“Looking Back” is the eighth installment of the White Columns Annual. The exhibition is now a fixture on White Columns’ calendar. Each year, an individual or a collaborative team (e.g. an artist, a curator, a writer, etc.) is invited to make an exhibition at White Columns based on their personal experience of looking at art in New York in the previous year. For the eighth ‘Annual’ exhibition, White Columns has invited the New York-based independent curator Pati Hertling to make the selection.

In a very straightforward sense, the ‘Annual’ exhibition hopes to reveal something of the complexities involved in trying to negotiate - and engage with - NewYork’s constantly shifting cultural landscape. The format of the exhibition inevitably encourages highly subjective and deeply personal responses to the realities of viewing art in New York. The ‘Annual’ exhibition series hopes to illuminate aspects of the specific, yet highly idiosyncratic routes –geographical, intellectual, historical, social, etc. – that individuals follow in an increasingly expansive and fragmented cultural environment.

Through the re-contextualization of artworks encountered in other circumstances and contexts, the exhibition hopes to establish – albeit temporarily – a new ‘narrative’, a conversation, of sorts, amongst artists and artworks, that seeks to illuminate and/or explore certain underlying tendencies, conditions, or connections that perhaps might otherwise have remained elusive or obscured. In re-thinking the (fairly) recent past the exhibition hopes to provoke something akin to a sense of deja-vu, establishing a scenario that is at once both reflective and forward thinking.

There are no restrictions as to what type of work can be included. “Looking Back” seeks to eliminate any categorical or hierarchical distinctions we might place upon artworks (e.g. based upon the circumstances in which they were originally seen, or the seniority of an individual artist, etc.) These works might have been originally encountered in exhibitions at institutions, galleries, and not-for-profit spaces, at performances and readings, or during visits to artists’ studios and collector’s homes, etc.

Reviewing curator Bob Nickas’ ‘Annual’ in 2010 Holland Cotter wrote: “One of the things that makes the White Columns annuals so valuable is that they often include artists … who are unlikely to find their way into mainstream institutions. A second, equally important function that “Looking Back” serves, or should serve, is to provide a view of contemporary art that is not entirely determined by art-industry consensus – meaning the market – but rather is seen through a single informed, idiosyncratic, even resistant sensibility.”

Previous Selectors for the White Columns Annual The inaugural ‘Annual’ exhibition in 2006 was selected by White Columns’ Director Matthew Higgs; the second in 2007 was selected by independent curator Clarissa Dalrymple; the third in 2008 was selected by curator and writer Jay Sanders; the fourth in 2009 was selected by Miriam Katzeff and James Hoff of Primary Information; the fifth in 2010 by curator and writer Bob Nickas; the sixth edition in 2011 was selected by the artists Ken Okiishi and Nick Mauss; and the seventh in 2013 was selected by Artists Spaces’s curator Richard Birkett. The 9th White Columns Annual (which will open in January 2015) will be selected by writer Lynne Tillman.

White Columns Gallery
320 West 13th Street
New York (NY) 10014 United States
Tel. +1 (212) 9244212

Opening hours
Tuesday - Saturday
From 12pm to 6pm