2009: September. Show at Taxter and Spengemann, tentatively called New York, New York 1, refers to the primary component – a 10ft brick tower built in the center of the space. 2
1. In many ways, this title refers literally, to the fact that I was constructing my own building within a building.† But also a phenomenon of stillness. The notion that standing still is aberrant, implying a lack of progress, a lack of forward motion. I wanted to plant myself in the gallery, metaphorically and literally by creating a vertical show. A show that travels down, into the subterranean rather than upwards and out. It implied going within, standing still as time moves forward. Nowhere was this more apparent for me as in the midst of the actual construction of the tower. As the tower went up outwardly, inwardly a tunnel formed, becoming darker and receding farther away the taller we went up. By the end, the building had moved from the tangible world of brick and mortar to the utterly intangible world of metaphor.
2. The tower served the function of encasing a small hole in the floor through which a cable was hung – from the top of the tower into the basement. In fact, this act or gesture, was the central reason for the tower existing in the first place.††
† Future proposal – design and build an actual skyscraper.
†† Original plans called for several 2x4’s to be lashed together in the form of a four-legged tripod. It was to be these contraptions that helped facilitate hanging through the floors of the building. Like something from an antiquated building site, these tripods soon became their own form of rudimentary architecture, barely held together, skeletal, stripped down and confused about what they are.
P·P·O·W is pleased to present the gallery’s first exhibition with New York-based artist Adam Putnam. For the last ten years, Putnam’s practice has steadily evolved out of an interest in live action as a means of investigating the intersection of our physical selves with the architectural spaces we inhabit. Through this process, the boundary between interior and exterior space is blurred. Photography, drawing, sculpture and video are all employed interchangeably, as the artist himself slowly dissolves and merges with the physical elements of space.
Also on view are a series of short video works entitled Reclaimed Empire (Deep Edit), 2008-2014, a selection of films from an ongoing series comprised of over 60 fragments and short works. Putnam explains that “the original title, reclaimed empire, initially an overt nod to Warhol’s ‘Empire,’ speaks less about homage, and more to the notion of a constant return to repeated subject matter – a gaze that never leaves, that stares un-blinkingly – mechanically – at the same subject. This was my ‘Empire’, comprised of whatever was on hand in my studio, sculptural fragments, broken mirrors, architectural models and other detritus." Putnam's use of repeated imagery accumulates into several loose sections — reflections, landscapes, set pieces, and the veiled. His subject matter reveals itself through the building up of imagery that explores the boundary between the physical self, architecture, and the environment, often using one as a stand in for the other.
Putnam’s work has been included in various exhibitions including 2008 Whitney Biennial; the 2nd Moscow Biennial, and the Busan Biennial, South Korea, as well as shown at notable institutions, including MoMA PS1, The Whitney Musuem, The Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo. Curatorial projects have included an exhibition of Martin Wong entitled Everything Must Go at P·P·O·W and Blow Both of Us at Participant Inc. Recent projects include solo exhibitions at Locust Projects, Miami and Artpace, San Antonio.