wickerham & lomax
domestic qt and the spatial anomalies
12 December 2020 - 17 January 2021
Washington DC: von ammon co is pleased to announce its next project, Domestic QT and The Spatial Anomalies by Baltimore-based collaborative duo Wickerham & Lomax. This project marks the duo’s most ambitious project for a commercial gallery to date, and follows several major projects for museums and nonprofits in the region.
Wickerham and Lomax’s project primarily involves the generation and indexing of a torrent of content with a nexus peculiar to the duo’s mutual lived experience. The resulting multimedia image-objects become precarious and reactive containers of this swarm-like index, with each sign forming covalent bonds with those around it. A glossary of the exhibition's particular cloud of signs accompanies this press release (see attachment); the title of the exhibition, Domestic QT and The Spatial Anomalies is less an umbrella beneath which these runaway signs gather, but rather a gravitational field around which they buzz. As one can likely deduce, this exhibition concerns the domestic sphere and how the COVID-19 virus has demented the flows, directions and patterning of the quotidian: wolves and vampires at the door, the queering of sexual boundaries, the haunted inanimate object, the tail wagging the dog.
The exhibition will consist of over a dozen new large-scale works, including seven printed acrylic panels suspended within rakish, jungle-gym-like metal scaffolds. Printed on both sides and riddled with cutaway shapes, these new works resemble holiday advent calendars whose visual lexis depicts a hallucinatory, non-Newtonian home interior wherein family pets and furniture trade appendages freely and the dialectics of the household—intimate vs. public, guileless vs. dirty, protected vs. exposed—invert themselves freely like deep sea creatures. A new series of paintings will surround these assemblages, which will further attempt to contain the duo’s QT (quarantine) fugue state—with the picture plane full of extrusions, attachments, plug-ins and portals, as if in the middle of a machinic transformation or a system-wide breakdown.
Wickerham & Lomax is the collaborative name of Baltimore-based artists Daniel Wickerham (b. Columbus, Ohio, 1986) and Malcolm Lomax (b. Abbeville, South Carolina, 1986). Formerly known as DUOX, the artists have been working together since 2009 across diverse media, curatorial platforms, and institutional contexts, creating a body of work at once context-specific and broadly engaged with networked virtualities.
Domestic QT and The Spatial Anomalies will be open from Saturday 12 December 2020 until Sunday 17 January 2021. An opening reception will be held for the artists on Saturday, 12 December from 4-8pm. von ammon co is a contemporary art gallery located in Georgetown, Washington DC founded by Todd von Ammon in 2019. This exhibition is the gallery’s eighth project and its first with Wickerham and Lomax.
alex bag + jason yates
i'm sorry you all ended up here
29 august - 26 september 2020
I always feel surprised when I learn that someone is frightened of dolls. It could just be that I myself am so fond of them, but it seems sort of silly to imagine that a Madame Alexander ice skater could ever strike the chords of terror with any accuracy. The technical term for this particular anxiety is pediophobia, which stems etymologically from the Greek paidion and translates literally to the phrase “dread of little children.” It is maybe helpful to think of dolls as little little children, extra small imitations of life that simulate the general contours of the human body, but cannot help but reveal the radical totality of their emptiness (ie: deadness). It is this mortal void, I suppose, that imbues the little little child with the power to spook, and perhaps the pediophobe’s fear stems not from scaled down limbs or the unheimlich blush of a porcelain cheek, but rather from a suspicion that the static figure is afforded a lifetime of opportunities to consolidate its resentment.
People are afraid of clown dolls, they are afraid of whispering Raggedy Anns and Andys, they recoil from the pouting silicone toddlers who stare dully into the middle distance with murder on their minds. Though a wild-eyed Annabelle or the clickety-clacking jaw of an unmanned dummy might strike fear in the heart of the pediophobe, they pale in comparison to what I will suggest with great confidence is the scariest doll story in the history of America. This story comes to us not from a horror movie or the antique notebooks of a dubious paranormal investigator, but rather courtesy of a middle-aged x-ray technician who had a taste for arts and crafts and a profound misunderstanding of the word “deceased.”
It was in a Key West medical clinic in the spring of 1930 that radiologist Carl Tanzler first encountered Maria “Elena” Milagro de Hoyos, a beautiful but gravely ill young Cuban woman who had lost most of her immediate family to a particularly virulent strain of tuberculosis. Convinced that she was the physical manifestation of a vision he’d once had of his soul-mate, Tanzler immediately dedicated himself to curing her with an aggressive course of x-ray treatments. Elena’s death in 1931 came as a terrible shock to Tanzler, who suddenly found himself exiled from this unrequited fantasy, cast out of his imaginary Eden by the swinging scythe of the reaper.
