Pointing Machines at the 2014 Whitney Biennial

With Triple Canopy Whitney Museum of American Art

Triple Canopy is pleased to announce its participation in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, which opens on March 7, 2014. Triple Canopy’s contribution to the exhibition is an installation titled Pointing Machines, after the simple eighteenth-century measuring tool for reproducing sculpture in stone or wood with a system of adjustable rods and needles.

Triple Canopy asks how the meaning of artworks shifts as they are commissioned, made, collected, disowned, replicated, photographed, exhibited, and published, taking into account the role of circulation systems as varied as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and eBay. The magazine's installation for the Biennial connects the history of reproduction by technical and artistic means to the recent, remarkable collapse of the difference between objects and information. Triple Canopy treats paintings and furniture as data to be manipulated, but also asserts that each instance of reproduction can be generative and enriching.

The installation consists largely of reproductions—by handcraft, 3-D printing, and photography—of paintings and a colonial-era wash basin stand, once part of the wide-ranging collection of “Naïve Painting” and early American furniture of Colonel Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch. (Among the works in the installation are collaborations with C. Spencer Yeh and Frank B. Rhodes, a furniture maker and the grandson of the Garbisches.) The Garbisches collected some 2,500 eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American paintings: still lifes, maritime and agricultural scenes, historical and religious figures, portraiture. The Whitney held twenty-five paintings donated by the Garbisches; having decided to focus on American artwork of the twentieth century, the museum deaccessioned these works in 1999. The imagery in these paintings—authored by itinerant portraitists and other craftsmen—was often derived from engravings, photographs, and other widely circulated print images. The paintings, while not strictly “original,” evince the integral role of publishing in early American visual culture and in the cultivation of a national self-image.

Triple Canopy's installation is part of an issue of the magazine, also titled Pointing Machines, that continues the reproduction and circulation of the displayed objects beyond the museum’s walls, and includes essays, artist projects, discussions, and performances to be published and presented in the next year. As part of this issue, Triple Canopy will organize an evening-long event to take place at the museum on April 26th, to be announced shortly.

Triple Canopy, Pointing Machines, 2014, Whitney Biennial 2014, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Triple Canopy, Pointing Machines, 2014, Whitney Biennial 2014, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.