Cornflower Blood Drive installation. 2018, ceramic, concrete, water, glass, leather, steel, dimensions VariableUrbanGlass
September 7, 2021 – January 7, 2022
Opening: Tuesday, September 7th, 2021, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
For Premium, her solo exhibition at UrbanGlass, Carly Mandel is presenting a group of works that address trauma caused by the privatized healthcare and consumer wellness industries. The gallery installation includes new ceramic, metal, and glass work borrowing shapes or depicting massagers, grab bars, skipping ropes, hula hoops, medical ID bracelets, and sharp containers that reference Almond’s personal narratives of physical therapy and disability.
Mandel’s practice deals with the medicalization of objects and people in late capitalism. Her sculptures focus on how survival is represented through goods; by depicting these objects, she illustrates how all of us are unable to thrive regardless of their consumption. This reveals a paradox: as our society supposedly advances, our bodies become weaker and we see more effort to be successful or even to live without intervention. Based on her personal experiences from observing her process of medicalization, Mandel’s works show how we are enhanced through medicine and synthetic objects – namely the privatization of life itself.
The rise of “self-care” alongside the contemporary “health care” debate is no accident. As government-subsidized health care in the United States is threatened, wellness products and experiences grow; with sound baths, meditation retreats, Impossible meat products or the latest goop trends, which are among the most au courant. Consumers are encouraged to “pull themselves up” on their bootstraps, so to speak, through their purchasing power, which in turn is directly related to their profitability as an employee. Those who are more productive or not affected by chronic illness are those who tend to be privately insured with their employer and at the same time have more capital for wellness.
Much like socially reinforced ideologies of work and productivity, wellness products are based on the mythology that earning more (and consuming more) will be the key to unlocking true potential. At the same time, this ethos obscures or shames those who are financially or physically incapable of participating in a consumer-oriented wellness culture. It tells us that our well-being and life itself come at a high, if not unattainable, price.
About Carly Mandel:
Mandel (née St. Louis, MO) is an artist based in Brooklyn, NY. In 2015 she received her BFA from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, OR. Her sculptures and videos have been shown nationally and internationally, most recently in a solo exhibition at Hamtramck Ceramck in Detroit, MI. Mandel was a recipient of the Kennedy Center’s Emerging Artist Grant in Washington, DC in 2017 and an UrbanGlass Visiting Artist Fellowship in 2019. An interview between Mandel and Kerry Doran was published in BOMB in 2018. You can find more information about her previous exhibitions, panels, press and awards on her website: carlymandel.com.
About Kerry Doran:
Kerry Doran is an art historian, critic and curator with projects in Buenos Aires, Hong Kong and New York. At the center of her interdisciplinary, research-based work are political-subversive media practices and artistic strategies; popular culture channels, distribution methods and formats; and the relationship between digital infrastructures, socio-economy and art practice.
Doran writes regularly for Artforum and specializes in time-based media, performance and the historical avant-garde of the Southern Cone. She is also a curatorial advisor at the M + Museum, with a focus on digital projects by Asian and Asian diaspora artists. She has presented her research at the British Computer Society, Carnegie Mellon University, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the International Center of Photography Museum, Goldsmiths, the M + Museum, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Doran was previously director of Postmasters and Bitforms and was one of the founding members of NEW INC, the incubator of the New Museum for Art, Design and Technology. She received her Masters with Honors from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, where she was an Associate Scholar at the Research Forum. She holds three summa cum laude degrees in anthropology, art history and interdisciplinary media arts practices from the University of Colorado Boulder. Doran’s published articles, curated exhibitions, lectures, awards and honors as well as press and media related to her projects can be found on her website: kerrydoran.info.