Review: MISSION artist Susan Giles at Fake Empire in NYC

Jun 16, 2012

Fake Empire, curated by Lee Stoetzel

Mixed Greens

June 8-July 6

531 West 26th Street

New York, New York

The five artists included in this exhibition refuse to take architecture at face value regardless of its cultural significance. Susan Giles, for example, melds monuments like the Taj Mahal and Sydney Opera House into paper sculptures. They are often hung upside-down from the ceiling like stalactites in Socrates’s cave, implying how easily these intricate structures are overlooked. Rob Carter’s video, Stone on Stone (2009), reconstructs the Sainte-Marie de La Tourette monastery by Le Corbusier and the unfinished Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine with stop-motion paper details. The monuments are built from the ground up and super imposed over one another. Although the design of the buildings couldn’t be more dissimilar, Carter encourages the viewer to observe structural successes and mutations in this architectural mash-up. Images by Olivo Barbieri, Lee Stoetzel, and Dionisio Gonzalez are also included in the exhibition. Through hyperbole, these artists “question our absurd exploitation of important historic sites.” They allow us to view such sites as invigorated sculptural objects rather than trophies to be exalted.