Kris Graves creates photographs of landscapes and people to preserve memory. The images’ stillness cause the viewer to acknowledge the inevitability of change, and the passage of time in both the natural and built environment. These views will never be exactly as they were at their precise recorded moment. Graves suspends his belief and knowledge of this change, not to document a moment or state, but rather to sustain it. When thinking of landscapes, Graves focuses on the volatile – land that is ever changing.
Kris Graves (b. 1982 New York, NY) is an artist and publisher based in New York and London. He received his BFA in Visual Arts from S.U.N.Y. Purchase College. Graves has been published and exhibited globally, including the National Portrait Gallery in London, England; Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, Oregon; Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania; and ClampArt Gallery in New York; amongst others.
My photographs are about the experience of raising a family and living within the parameters of a domestic structure. Because I’m both physically and emotionally attached to where I am, I’ve chosen to make photographs that are close to home. They are a visceral response to what is here, right now.
When I was new to parenting, with two small children, I was somewhat lost creatively. I longed for subject matter with a clear story line. At the time I was casually photographing my children. Eventually I realized that I was exactly where I needed to be; that this space and time were meaningful and worthy as subject matter. It took years before I realized that a body of work had formed. It evolved for me as I allowed myself to embrace the idea of a looser and messier narrative in my photographs.
I’ve come to understand my children, both of whom are now teenagers, through documenting their everyday. I’m very blessed to have such generous subjects. They’re growing up and breaking boundaries, emerging into the people they need to become. My photographs are a reminder of what existed and yet, at the same time, they allow me to let go and embrace the present. Time will not stand still, however, these photographs are lasting. They have become our shared memories and will likely outlive us all.
For once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.
Fisherman in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.
Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.
What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.
If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.
Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.
Two things my family have always kept consistent in my childhood were sharing music and time in nature. I’ve never made it a habit of documenting the places I go. On the other hand, what I’ve always documented was my family in nature. We spend our best time together outdoors away from the busy work of regular life.
This short album is a tribute to the memories and histories we created by venturing outdoors. I love these photos because they are the happiest versions of ourselves I have recorded.
The adventures I have captured in these brief histories anticipate a cross country road trip, a quest in the southwest, and an annual pilgrimage to Washington.
Please enjoy the soundtrack to our natural histories.
The KMA Teen Council has been inspired by Nan Goldin’s work to create our own ballads. Goldin presents her work most often as a stream of images paired with a defining playlist of music, the most famous being the Ballad of Sexual Dependency. She relates the themes of her work in this way; that a song and a photograph can both answer and ask the same questions.
For my own “ballad”, I worked with my boyfriend to try and compact the two years of photographs and songs that have bridged the six hour gap between us. In his words, “As a young adult. . . I met you as I just turned eighteen, I wanted to get out into the world. There are lots of pictures of places where we adventured. I like the photos because you enabled me to go to those places.”
There are places that we went together, areas filled with a mystical energy that I see both in him and in those places. He has pushed me to pursue the furthest corners of myself. While we have spent time apart, we are brought together in a new way by capturing the moments of life in photos and songs to share with one another.
Coldspring. Rocks which lead nowhere (taking exception of the photo itself.) Disposable camera fixation.
“Thicker Than A Smokery” Gary Higgins
Ascribed on the back: “Hey Guys, It’s Storm King!” Disposable camera fixation.
“Hey, Who Really Cares” Linda Perhacs
The top of Storm King mountain. A hike turned hitchhike.
Promposal (the Demise of John Green)
“Mutual Core” Björk
Tree, just past Sally’s house. The first time in Rhode Island.
“1930’s Beach House” Movietone
On the way to prom. Disposable camera fixation.
“Rebel Rebel” Seu Jorge
Fourth of July II, lake house. Long day.
“Eleven Willows” C.O.B.
Fog. Exchange over text.
“Promise (Reprise)” Silent Hill 2 OST
Birdhouse. Built by a mutual friend and snuck onto my property.
