Christopher K. Ho: Grown Up Art

When 13 May 2016 - 26 Jun 2016
Where Present Company
254 Johnson Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11206
United States

Opening Reception: Friday, May 13, 6-9pm

Present Company is pleased to announce an exhibition by Hong Kong-born, New York-based artist Christopher K. Ho. This will be his first show at the gallery, and his first solo presentation in New York since 2013.

Grown Up Art expands Ho’s decades-long sociological investigation of the artworld. With wit, passion, and acute sensitivity, the artist has in previous exhibitions mulled over white privilege, regional painting, Bushwick abstraction, and the fading legacy of 1968. In Grown Up Art, Ho explores how having children can affect, and underpin, a political art practice. Can being a positive role model—a parent, a mentor, a teacher—be as effective as negative critique or punkish rebellion?

Joseph as Model, a six-channel video, presents Jesus’ foster father as a modest patriarch who embraces playing a supporting role. The video weaves together high and low culture (from Harold Bloom’s The Anxiety of Influence to the movie Ender’s Game); includes portraits of friends who are “art dads” (artists who are fathers); revisits values from Ho’s Chinese upbringing such as hard work, discipline, and pragmatism; and reflects on being a 43-year-old artist whose window to fulfill conventional notions of youthful genius long ago closed.

Eight stained glass sculptures comprise Institution, Grown Up Art’s centerpiece. Each marks a transition point from a Platonic cube to a snail’s spiral. The sculptures, handmade with copper foil and a variety of glass—iridescent, opalescent, English Muffle, Waterglass, mouth blown—sit atop a 24-foot angled dry-erase table covered in drawings by fourth graders from nearby PS 147 of institutions they envision leading when grown up. Underfoot is Order of the Snail, a carpet with an inlaid pattern of an uncoiled shell, and stacked glass cubes laser-etched with 3D models from the making of the stained glass.

I Endorse Patriarchy, a sound piece at the gallery’s entrance, features a Sino-British accented female voice reading a polemic. Passages include:

Because taking a single position can be as important as being open to other positions.
Because leaving a legacy is more generous and generative than maintaining community.
Because the opposite of the school of resentment is not the school of respect, but rather the building of new schools.

Christopher K. Ho (b. 1974, Hong Kong) picks up threads of 1990s identity politics and weaves them into unlikely new patterns. His solo show Demoiselles d’Avignon (2013, Y Gallery, NY) refracted Western abstraction through the eyes of a future class of refined Chinese princelings, while Privileged White People (2013, Forever & Today, NY) examined the sensibility of artists who grew up during the affluent Clinton presidency. He has had solo exhibitions at Winkleman Gallery, NY (2010, 2008); FJORD, Philadelphia (2013); and Galeria EDS, Mexico City (2009). His work has been reviewed in the New York Times, Art in America, Modern Painters, Artforum, and ArtReview. He participated in the Incheon Biennial (2009), the Chinese Biennial Beijing (2008), and the Busan Bienniale (2008), and produced site-specific pieces for Storm King (2013) and the Cranbrook Art Museum (2011), where he was the 2010 Critical Studies Fellow. He teaches at VCU and RISD.

Image Caption: Christopher K. Ho, Art Dads, 2016

For more information, please click here.