AO On Site – New York: Nicholas Party 'Still life, Stones and Elephants,' Jimmie Durham 'Marquette for a Museum of Switzerland,' and Pati Hertling 'Heart to Hand' featuring Zoe Leonard, Klara Liden, Adam Pendleton, Oscar Tuazon, and Elias Hansen at Swiss Institute through April 15, 2012

April 3rd, 2012

Installation view of Heart to Hand. All photos on site for Art Observed by Douglas Cloninger.

Located in the former Deitch Projects building at 18 Wooster St., Swiss Institute‘s current set of exhibitions opened with a line out the door on March 7, running through April 15. Three shows are on view: Nicholas Party’s Still life, Stones and Elephants, Pati Hertling’s curatory project Heart to Hand, featuring work by Zoe Leonard, Klara Liden, Adam Pendleton and brothers and collaborators Oscar Tuazon and Elias Hansen, and downstairs Jimmie Durham’s Marquette for a Museum of Switzerland. Split between the several artists, the show begins with a colorful entrance, a large open main space split in two—half the floor raised, half reappropriated as sculpture—and a basement of semi-faux artifacts.

Artist Elias Hansen at the opening

Entry to the multi-level space first provides the viewer with an immersive environment conceptualized by Nicholas Party, titled Still Life, Stones and Elephants. A seemingly light-hearted, endless array of spray painted dust blue patterns tumble up the walls, while on the floor sit trompe l’oeil rock-fruits and squat cubes draped in painted elephants. Amidst the patterned walls are several large charcoal drawings “framed” by Party’s contemporary approach to traditional Renaissance gold leaf. The artist’s choice of charcoal, spray paint, and gold leaf as the primary media reflects his interest in the reaction these three historically important trends might create in one space, adding a certain gravity to the lightness of fruit and a breath of relief to the history of art.


The Pati Hertling curated Heart to Hand beckons from the larger, brighter second room. A group show featuring work by Zoe Leonard, Klara Liden, Adam Pendleton, Oscar Tuazon, and Elias Hansen, Heart to Hand is perhaps a more politically relevant organization. Ideas of independence, rebellion, and occupation are on display and in contention with the concept of “doing the best you can do with a given context.” The raised floor had been built by Deitch Projects but is now half demolished and re-imagined by Tuazon and Hansen in the sculptural stacks of plywood and leaning beams redistributed throughout the space.

In the basement, Johnny Durham’s Maquette for a Museum of Switzerland is presented as a metaphor of the ethnographic museum. Much as the American history books emphasize certain “facts” and downplay or omit other, truer events, Durham has taken the initiative to create a museum that “explains” Switzerland to the world through his own comi-tragic folklore. Lining the left and far wall are photographs of traditional Swiss mountain masks which lack proper documentation. They appear African or at turns Central/South American, but were in fact—supposedly, according to the director—created to scare the winter out of the Alps. Durham further constructed two of his own winter masks, heightening the tension between context and history while writing his own legend. To the right several vitrines are filled with more contemporary Swiss artifacts, including a special cabbage sausage that had to be smuggled into the U.S. for health and safety reasons. Accompanying the works throughout the room, a number of hand-written semi-historical accounts regarding the various artifacts combine fact and imagination.

—D. Cloninger

Related Links:

Nicholas Party: Still Life, Stones and Elephants [Swiss Institute]
Jimmie Durham: Marquette for a Museum of Switzerland [Swiss Institute]
Curated by Pati Hertling: Heart to Hand [Swiss Institute]
Out There | Pati Hertling’s Night Job [New York Times]


The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA) August 21, 2010 By Andrea Chang Los Angeles Times Barbie wouldn’t last a day at Monster High.

The latest fashion dolls from Mattel Inc. are a dramatic departure from the toy maker’s most recognizable blonde: As the offspring of famous monsters, the new Monster High girls are fearless, occasionally furry and a bit freaky. this web site monster high wiki

Meet three of them:

* Draculaura, daughter of Dracula, who is vegan and faints at the sight of blood.

* Clawdeen Wolf, daughter of Werewolf, is Draculaura’s best friend. She spends much of her time plucking and shaving her excessive, fast-growing hair.

* Frankie Stein, who sports stitches just like dad Frankenstein, loves to shop for “scary cute clothes that are absolutely to die for.” “They’re fun characters to build a world around,” said Tim Kilpin, general manager for Mattel Brands. “Who doesn’t feel like a freak in high school? It started with that universal truth.” Six of the dolls – five girls and one boy – began hitting the shelves at major retailers and toy stores in recent weeks, with a suggested retail price of $16.99 for each doll.

Monster High marks the first time Mattel has introduced a toy concept as a complete franchise, far from its typical approach of rolling out a toy and evaluating its success before moving forward with related products. website monster high wiki

Experts say the biggest challenge facing the brand will be whether young, image-conscious girls can get onboard with dolls that look more like kids from the Addams Family than pals of Barbie or the American Girls.

“Girls want to be Barbie … but I don’t know how many girls aspire to be Draculaura or Frankie Stein,” said Gerrick Johnson, a toy analyst at BMO Capital Markets.


Courtesy of Mattel | MCT The Monster High characters are the offspring of famous monsters.