The idea for Picturing Love sprang from a single photograph: Nan Goldin’s The Hug (1980). Conceived as part of her landmark slide show, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (1979-2004), the work sets important themes into motion, capturing the shadows, mysteries, and gestures of human intimacy. Significantly, her project delineated a world where relationships, and coupling in particular, took many forms, embracing same-sex love as well as straight, queer, transgender, and familial affections. Artists represented in the exhibition probe the theme of love from a variety of personal and contextual perspectives, granting the viewer entry into their bedrooms and studios, as well as public spaces that harbor intimacy like clubs, beaches, and parks. These settings play a crucial role in defining types of intimacy that are captured photographically, often exposing the political, cultural, and socio-economic conditions that shape human relationships.
Picturing Love is organized by KMA’s Executive Director Darsie Alexander and Curatorial Fellow Olga Dekalo. In 2005, Darsie Alexander wrote about The Hug during her time at the Baltimore Museum of Art while Olga Dekalo was studying photography as an undergraduate student at Purchase College.
Artists Transform the Katonah Museum of Art in Summer Exhibition, OnSite Katonah
Museum’s Façade Re-Envisioned by Victoria Fu’s “Egg”
July 10 – October 2, 2016
June 21, 2015, Katonah, NY: The Katonah Museum of Art (KMA) will present transformative, site-specific installations responding to the Museum’s distinctive architecture and setting this summer in the exhibition, OnSite Katonah, opening July 10. With projects that are boldly immersive and keenly subtle, artists reimagine every facet of the KMA’s location, offering a museum that is at once familiar and strange. Inviting
visitors to walk over, under, and through artworks in the exhibition, OnSite Katonah also provides numerous opportunities for KMA Members and the wider community to join in the creation process, from serving as volunteer artist assistants working side-by-side with artist Caitlin Masley during installation, to programs surrounding an offsite public art installation by Keiran Brennan Hinton to be unveiled at sherry b dessert studio (Chappaqua, NY) this fall.
Artists in the exhibition employ formal ingenuity to transform common materials—such as plastic, rope, artificial lights, mirrors, and paint—to commanding effect. Reflection, geometry, luminosity, and rich visual texture are common threads that emerge in unexpected installations that newly sensitize viewers to the KMA’s site. Artists include Grimanesa Amorós, Amy Brener, MaDora Frey, Keiran Brennan Hinton, Caitlin Masley, Caleb Nussear, Jason Peters, and Rachel Mica Weiss. OnSite Katonah is organized by the Katonah Museum of Art’s Associate Curator, Elizabeth Rooklidge.
Darsie Alexander, Executive Director of the Katonah Museum of Art, says, “In creating this exhibition, we wanted to think about our entire campus as an extension of our creative energy, giving artists free reign to explore the hills, gardens, and frontage of the KMA as well as making works for the gallery space. Visitors are invited to meander through our spaces, and take in the surprises and discoveries of art everywhere.”
In conjunction with OnSite Katonah, Egg, a massive new commission by Victoria Fu, will wrap the KMA’s iconic façade. Featuring a silhouetted hand holding an egg against a brilliantly colored background, the artwork re-envisions the KMA’s elegant architecture as a location for a bold and enigmatic statement.
With a deliberate twist to further engage its surrounding community, Onsite will go “offsite” in September, with a public mural by OnSite Katonah artist Keiran Brennan Hinton. Co-commissioned by the KMA, in partnership with sherry b dessert studio, the installation will begin in July, shortly after the opening of the OnSite Katonah. Several public “open studio” events inviting community members of all ages will accompany the installation process at sherry b, with the mural fully revealed on September 17th. This new partnership evidences the KMA’s and sherry b dessert studio’s shared commitment to act as catalysts for bringing art into the heart of the Westchester community.
“We are thrilled to invite such a dynamic group of artists to make their mark on the KMA” said Associate Curator Elizabeth Rooklidge. “For several artists, OnSite Katonah provides them with their first museum exhibition. We relish the opportunity to bring fresh and exciting new talent to a local and national community.”
