Washed Up: Transforming a Trashed Landscape, October 17-December 17, 2019
An exhibition of work by Alejandro Durán
Washed Up is an environmental installation and photography project that transforms the international debris washing up on Mexico’s Caribbean coast into aesthetic yet disquieting works.
Over the course of this project Durán has identified plastic waste from 58 nations and territories on six continents that have washed ashore along the coast of Sian Ka’an, one of Mexico’s largest federally protected reserves and an UNESCO World Heritage site. He uses this international debris to create color-based, site-specific sculptures that conflate the hand of man and nature. At times he distributes the objects the way the waves would; at other times, the plastic mimics algae, roots, rivers, or fruit, reflecting the infiltration of plastics into the natural environment.
More than creating a surreal or fantastical landscape, these installations mirror the reality of our current environmental predicament. The resulting photo series depicts a new form of colonization by consumerism, where even undeveloped land is not safe from the far-reaching impact of our culture of disposable products. The alchemy of Washed Up lies not only in transforming a trashed landscape, but in the project’s potential to raise awareness and change our relationship to consumption and waste.
Text and images courtesy Alejandro Durán
Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #797
Site Specific Installation in the Greenwich Academy Dining Hall, 2018-19
(First installed at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College in 1995.)
Renowned Conceptualist and Minimalist artist Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) spent 30 years developing simple sets of instructions for large-scale wall drawings that could be created by other people, even after his death. His drawings use unique patterning, coding, and an element of chance, so that each new iteration differs from previous installations. On loan to Greenwich Academy from the LeWitt Collection in Chester, Connecticut, Wall Drawing #797 utilizes a series of instructions beginning with a black line drawn at random on a white wall. As subsequent lines are drawn in a repeating red, yellow, blue sequence, the pattern of the first line is recreated but also, inevitably, altered. The drawing is complete when the bottom of the wall is reached. Students and faculty are participating in the creation of this unique work of art.
States of Mind: Cuba and North Korea, February 28-April 23, 2019
Belgian-born photographer Carl de Keyzer has traveled the world capturing slice-of-life images of countries experiencing ethnic tension, revolutionary change, or environmental crisis. This exhibition focuses on two series of de Keyzer’s photographs taken in Cuba in 2015 and North Korea between 2015 and 2017. Cuba, La Lucha (Cuba, the Fight) documents Cuba’s evolving culture, rooted in Communism but increasingly open to Western capitalism. DPR Korean Grand Tour, shot during four official visits to North Korea between 2015 and 2017, suggests the psychological strain felt by those living under the Kim regime. De Keyzer is the only foreign-born, professional photographer to have traveled and photographed all over North Korea.
This exhibition premiered at American University in the fall of 2018, and the exhibition here marks the second time DPR Korean Grand Tour has been shown in North America.
Transformations: The Art of Faustin Adeniran, October 11-December 18, 2018
Red Dot, 2015, aluminum on panel, 37 x 48 in
Nigerian-born artist Faustin Adeniran fabricates intricate sculptures that weave together cultural references from the United States and West Africa. His preferred medium is the aluminum can, cut into strips or lozenges and assembled in a manner that resembles weaving. His work explores notions of status in post-colonial Africa, the “transcendant assimilation” of the power structure and sensibility of British and French colonists. Now a resident of New Haven, Adeniran has said, “If you want to learn about a society, look at what it throws away.”
The Peace of Wild Things: Melissa Groo’s Wildlife Photography, March 1-April 26, 2018
Melissa Groo (GA ’80) describes herself as a wildlife biographer, and her solo exhibition at GA features a wide array of stunning photographs of birds, foxes, cheetahs, and other animals in their natural habitats. Groo is committed to ethical photography and is a fellow in the International League of Conservation Photographers. She contributes to Outdoor Magazine and Audubon, has been featured on the cover of Smithsonian, and has won numerous awards in her field.
After graduating from Greenwich Academy, Melissa Groo studied English and education before a career change led her to the Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology. Work for Cornell’s Elephant Listening Project sent her to the central African rainforest, where she spent numerous field seasons absorbing the sounds of elephants in the wild. Her exhibition at GA is set to the sound of thrushes singing in a light rain; in the lobby, a live feed of an albatross nest runs on an IPad.
The title of this exhibition, drawn from a poem by Wendell Berry, suggests that humans may find refuge in the beauty and grace of nature. Groo’s photographs invite prolonged study and provide us with a chance to experience “the peace of wild things.”
Photo: Melissa Groo
Homeland InSecurity, October 11-December 12, 2017
Greenwich Academy hosted a solo exhibition of Syrian artist Mohamad Hafez, an artist and architect residing in New Haven. Born in Damascus and schooled in Saudi Arabia, Hafez came to the United States to study architecture, and today he works for New Haven firm Pickard Chilton. Through intricate, three-dimensional models of gutted cities constructed from an array of found materials, Hafez evokes the homeland he longs for and conveys the tragedy of cities like Aleppo and Homs, devastated by civil war. Hafez’s moving sculptures have been featured in The New Yorker and The New York Times.
Stanley Casselman: Into the Light, January 24-April 13, 2017
At the beginning of 2017, the Luchsinger Gallery hosted a solo exhibition of the work of Stanley Casselman, a contemporary artist based in Jersey City. Casselman’s moving light piece, Evolution-One_Emma, was showcased in a darkened gallery. The Jacobs Lobby featured large-scale, luminous paintings that Casselman created using enormous squeegees dragged across his canvases. This was complemented in March with a special viewing of a James Turrell light installation, with dance and musical performances. Turrell was an important influence on Casselman.
Light and Space: A Special Viewing of GA’s James Turrell Light Installation
March 30, 7-9 PM.
GA Portal and Portal Lab: September 15-December 15, 2016
During the fall of 2016, Greenwich Academy became the first Pre-K–12 school to host a Portal, a gold shipping container housing immersive audio-visual technology that connected our campus to other Portals around the world. Positioned next to Ruth West Campbell hall, the GA Portal served as art installation and dynamic classroom, fostering global discussions and improvisational performances with youth in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Gaza, Honduras, Mexico, and Milwaukee. During the three-month engagement, GA connected with a camp for displaced Iraqis, a university in Afghanistan, a high school in Honduras, and a community center in Milwaukee. The Luchsinger Gallery served as a Portal Lab, a space for briefing and debriefing on the experience. As one student wrote after meeting with Iraqi children displaced by the ISIS takeover of Mosul: “My mind has begun to ponder the immense vastness of the world…”
The Strength of All Thy Past: Greenwich Academy, a Retrospective (Spring 2016)
Laurie Olinder: Paper Falls and Other Natural Wonders (Fall 2015)
Claire Corey (Fall 2014)