality of family life. Theater artist Jennifer Zeyl contributed a pair of architectural set pieces, a full-scale facade and staircase reproducing sections of her childhood home. These responded to the domestic cues in the design of Western Bridge and staged the exhibition as a family drama–or sitcom.