A number of OnSite’s installations will mine the KMA’s own Edward Larrabee Barnes-designed modernist building to present fantastical visions that respond to forms observed in the Museum’s distinctive architecture. These novel interpretations echo with familiarity even while suggesting the unique psychological effects of built space on our personal experiences. Caitlin Masley’s mural in The Beatrice Coleman Hall features abstracted structures that appear to explode and reconstruct themselves piece by piece. In the new Spot Lounge, Keiran Brennan Hinton transforms paint and canvas into meditations on our encounters with the human-made environment. Amongst the Marilyn M. Simpson Sculpture Garden’s towering spruce trees, Rachel Mica Weiss presents five shelter-like structures that mimic the KMA’s architectural lines, stretching and bending them to dynamize the outdoor space.
Many of the works in the exhibition seem to bridge multiple states at once—the organic and technological; the earthly and otherworldly; the past, present, and future. Grimanesa Amorós devotes a darkened Sally and Volney Righter Gallery to a light installation of plastic, bubble-like forms, which appear as glowing islands. In the Mary L. Beitzel Gallery, Jason Peters assembles over one hundred utility buckets to create an illuminated tube that loops through a grid of metal scaffolding. MaDora Frey’s installation appears in an unorthodox setting: the Museum parking lot. In this work, a crystalline construction seems to have alighted from above onto a pile of gravel. Caleb Nussear places his tessellated mirror sculptures—simultaneously mathematical and ethereal—sprawling across the green expanse of the South Lawn. Amy Brener’s installation on the Lower Campus appears at first glance as a shimmering pool of water. Upon closer inspection it reveals itself as poured resin, embedded with technological objects and natural material. Are these works relics of bygone eras, or perhaps glimpses of what will be?
Whatever questions roused, the installations in OnSite Katonah serve to expand the visitor’s understanding of the possibilities inherent in the KMA’s singular setting. Each of these artistic interventions render its entire physical space—which so deeply impacts the KMA’s institutional identity—as a platform for creative expression.
1st LOOK Saturday, July 9, 4 – 6PM, Curator’s talk and walkthrough at 5PM
Curator’s Circle level members and above
Preview the exhibition before it opens. Associate Curator Elizabeth Rooklidge leads a walkthrough of the exhibition at 5PM.
Members’ Preview Saturday, March 5, 6 – 8PM, Docent tour at 6:30PM
All levels of membership – KMA members receive first-access to exhibitions. Join a docent tour of OnSite Katonah at 6:30PM.
Creativity Club Thursdays, July 21 – August 4, 10:00AM – 2:00PM
Pre-paid registration required, Two sections: Ages 6-9, and 10-14. $50 members, $60 non-members for each class.
Discounts provided for multiple workshops or siblings. Please bring lunch!
Campus Tour Sunday, September 18, 3:30 pm
Join artists from OnSite Katonah for a campus tour of the Katonah Museum of Art to view works from the exhibition.
SUPPORT: The Katonah Museum of Art is supported in part by Arts Westchester with support by the Westchester County Government, The New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
ABOUT THE KATONAH MUSEUM OF ART: The Katonah Museum of Art, through innovative exhibition and education programs, promotes the understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts for diverse audiences. The Museum presents exhibitions that explore ideas about art, culture, and society – past and present.
CURRENT AND UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS: Aaron Curry, UGLY MESS through October 2, 2016 OnSite Katonah July 10 – October 2, 2016
Victoria Fu, Egg July 10 – October 2, 2016 Matisse Drawings: Curated by October 23, 2016 – January 29, 2017 Ellsworth Kelly from the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation Collection
The Katonah Museum of Art is located at 134 Jay Street, Katonah, NY 10536. Museum hours are: Tuesday through Saturday from 10am – 5pm, Sunday from 12pm – 5pm, closed Monday. General admission: $10 adults, $5 seniors & students. Members & children under the age of 12 always enter free. For more information, please call (914) 232-9555 or visit http://www.katonahmuseum.org.
