Presented by: Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
Admission: Free and open to the public
Exhibition Runs: 2/1-3/4
Gallery hours: Monday-Saturday, 12-5 PM
Related events: 3/22, 4 PM: Fellow’s presentation by A.K. Burns in Sheerr Room, Fay House; 3/22, 5 PM: Opening reception in the Gallery
The three artworks by A.K. Burns displayed in the Johnson-Kulukundis Family Gallery span more than a decade of the artist’s diverse practice. The exhibition features a video, a series of drawings, and a vinyl record presented with a poem. The artworks share a grayscale palette that connects the work aesthetically, and each project is linked by notions of the natural and naturalized, subjugation and competition of bodies, and the ethics of power struggles.
The exhibition offers a large-scale, black-and-white video, titled Thumb War (2004), in which player’s thumbs are locked in competition. The small-scale struggle evokes larger themes of power, gesture, and control.
Untitled (Canyon Drawings) (2014), a series that Burns created after a visit to Utah, is a reaction to Lake Powell, which was made by the damming of Glen Canyon. The images incorporate spirulina, a dietary supplement of active blue-green algae, to indicate where the land has been submerged and to pose questions about what is natural.
A two-track vinyl record, Leave No Trace (2016), shares with visitors a mix of ambient environmental recordings and electric guitar. Listening to the record and reading the featured poem—which includes a timeline of inventions in recreational equipment—provides an opportunity to examine the connection between nature and technology.
A.K. Burns, an interdisciplinary artist and educator, is a recipient of a 2015 Creative Capital Award in the visual arts and has works in several public collections, including the International Center of Photography, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art. In 2017, Burns will have solo exhibitions in New York at the New Museum and Callicoon Fine Arts. Burns received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and MFA from Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College.
Thumb War, 2004
SD Video, 03:31 min
Performers: A.K. Burns and Lanka Tattersall
Untitled (Canyon Drawings), 2014
Spirulina, polyurethane, and images ripped from a catalog of photographs by Tad Nichols
Leave No Trace, 2016
Limited edition vinyl record, vinyl, and record player