Established and emerging, historical and contemporary. Platforms: Collection and Commissions is a different kind of moving image exhibition, displaying work across multiple interfaces—from the palm of your hand to the wall of the gallery. The show highlights key works from the Walker’s collection juxtaposed with new commissions by 12 international contemporary artists. Every seven weeks, a new grouping will be rotated into the space, encouraging viewers to return and experience yet another new perspective. These commissions will also be available online.
Between 2014 and 2018, the Walker commissioned this series to respond to the influence and inquiry of leading artists and filmmakers in the Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection. The new works bridge generations: the contemporary artists create a piece inspired by the work of a specific predecessor. The dynamic initiative weaves together production, scholarship, distribution, and archival research.
The show’s first installment features the collaborative work Crossing (2016) by Leslie Thornton and James Richards, Leslie Thornton’s They Were Just People (2016), and Bruce Conner’s CROSSROADS (1976), his iconic film of the 1946 Bikini Atoll nuclear test. Thornton’s commission piece is a chilling, personal response to Conner: an exploration of the purpose and repurposing of memory during wartime. She combines her own manipulated footage of the La Brea Tar Pits in California with an oral account describing moments in the immediate aftermath of the 1945 US atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. Thornton and Richards, on the other hand, draw inspiration from Conner’s interest in collage and archives and his use of psychedelic abstractions.
Subsequent installations in Platforms will include pieces by James Richards and Moyra Davey, inspired by British filmmaker Derek Jarman; Shahryar Nashat and Uri Aran’s works based on the films of Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers; and commissions by Yto Barrada, Renée Green, Marwa Arsanios, and the duo of Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz, all influenced by German filmmaker Harun Farocki. The exhibition will conclude with two new projects produced in 2018 by filmmakers Kevin Jerome Everson and Deborah Stratman.