Stay connected with the Katonah Museum of Art on Facebook (facebook.com/KatonahMuseum), Instagram (@KatonahMuseum) and Twitter (@KatonahMuseum.)
While listening to James Prosek at the Gallery Talk on March 11, I was particularly struck by something he said: “Humans draw lines everywhere, but nature doesn’t know those lines are there.” As he spoke about his constant disregard for boundaries and “No Trespassing” signs throughout his life, I reflected on my own explorations. To me, the most important part of learning is exploring interdisciplinary connections across a wide variety of subjects, whether they be art, science, math, music, or literature. As I read the exhibit description on the KMA website, I sensed that the artists were searching for the same type of connections, however in the specific context of birds and art. The artists are not only taking inspiration from the natural world, but working to reflect it in both realistic and abstract ways, as they cross lines, separating science and art, the natural world and human-made visual pieces.
This recital, on May 1, allows me to fully explore beyond any boundaries that could isolate one’s learning and discovery as I search for the relationships between visual art, music, and nature. Through a recital program that truly reflects the themes of the exhibit, I feel that the audience will be able to go beyond their own “No Trespassing” signs as they comprehend the connections between the high pitched, birdlike notes from the violin and the black shadows of Prosek’s birds circling the atrium.
Meet at the Katonah Museum of Art’s Atrium Sunday, May 1st at 1pm for a recital by Zoe Dweck and students from the Fox Lane High School and the HoffBarthelson Music School. The program is set in response to themes from the current Katonah Museum of Art exhibition, The Nest, an exhibition of art in nature. You can learn more about the event on our website.
You can certainly enjoy The Nest as a collection of individual works joined together by the common theme of birds, nest-building, and other avian instinctual practices. However, we encourage you to delve more deeply into the context and intent of the artwork in The Nest to discover additional themes that connect works throughout the galleries and that broaden your appreciation of the exhibition.
For example, what do a woven nest,
a jacket of feathers,
and a monochromatic photograph have in common?
Each of these works was crafted as a thoughtful and provocative reflection of the artists’ observations of their world. Tender, by Fiona Hall, mimics a natural nest form but is woven from US dollar bills to call attention to our primal need for a home and the cash required to obtain it. Sanford Biggers’s feather festooned Baby Ghettobird Tunic speaks to the experience of black men trying to camouflage themselves in an attempt to hide from Los Angeles police helicopters — slangily called “ghetto birds”. Untitled (Hand holding nest) was created by David Wojnarowicz as he struggled with the environment in New York City in the late 1980s during the AIDS crisis.
Social commentary is just one of the themes you’ll find in The Nest; other themes include collaborative artistic practices, and folklore and magic. We hope you’ll explore The Nest to find more connections. Please let us what know what themes you discover in the comments section!
All manner of nests, both physical and metaphorical, are on display at the Katonah Museum of Art, giving evidence to the rich inspiration birds provide for artists and the incredible skill of birds themselves.
The lighting design in the galleries adds a delightful and thoughtful element to the exhibition, enhancing our engagement with many of the works . Consider, for example, the shadow beneath the swift’s nest. Because of the shadow, we can more fully appreciate the delicate arrangement of sticks and the strength of the saliva needed to secure the nest for young.
Sometimes a shadow appears to be another item in the exhibition, suspended with other items as artwork on the wall, enabling us to appreciate the nest form from another perspective.
Dove Bradshaw’s handwoven Home certainly references birds’ nest making practices, but the shadows seen in tandem with the honey locust thorns suggest a home that might be neither nurturing nor inviting.
The shadows that pool at the feet of Paul Villinski’s Self-Portrait add an unexpected element to his life-sized sculpture that suggests that we carry our home within us. The intertwining lines of steel have a lovely delicacy that is emphasized by the shadows they create.
As you travel through the exhibition, we encourage you to take note of the shadows and consider how they amplify your dialogue with or modify how you view the art. The Nest, an Exhibition of Art in Nature will be on display at the Museum through June 18th.