Better Homes

When 22 Apr 2013 - 22 Jul 2013
Where SculptureCenter
44-19 Purves Street
Long Island City, NY 11101
United States
Cost $5 suggested donation for entry, $3 for students.
Enquiry 718 361 1750

Exhibition view, ”Better Homes,” SculptureCenter, 2013. Left to right: Anthea Hamilton, Jonathas de Andrade.
Photo: Jason Mandella.

April 22 – July 22, 2013

Opening Reception: Sunday, April 21, 5-7pm

Press Release:

“You will express yourself in your house, whether you want to or not….”
- Elsie de Wolfe, The House in Good Taste, 1913.
Better Homes brings together a group of artists who examine the construction of the interior through design and homemaking from critical perspectives. As the notion of home shifted in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and interior space was being redefined and redecorated according to the aspirations of modernity, the interior became integral to the construction of the subject. Interiors were an extension of identity, representing gender, fashion, and class, and re-establishing what constituted the private and the public. Now, in the 21st century, interior design has been professionalized and packaged for the mass market. With the proliferation of department stores and publications instructing consumers on how to make the best dinners, living rooms, and lifestyles, how has the notion of domestic space, and all it encapsulates, been redefined in contemporary culture? What are the impacts of shifting ideas of family, identity, politics and consumerism in the private realm? Touching on the history of the interior to its present iterations, the artists in the exhibition examine displays of domesticity, as constructed through spaces and things.

Artworks in the exhibition include a photographic installation by Yuki Kimura (b.1971, Japan), comprising freestanding panel structures with found black and white prints of interiors. The spaces are void of people, becoming portraits of intimate spaces and lifestyles that are relegated into the past. The installation becomes both a mirror and fragment of a certain notion of domesticity. Tamar Guimarães’s (b.1967, Brazil) film Canoas depicts a home constructed by Oscar Niemeyer in the 1950s outside of Rio de Janeiro for the purpose of entertainment and pleasure. Through a narrative that primarily focuses on the servants that care for the home, Guimarães highlights the conflicted relationship between modernist architecture in Brazil and class structures. Kirsten Pieroth (b. 1970, Germany) examines notions of legacy and heritage using objects that symbolize domesticity and familial bonds. Her objects reference family heirlooms, such as Fabergé eggs and crystal glassware, however her interpretations use simple materials that alter attributes of value.

Public Programs

SC Evenings: Better Homes Publication Launch
Wednesday, May 8, 6pm

SC Conversations: Craig Willse
Tuesday, May 21, 7pm
Craig Willse is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies at George Mason University and lives in Washington DC. He has recently edited the publication Beyond Biopolitics: Essays on the Governance of Life and Death (2011) and contributed to Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Gay Marriage (2010).

SC Conversations: Allison Arieff
Tuesday, June 18, 7pm
Allison Arieff is Content Strategist for the urban planning and policy think tank, SPUR, and is a contributing columnist for the New York Times. Previously she was the editor in chief of Dwell magazine.

SC Conversations: Penny Sparke
Tuesday, July 2, 7pm
Penny Sparke is a Professor of Design History and a Pro Vice-Chancellor at Kingston University, London. Her books include The Modern Interior (2008) and Elsie de Wolfe: The Birth of Modern Decoration (2005).

For more information please click here.