‘Tondos: Hudson River’ is the first exhibition of Richard Kraft’s newest body of work, a survey—or surveillance—of a great river’s moods. These images imply a determined eye, the passage of time, and solitary walks as they seem to be made from a bridge, looking down. Ordered and minimalistic at first glance, this collection of gridded glimpses points to questions that are much messier, like the actual surface of the river itself. What does it mean to take pleasure in a walk, a habit, or a view? How can we experience, in the present, the history of natural artifacts that have been plied to human use? How might we respond to being dazzled by beauty? The first tondos predated the advent of the camera, but their shape recalls that of a lens, adding another question to the mix: the question of photography itself.
Richard Kraft grew up in London and has recently moved to New York’s Hudson River Valley after living in Los Angeles for many years. His work is multi-disciplinary, using video, photography, collage and performance, to both construct environments and interrupt the world around us so that incongruities, paradoxes, and multiplicity of meaning might yield a new orientation to the familiar. Exhibitions include Charlie James, LA Louver, Rosamund Felsen, Printed Matter as well as several museum and non-profit art spaces
In April 2015 Siglio Press published his artist’s book, Here Comes Kitty: A Comic Opera and he recently co-edited, with Joe Biel, the first complete volume of John Cage’s Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse). Publications include BOMB, Bookforum, Carousel among other journals, and in 2016 his work was featured in The New Collage Book, a comprehensive survey published by Gestalten.
Kraft frequently uses public spaces for installations with work appearing on the sides of buses and in library aisles, as well as for performances which have taken place in Oxford Circus and Speaker’s Corner in London, along the Las Vegas Strip, at the Wendover Air Force Base, outside “Little Sparta” in rural Scotland, and downtown Charlottesville, Virginia. The City of West Hollywood (as part of the city’s thirtieth anniversary celebrations) commissioned Kraft to produce 100 Walkers, West Hollywood which was performed on April 18th 2015.
Tondos: Hudson River
June 17–July 17, 2017
Saturday, June 17, 5-7pm
with wine from our partner Dandelion Wine
Open for viewing on Saturdays from 12-5, during events (see the Calendar for event listings), and by appointment
‘What in water did Bloom, waterlover, drawer of water, watercarrier, returning to the range, admire?
Its universality: its democratic equality and constancy to its nature in seeking its own level: its vastness in the ocean of Mercator’s projection: its unplumbed profundity in the Sundam trench of the Pacific exceeding 8000 fathoms: the restlessness of its waves and surface particles visiting in turn all points of its seaboard: the independence of its units: the variability of states of sea: its hydrostatic quiescence in calm: its hydrokinetic turgidity in neap and spring tides: its subsidence after devastation: its sterility in the circumpolar icecaps, arctic and antarctic: its climatic and commercial significance: its preponderance of 3 to 1 over the dry land of the globe: its indisputable hegemony extending in square leagues over all the region below the subequatorial tropic of Capricorn: the multisecular stability of its primeval basin: its luteofulvous bed: its capacity to dissolve and hold in solution all soluble substances including millions of tons of the most precious metals: its slow erosions of peninsulas and islands, its persistent formation of homothetic islands, peninsulas and downwardtending promontories: its alluvial deposits: its weight and volume and density: its imperturbability in lagoons and highland tarns: its gradation of colours in the torrid and temperate and frigid zones: its vehicular ramifications in continental lakecontained streams and confluent oceanflowing rivers with their tributaries and transoceanic currents, gulfstream, north and south equatorial courses: its violence in seaquakes, waterspouts, Artesian wells, eruptions, torrents, eddies, freshets, spates, groundswells, watersheds, waterpartings, geysers, cataracts, whirlpools, maelstroms, inundations, deluges, cloudbursts: its vast circumterrestrial ahorizontal curve: its secrecy in springs and latent humidity, revealed by rhabdomantic or hygrometric instruments and exemplified by the well by the hole in the wall at Ashtown gate, saturation of air, distillation of dew: the simplicity of its composition, two constituent parts of hydrogen with one constituent part of oxygen: its healing virtues: its buoyancy in the waters of the Dead Sea: its persevering penetrativeness in runnels, gullies, inadequate dams, leaks on shipboard: its properties for cleansing, quenching thirst and fire, nourishing vegetation: its infallibility as paradigm and paragon: its metamorphoses as vapour, mist, cloud, rain, sleet, snow, hail: its strength in rigid hydrants: its variety of forms in loughs and bays and gulfs and bights and guts and lagoons and atolls and archipelagos and sounds and fjords and minches and tidal estuaries and arms of sea: its solidity in glaciers, icebergs, icefloes: its docility in working hydraulic millwheels, turbines, dynamos, electric power stations, bleachworks, tanneries, scutchmills: its utility in canals, rivers, if navigable, floating and graving docks: its potentiality derivable from harnessed tides or watercourses falling from level to level: its submarine fauna and flora (anacoustic, photophobe), numerically, if not literally, the inhabitants of the globe: its ubiquity as constituting 90 percent of the human body: the noxiousness of its effluvia in lacustrine marshes, pestilential fens, faded flowerwater, stagnant pools in the waning moon.’
—from Ulysses (J. Joyce, selected by R. Kraft)