Though Elena’s family likely found the intensity of Tanzler’s grief inappropriate, they agreed to allow him to pay for her funeral and accepted when he offered to build a mausoleum so that there might be a permanent site at which to remember her short life. While the careful observer may have noticed that Carl frequently visited Elena’s grave, it took nearly a decade for anyone to realize that he had actually emptied it. In 1933, Tanzler staged a late-night disinterment. He used a small wagon to transport the body to his house, where he set himself to reconstructing what was left of Elena so that the body might more closely resemble the person it had once been. Tanzler painstakingly reconnected disarticulated bones with piano wire, he stuffed her chest cavity with perfumed rags, he set a pair of glass eyes into skin made of plaster and waxed silk. Once satisfied with his handiwork, Tanzler lived quite happily with this bizarre approximation of life for nearly a decade, sleeping and dancing with the body until his indiscretions eventually resulted in his arrest.
The contemporary press coverage that was dedicated to this grim saga primarily portrayed Tanzler as a tragic romantic, and the incredible interest that the story generated likely seemed justification enough to mount a public display of the corpse at a local funeral home. It was later reported that nearly 7,000 people, scores of school children included, filed past the doll formerly known as Elena, each of them gazing at a body so strangely divorced from its humanity that it almost ceased to be a body at all. Sufficiently evacuated of all the parts we equate with life and burdened by a veneer too artificial to accommodate the uncanny, the figure presented as little more than a ghoulish souvenir, a curiously hollowed out knick-knack gleaming beneath a heavy layer of wax.
Oscillating between the roles of the surrogate and the host, the doll is, at its core, a social tool that facilitates both self-identification and the construction of the other. Perhaps the unifying characteristic that defines the doll qua doll relates directly back to the pediophobe’s anxiety, that strange flux between recognition and alienation that instigates memory and dread in equal measure. It is inaccurate to identify the doll as neutral, and the Bratz Dolls and Reborns and Real Dolls of this world function primarily as vessels into which culture pours itself. It seems fitting to me that there exists at this moment a gallery full to overflow with reclaimed trinkets negated of their sentimentality and a battalion of misshapen figures too self-absorbed to recognize their own impotence. Liberated from the prison of nostalgia, the residents of I’m Sorry You All Ended Up Here remind us that abjection often veils itself beneath quotidian signifiers, that the clown doll only hisses if you expect it to.
- Alissa Bennett
opening 08 february 2020
reception 08 february, 6-8pm
3330 cady's alley nw / dc 20007
Catharine Czudej’s project involves the study and disfigurement of American metaphysics. By examining the contours of national pastimes, Czudej’s work typically denatures some familiar pattern of suburban life. Each work by Czudej is a pseudomorph: a flat screen television—the focal point of any household living room—molded in black resin; a lava lamp—the keystone of any teenager’s bedroom—made of pantry jars and prone to explosion; or, in the case of this show, a full-scale bounce castle—the centerpiece of many birthdays, family reunions, and picnics.
While retaining its shape and pattern, Czudej has reversed engineered every panel of the bounce castle and replaced each with a segment of a salvaged vinyl billboard. The familiar patchwork of primary colors becomes a fractured and schizophrenic bricolage of adulthood: retirement accounts; job recruitment offers; personal injury lawyers; alcoholic beverages; and so on. Traditionally reserved as a sanctum for play, this immersive sculpture teleports the juvenile subject into a concrete representation of the contemporary American psyche.
The exhibition's title is HOMEOWNER, and represents one of the cruelest and least trustworthy pieces of American metaphysics: the mortgage. HOMEOWNER examines the punishing discourse of young adulthood, and the nation's unwavering faith in good debt.
von ammon co.
16 november 2019 -
11 january 2020
Diane Severin Nguyen
Naoki Sutter Shudo
Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivo)
Washington DC: FOCUS GROUP: an exhibition of eighteen artists who use a range of approaches—including readymade, post-consumer objects, and media content—to investigate our highly networked, deterritorialized society of control.
The exhibition takes its name from the studies conducted by marketers to assess the public’s opinion on new products, services, or ideologies. The modern focus group was first seen during World War II as a means to study the effectiveness of propaganda on groups of selected individuals. While providing valuable insight into the consumer’s needs and desires, the early groups depended on elective participation from limited subject pools. Technological development has seen the concept of the focus group metastasize into all modes of human behavior, from web search histories to real-time geo-coordinates and even biological data, sharpening the focus of corporations and political bodies to assess when to advertise what to whom.
While the marketing and public relations tactics of the 20th century could be seen as a conspiracy against the consumer, those of the 21st century see the conspiracy being devised by the very consumers which it targets. This feedback loop produces forms with consequently uncanny and suspicious attributes. The readymade thus begins to resemble the consumer whom it targets as its shape is coaxed into being by millions of points of data feedback. Early readymades embodied spaces of containment like public restrooms (Fountain) or hospitals (Air de Paris). But due to efficient global supply and distribution chains, the objects surrounding today’s consumer exude familiarity but have no discernable provenance—not unlike the collective figment of the extraterrestrial who visits from an unknown realm but possesses humanoid features.
