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Staged here at a former warehouse at Headlands Center for the Arts, Who Moved My Cheese is an installation titled after a short story about different ways to deal with change, written by Dr. Spencer Johnson around the turn of the millennium. Printed around the same time, I stored hundreds of Kodak and Fuji drugstore doubles in shoe boxes. These images did not make it into photo albums because they were blurry, off-center, or did not represent my personal narrative at the time. As an archive, these images allude to the nostalgic unpredictability of amateur film processing overtaken by the conveniences of digitization.

Twenty years later, a cross section of these photo album rejects are embedded within clay as "standing frames" displayed across a modular shelving system. The clay is encased within a plastic skin, and as it slowly dries over time, the frames shrink, tightens their grasp, and crumples the images within. Rather than protecting the photographs, the frames transform the images into something else.

This work touches on themes such as memory and personal history, while also relating to contemporary lifestyle trends of organizing/displaying personal content, from the Konmari Method to Instagram tactics of representation. When configured across a larger scale, the shelving system is meant to transform a space into a maze-like storage facility, heavily stocked with materialized memories. W.M.M.C asks, what deserves to take up limited shelf space in a body/mind that is everchanging?

*** March 24, 2020 ***
The scheduled opening of Somatics Grocery at the Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, has been postponed until an unknown future date due to COVID-19. This illustrated handling manual, originally addressed to museum staff for the installation of a new piece titled Gurney, echoes the heightened sense of vulnerability and fragility of our bodies during these times. Take good care, everyone. ︎-Tak  

Gurney (2018 - 2020), clay, plastic garbage and shopping bags, chrome shelves, wheels, handles, 40 x 207 x 24 inches

Gurney is a new installation conceived for Somatics Grocery, a group exhition curated by Brooke Nicholas. Its components, made in 2018 and 2019, sit on a 16 feet long chrome structure on wheels with push handles on both ends.

“These components will arrive in eight cardboard collared boxes for Gurney (large shelving structure). They are fragile. Handle according to diagrams below by supporting them as indicated by arrows. Avoid handling areas marked by an X. If necessary, remove cardboard collars to access and transfer components to the large shelving structure titled Gurney. Two people should handle Aortic, Soul Home, and Ghost Ship because of their elongated shapes and heavy weight.” - Handling Manual for Gurney

Ionic Unravelled, 2019, terra cotta, garbage bags, 23” x 192” x 96” 

Marble Ionic capitals of classical Western architecture are re-imagined as fleshy masses of terracotta clay, tightly wrapped in plastic. Their archetypal spiral scrolls relax, uncoil, and recline across the grassy field behind the Yellow House at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts. Configured as a toppled ruin "restored" by imaginary archaeologists of these times, Ionic Unravelled will remain over the summer season to expand, contract, and blister under the Maine sun.

Ephemerality is rarely associated with ceramics, as it is commonly assumed that a ceramic piece’s final state is fired and permanent. However, an increasing number of artists are focusing on raw clay’s physical qualities, transformative capabilities, and connection to place. During this session, participating artists will explore clay in its impermanent state through studio-based work and site-specific installations. - Watershed 

Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, Merit Scholarship Award, Summer Residency: Ephemerality in Clay, organized by Kate Roberts 

Shelf Life is an installation of twenty-one sculptures shelved along the recesses of a narrow corridor in the basement of SculptureCenter. Fluorescent lights illuminate forms that resemble vessels, body parts, and artifacts. Made of unfired clay contained within a plastic skin, their supple forms will wrinkle, blister, discolor, and harden during the course of the exhibition.

Shelf Life is modeled after two disparate spaces that regulate value. Supermarket aisles display consumables with limited immediate value whereas museum display cases present value as permanent. Shelf Life stages a hybrid of both to critically consider the correlation between change and value, of bodies as well as art objects.

44–19 Purves Street
Long Island City, NY 11101

link to exhibition 


The six artists in this year’s Graduate Fellow cohort came to Headlands Center for the Arts with bodies of work already deep in the worlds of materiality, environments, and politics. Now, given a year to create within the historical and environmental complexities of the Headlands, alongside each other and in quiet, focused time, they have generated new work that pushes the soft edges of their practices. Through various mediums, each artist has spent time controlling materials and environments to remind us, the viewers, that materials and environments can’t really be controlled - that chaos rules, and things can crumble - and depending on how we honor this truth, it may bring us great worry or great freedom.

Rhiannon Evans MacFadyen, guest curator
Headlands Center for the Arts