Hold Nothing

Liz Glynn

In Residence: Jan 21 – Mar 24, 2014

Exhibition: Mar 20 – May 18, 2014

How does history influence your work?

At Artpace I have been researching the point when money became abstract, and the origins of abstraction in the financial system. I’m interested in the shift from systems of coins, commodities and physical things to this world of paper accounting and, more recently, digital trading. The show is called Hold Nothing, and consists of a series of vessels, chests, and two very large cabinets. All of the objects are based on pieces from the Medici Grand Ducal Furniture workshop, a group of artisans that produced furniture for the Medici and other wealthy Florentine families during the High Renaissance period. The scale of the cabinets is odd, because they are large but not very deep. They actually had no function; the cabinets were huge displays of wealth. Anthropologists theorize that any object can function as currency: for the Aztecs it was the cacoa bean; in West Africa and China it was the cowry shell. In the context of the exhibition, I imagine the ceramic tiles functioning like coinage. Ceramics is actually an interesting media to work with because ceramic forms throughout history have harkened back to centuries before, taking a pattern and revising it, which is what these pieces are doing. The texture in some of the tiles actually comes from the parking lot outside the Artpace workshop.

With many of your works being guided by research and involving mixed materials, how hasSan Antonio become an intimate setting for these new works?

Prior to my first visit to San Antonio, I spent time in Florence researching the Medici, one of the first major banking families. When I visited San Antonio I saw many old bank buildings from the gilded age of banking, including the old Travis Bank building across the street from Artpace. While the architecture of San Antonio isn’t literally present in the work, this era of banking was very much on my mind.

The show draws upon many references to the Decorative Arts; can you tell us more about the cabinets, and how you came to the decision of making them?

The idea of this empty vessel seemed to me an interesting metaphor for value and the idea of assigning value to the media of exchange. In the context of the exhibition the pieces are activated once during the opening, when they will be picked up and moved around while I am reading a text, tracing this history of monetary value, personal value, arbitrary value, and speculative value. I like to think about these objects as objects in motion and things that are changed by how we use them and where they exist in space and time. The value of this object is only what one assigns to it. One of the reasons I decided to make these works was because I was interested in the question of what it means to make sculpture when our world has become so digital and ephemeral.


Liz Glynn

Los Angeles, California, USA

Working in sculpture and performance, Los Angeles-based artist Liz Glynn’s work explores the significance bestowed on objects due to sentimental value or perceived historic importance. For Performa 11, she orchestrated a group of 10 performers to reenact Buckminster Fuller’s failed attempt to build a geodesic dome with a group of students in 1948. In a cycle of performances, [de]-lusions of Grandeur, the artist chose to readdress monumental sculptures installed at LACMA, recasting Auguste Rodin figures and recreating an Alexander Calder mobile in a work excerpting primary texts and interviews she collected in the museum’s archives around the time the piece was acquired for the collection. Glynn holds an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and a BA in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard University.

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Rita Gonzalez

Los Angeles, California, USA

Rita Gonzalez is the Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. From 2005-2006, she served as Adjunct Curator of Contemporary Art at the Orange County Museum of Art. From 2002-2004, she was the Coordinator of Arts Projects at the University of California, Los Angeles Chicano Studies Research Center, where she contributed to A Ver: Revisioning Art History, the first arts monograph series devoted to Latino artists. From 2001-2002, she provided editorial and research support to Los Angeles-based contemporary artist Mike Kelley. She has taught at several Los Angeles universities, including California Institute of the Arts, University of California, Irvine, and University of Southern California. Gonzalez received a C. Phil. from University of California, Los Angeles and an MFA from University of California, San Diego.

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