Published July 19, 2021
ANNETTE CORDS AND BECKY BROWN
July 22 – August 22, 2021
PS122 Gallery in NYC
PS122 GALLERY IS PLEASED TO PRESENT DREAM-RESTARTEXPERIENCE, A TWO-PERSON EXHIBITION FEATURING THE WORK AND COLLABORATIONS OF ANNETTE CORDS AND BECKY BROWN.
Dream-Restart-Experience, is a literal English translation of the German compound word Traumneustartversuch—describing the effort to continue a dream one had just before waking up. The sudden shift from one reality to another and the impossibility of shifting back recalls pandemic conditions last spring. As we now wake up from that nightmare and “restart” our lives, we face personal and public choices about what should return and what could change. In the spirit of restarting, artists Annette Cords and Becky Brown create new alphabets for PS122, with the hope that reimagining letters can breathe new energy and meaning into familiar language.
The artists drew and painted letterforms by hand, with multiple styles and degrees of legibility—voluptuous curves, robotic angles, and characters derived from architectural and decorative motifs on the building’s façade and surrounding iron fence. Alphabets are displayed in vinyl lettering on the gallery windows, connecting inside and outside, and welcoming people back. They also refer to the building’s history as a public school—the origin of learning one’s ABCs. This history coexists with the present, as letters are used to spell out PS122’s rotation of identifying P- and S-words: public, school, painting, performance, and space.
Cords and Brown have collaborated on a new wallpaper design incorporating their alphabets, riffing on these five words, and introducing opposites. Both artists have explored relationships between opposing words, and these pairs and collections now become sample texts for their alphabets and sparks for elaborating meaning. Within an immersive wallpaper environment, Cords and Brown present works adapting similar opposite words in their individual languages of fabric and thread, paper, and paint. For both, text is integrated into complex visual compositions: Cords’s tapestries interlace traditional weave structures with urban mark-making and found text. Brown’s paintings give physical presence to artifacts of online/on-screen culture while questioning their value.
PS122 Gallery is free and open to the public and inclusive of all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, LGBTQIA+ identity, and class. Conveniently located on the ground floor of the 122 Community Center in the East Village of Manhattan near several public transportation lines, PS122 Gallery provides wheelchair accessibility through the 122CC main entrance, as well as wheelchair accessible water fountains and all-gender restrooms.