Josée Bienvenu Gallery is pleased to announce Reading Room, an off-site project by Fernanda Fragateiro and Shahrzad Kamel for NADA House, on view at Governor's Island, Colonel's Row House 403, Floor 1.
Fernanda Fragateiro and Shahrzad Kamel (who previously collaborated on NOwhere without NO, an exhibition around Charlotte Posensenske’s work) curate a Reading Room including sculptures and photograms that revolve around two moments of historical significance in American history, and expand on Governors Island's historical importance in the Cold War: The December 7, 1988, presidential Meeting and the 1959 American National Exhibition which took place in a large dome designed by Buckminster Fuller in Moscow.
On December 7, 1988, President Ronald Reagan and President Elect George H. W. Bush met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Governors Island, then the headquarters for the Coast Guard. Documentation of the events that took place that day remained secret for twenty years and are now declassified. The speech, one that in essence declares the end to the Cold War, was carefully crafted to continue the disarmament momentum with the incoming Bush administration. The 1959 American National exhibition, sponsored by the American government featured many displays of the latest home appliances, fashions, television and hi-fi sets, a model house, farm equipment, 1959 automobiles, boats, sporting equipment and a children's playground, as well as a reading room and vinyl records. It was intended to narrow the gap between the Americans and the Soviets to improve the political relations between them. It was also a tool of cultural diplomacy against the Soviet Communist Regime. The various displays of the exhibit, which involved the designer George Nelson, were seen as successful in promoting the American way of life as superior to the Communist regime and lifestyle. A multi-screen film was presented, "Glimpses of the USA" by Charles and Ray Eames.
A curated book selection is available for visitors to look through and spend time with. Including: Cold War Hothouses, Ed. Beatriz Colomina, Annmarie Brenan and Jeannie Kim, 2004; Enclosed By Images: The Eameses Multimedia Architecture, Beatriz Colomina, 2001; Domesticity at War, Beatriz Colomina, 2007;Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, R. Buckminster Fuller, 1968; Critical Path, R. Buckminster Fuller, 1981; Dr. Zhivago, Boris Pasternak, 1957; An Eames Anthology, Charles and Ray Eames, 2015, etc.