Viewing Room III: Michael StevensonJuly 16, 2015 to August 3, 2015
July 16–August 3, 2015
Co-organized with SculptureCenter, this edition of Viewing Room featured the work The Fountain of Prosperity (2006) by New Zealand artist Michael Stevenson.
The Fountain of Prosperity was created after the artist's extensive research into the Phillips Machine, a.k.a. Moniac, a hydro-mechanical computer invented in 1949 by Bill Phillips with the purpose to represent fiscal and monetary flows in a national economy. The Moniac was initially used for educational purposes, but it was eventually marketed to developing countries. Stevenson's sculpture is inspired by this market shift, and stems largely from archival and field research in Guatemala, where the Central Bank purchased a Moniac in 1953.
July 21, 2015 6–8pm
An accompanying public program included presentations by three people, each speaking about this work through a specific lens: curator Lauren Cornell on artistic research; critic Jason Farago on the economy; and, anthropologist Michael Taussig on storytelling. During this event, copies of Michael Stevenson’s related publication “c/o The Central Bank of Guatemala” were distributed.
The Viewing Room series was a charted journey through some of the then recent acquisitions of the contemporary art collection of the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros. It consisted of a series of events in which a single artwork from the collection was exhibited for a day in conjunction with a public program. Audiences were invited to experience seminal yet rarely seen artworks—in most cases, never before exhibited in New York—and to participate in programs designed to help articulate the working processes and contexts in which these works were created.
Other Viewing Room events included the presentation of: A Voyage or ‘With the MS Remscheid on the Amazon’ or the Account of a Voyage Under the Stars of the Refrigerator, 1968–1972, by Lothar Baumgarten (Germany); Looting, 2010, by Regina José Galindo (Guatemala); Secrets of the Amazon/Tomo River, 2011, by Gilda Mantilla and Raimond Chaves (Peru and Colombia); and The Catherwood Project, 1985-1993, by Leandro Katz (Argentina), including a viewing of original nineteen-century prints by Frederick Catherwood.
Viewing Room was organized by Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, former Curator of Contemporary Art at the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, with artist Alejandro Cesarco. The artists whose artworks were presented in these events participated in the conversations leading to the planning of this initiative. On certain occasions, these artists will be present at the public programs. Most times the events engage other members of the artistic community.
The Fountain of Prosperity (Answers to Some Questions About Bananas)
Acrylic structure, brass, thread, steel, aluminum and plastic on wood and concrete base, installed with fluorescent lights
245 x 157 x 111 cm (96 1/2 x 61 3/4 x 43 3/4")
The Museum of Modern Art...More