Magazine article Artforum International

Jessica Frelinghuysen: Cave Gallery

Magazine article Artforum International

Jessica Frelinghuysen: Cave Gallery

Article excerpt

Covering 138 square miles, Detroit is a spread-out, low-lying municipality. Motor City residents today thus face increasing isolation, as a shrinking population occupies an incommensurately massive, partially abandoned urban infrastructure in which the car is the primary mode of transportation. Not surprisingly, participatory art--often performance- or object-based work designed to produce active and cocreative audiences--has become the antidote of choice for young, local practitioners concerned about this city's devolving social sphere. There is an artistic emphasis on community building in Detroit, an effort to plant and recycle, to educate others, to employ easily sourced manufactured materials, and to attempt to reimagine relations between the individual and the social body.

in this spirit, Cave Gallery--an artist-run space within a studio building in the northern part of the city--presented Detroit-based artist Jessica Frelinghuysen's participatory experiments from the past half decade in the form of, for the most part, preparatory materials and mixed-media works. The show comprised forty-three drawings, three sculptures, and one single-channel video. Frelinghuysen is perhaps best known for her humorous bodily prosthetics: helmets, uniforms, and rolling personal-space dividers that illuminate social dynamics such as body language and etiquette. Following in the footsteps of artists, from Franz Erhard Walther to Nils Norman, who combine Conceptual and relational projects, Frelinghuysen focuses on moments of interpersonal tension, making art that engages others in communal actions and alternative forms of behavior, the results or remnants of which are shown, often in large installation formats.

About half the drawings at the Cave were mixed-media sketches for devices and community actions both realized and unrealized. The other half were gouache works depicting formal motifs central to the artist's performances, shapes that recall Frelinghuysen's printed paper multiples of the past decade. Among the forms explored in the latter drawings are interlinked semicircular clusters, rendered with obsessive lines and raindrop patterning. …

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