Through Saturday, April 11th: ‘Die Hexe’ Turns an UES Townhouse Into a Contemporary Haunted House

    Date: 03/07/2015 - 04/11/2015

    Time: All Day

    Location: Luxembourg & Dayan (64 E. 77th St., Manhattan)

    Price: Free

    Open to the public Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm

    For Die Hexe (“The Witch” in German), Da Corte has created a site-specific installation that consumes the gallery’s East 77th Street townhouse, turning it into an implausible cross between a dollhouse and a haunted house. Here visitors will take on a journey through familiar imagery and obscure biographical references that mingle, repeat, trade places, and morph into new provocations that invite reflections upon memory, impulse, the stability of knowledge, and what constitutes value in a work of art.

    Da Corte also was inspired by the history of Luxembourg & Dayan’s building. He learned that past tenants of the townhouse included the two men and two women who comprised The Mamas and The Papas, among the most famous American bands of the 1960s, who, according to rumor, sequestered themselves in the house to create one of their most important albums. This lore precipitated an interrogation into the influence of Da Corte’s ancestors—both his “conceptual forefathers” in art and the two couples who were his biological grandparents. Such free association and intertwining of narratives gives Die Hexe a distinct sense of contingency and continuation.

    Da Corte’s installations are known for adopting the artificiality and glossy, detached aesthetics of commerce and advertising; they draw equally upon his recollections and biography. Thus Die Hexe interweaves disconnected snippets of memory within its hermetic surroundings, even while rejecting nostalgia. For example, a pantry smelling of spices and filled with anonymous products harkens back to the artist’s very personal relationship to the retail landscape of grocery stores: Both of Da Corte’s grandfathers worked along the food supply chain, albeit at opposite ends. One grandfather opened Venezuela’s first modern supermarket, which over time spawned a conglomerate, while the other grandfather worked simultaneously as a supermarket shelf stocker in New Jersey. Elsewhere in the exhibition, Da Corte grafts elements of his grandmother’s house onto the gallery’s surroundings, with craft-based décor such as woven rugs, quilt patterns, and wreathes signaling this transference.

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