This autumn, the Astrup Fearnley Museet will present a major solo exhibition by American artist Rachel Harrison. Sitting in a Room includes sculpture, drawing, photography and painting and focuses on recent work.
Image above: Image: Rachel Harrison, Venus, 2021 (detail). Photo: Evan Bedford.
Harrison’s nimble, multi-layered method of art-making defies easy categorisation. Abstraction is infused with vernacular references to shrill, often comic effect, as formalist concerns are forced to compete with rogue elements from the outside world. Cultural symbols, art history and space itself are subjected to new scrutiny, with hierarchies being levelled through a democratising process of sifting and accumulating. Harrison defies the distinction between sculpture and pedestal, often making packing crates or scattered cardboard boxes the material of her constructions; she appropriates the means of transportation used to transport and store the commercial goods that populate her work.
This alertness to the environmental conditions of art is also evident in Harrison’s spatial approach to this exhibition, which takes its name from a 1969 sound artwork, I Am Sitting in a Room by Alvin Lucier. The five galleries were conceived by the artist as distinct spaces – sculpture courtyard, town square, gymnasium, living room and cabinet – and the works are configured to place the viewer in both intimate and public contexts. In the exhibition, which Harrison calls neither a survey nor a retrospective, but an intuitive remeasurement of the conceptual coordinates of her recent work, the setting is explored in its various manifestations.
Curated by Solveig Øvstebø
Rachel Harrison (b. 1966) graduated from Wesleyan University in 1989 and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. This solo exhibition at the Astrup Fearnley Museet follows a mid-career survey exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2019-20). Harrison’s work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions and catalogues and is represented in major public collections worldwide.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Astrup Fearnley Museet will publish an extensive catalogue with texts by Negar Azimi, Anne Dressen, Lars Bang Larsen and Solveig Øvstebø. This thoroughly illustrated publication, to be released at the end of the exhibition period, will include installation views of Sitting in a Room as well as detailed images of Harrison’s work across media. Designed by Joseph Logan.
Friday, 30. September 2022 until Sunday, 12. February 2023
Astrup Fearnley Museet