Minus Space is pleased to present the exhibition Roberta Allen: Some Facts About Fear. This is the renowned New York City-based artist and writer’s second solo exhibition at the gallery and it will present a new suite of works on paper and one sculptural installation.
For five decades, Roberta Allen has produced conceptually-driven work in a variety of media, including drawing, collage, photography, printmaking, artist books, and installation. Her groundbreaking work produced during the 1970s often merged performance, photography and language, revealing wholly unique forms that hybridized and advanced the discourse of Post-Minimalism, Conceptual, Feminist, and Performance Art.
Allen’s current exhibition will premiere two new, multi-faceted works by the artist: Some Facts About Fear and City of Dying Dreams. Based and expanding upon an earlier body of work she originally produced in 1980, Some Facts About Fear consists of 40 works on paper produced with an array of mixed media materials, including coffee, marker, graphite, and colored pencil. Merging visual image and verbal description, the work combines conceptual diagrams, as well as instances of representational imagery, such as a handgun, glass of wine, butterfly, ice cream sundae, and a couple French kissing, alongside snippets of handwritten, descriptive text. Some Facts About Fear will be installed across all three walls of the gallery in a single horizontal frieze.
In the center of the gallery, Allen will also present a new sculptural installation entitled City of Dying Dreams on an unadorned, low-lying MDF plinth. The work consists of approximately 100 vertical forms, often resembling fanciful architectural towers intricately assembled out of untreated wooden shapes commonly used in children’s model kits and craft projects. The towers vary widely in size and appearance, and are presented densely packed together on the pedestal. Some towers stand tall while others lean precariously against each other or are knocked over entirely and lie on their sides.
Roberta Allen (b. 1945, New York, NY) is a New York City-based visual artist and writer. Allen has travelled widely throughout her career. She lived and worked in Europe, and later travelled in Central and South America and West Africa. Since the late 1960s, Allen has mounted more than two dozen solo exhibitions, including two at MoMA/PS1 and four at the legendary John Weber Gallery (both NYC), where she was represented during the 1970s and early 1980s. She has also mounted one-person exhibitions at Franklin Furnace (NYC); The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library (La Jolla, CA); Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus (Munich, Germany); and Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (Perth, Australia), among others in the United States and abroad.
Her work has been included in countless group exhibitions at museums worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum, Queens Museum (all NYC); Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY); Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art (Ridgefield, CT); Worcester Art Museum (Worcester, MA); Baltimore Museum of Art (Baltimore, MD); Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France); Wiener Secession (Vienna, Austria); Museo de Arte Contemporanea (Sao Paulo, Brazil); Museo Nacional de Artes Plasticas (Montevideo, Uruguay); and National Art Gallery (Wellington, New Zealand), among many others.
Her work is included in collections, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (both NYC); Wadsworth Atheneum (Hartford, CT); Yale University (New Haven, CT); Worchester Art Museum (Worchester, MA); Cincinnati Art Museum (Cincinnati, OH); Contemporary Arts Museum (Houston, TX); Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France); Museo del Novecento (Milan, Italy); Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus (Munich, Germany); and Art Gallery of Western Australia (Perth, Australia).
In addition to her visual work, Allen is an accomplished writer who has been widely published since the 1980s. This includes her brand new book The Princess of Herself (Pelekinesis, 2017), as well as three short story collections (The Traveling Woman, The Daughter, Certain People), a novel (The Dreaming Girl), a memoir (Amazon Dream), and three writing guides (Fast Fiction, The Playful Way to Serious Writing, The Playful Way to Knowing Yourself). Her stories, memoirs, essays, and articles have been included in more than a dozen anthologies and more than three hundred magazines and journals. Allen has received writing awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Arts Council, Yaddo, and MacDowell Colony, among others.