This exhibition will be emblematic of the greater mission of the gallery, which is to mainly exhibit artists with a shared affinity for experimental media and a criticality towards capitalist structures in the late 20th and early 21st century. FOCUS GROUP will serve as the syllabus for upcoming programming.
von ammon co. is a contemporary art gallery located in Georgetown, Washington D.C. It is open Tuesday through Saturday, 12pm to 6pm and by appointment. For images or further information on the artists, please call +1 917 658 5444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
14 september - 02 november 2019
reception 14 september 6-8pm
3330 cady's alley nw / washington dc
Washington DC: von ammon co is pleased to present an exhibition of sculptures by Helmut Lang, the artist’s first show in Washington, DC. The exhibition will be on view from 14 September until 02 November 2019.
The exhibition will consist of sixty three sculptures which share a common medium: a multitude of shredded and crushed objects and materials suspended in pigmented resin. Waifish, crusted pillars arranged in a loose grid stand freely in seeming precarity, with small gaps between one another through which the viewer may travel. This particular installation of Lang’s work is simultaneously the most immersive and most minimal to date.
This loamy, fibrous sculptural composite material consists of Lang’s destroyed design archive. Leaving a previous career behind, the artist staged an intentional cataclysm and has been making new work from its wreckage ever since.
Lang’s work is a disavowal of the illusion of time as periodic, tidy and rational. The sculptures on view portray time as entropic and digestive, a suggestion that the truest character of forms is their tendency to dissolve and transform through time.
Born in Vienna 1956, Helmut Lang lives and works in New York and on Long Island. In 2004, Lang walked away from a groundbreaking career in fashion for good to pursue his original calling as an artist. Hailed for the rigorous and direct ethos of his forms and choice of materials, he has been met with similar acclaim for his art.
Since 2005, Lang has permanently turned away from creations in direct context with the human body, and has since turned his focus exclusively to two and three-dimensional artworks which subtly allude to notions of the figure using different mediums such as sculpture, wall pieces, installations and videos, predominantly built from found and readily available materials.
In his former occupation, he left an everlasting imprint on contemporary culture and how it is communicated by redefining fashion codes and the modus operandi. His undeniable influence continues to reverberate to the present day.
He simultaneously produced his own artwork while collaborating and exhibiting with different artists, most notably with Louise Bourgeois and Jenny Holzer, which has broken collateral ground in the recent resurgence of collaborations between fashion and art.
Select past solo exhibitions have been held at Sperone Westwater, New York; Sammlung Friedrichshof, Vienna; Stadtraum, Vienna; Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover; Deste Foundation, Athens; Dallas Contemporary, Dallas; The Journal Gallery, Brooklyn.
von ammon co is a contemporary art gallery in Georgetown, Washington DC. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11am - 6pm and is located at 3330 Cady’s Alley Northwest.
For media inquiries, please email email@example.com.
22 jun - 31 aug 2019
von ammon co is pleased to announce X, a solo show by Jacob Kassay. The exhibition will run from 22 June through 31 August. von ammon co is located on Cady’s Alley in Georgetown, Washington DC. A reception will be held for the artist on Saturday, 22 June from 6 - 8pm.
In the gallery, an electric eye relays the movement of a candle’s flame to the overhead track lighting. The capriciousness of the flame represents the relative position of every nearby drift of flammable oxygen. It is a record of air’s flow, direction and intensity. The electric eye measures only absolute presence/absolute absence; while the flame itself is never totally “on” or “off”. The lighting system is a constant projection of the flame’s negative, which creates a sympathetic phase in broadcast.
Paintings make their own recordings of the space. The complex opacity of their surfaces absorb and redistribute the newly augmented light as ambient feedback. Each canvas is a fleeting document of the behavior of the light. In aggregate, what remains is the retinal afterimage—photochemical activity persisting inside of one of several human apertures.
Jacob Kassay was born in 1984 in Lewiston, New York. Past solo presentations have been held at the Albright Knox Art Gallery (curated by Cathleen Chaffee), The Kitchen, New York; and The Power Station, Dallas; and the ICA in London. He has been included in group exhibitions at The CCA Wattis Center for Contemporary Arts; Secession, Vienna; and MoMA PS1, New York. Kassay's work was part of the 8th Gwangju Biennale (curated by Massimiliano Gioni). Kassay lives and works in New York. This fall, Kassay will be the subject of a solo exhibition at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in Buffalo.
von ammon co is a contemporary art gallery in Washington DC. The gallery is located at 3330 Cady’s Alley NW, Washington DC 20007. Gallery hours are Tuesday - Saturday, 11am - 6pm. The gallery will be open continuously throughout the summer. For more information / images, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
06 april - 08 june 2019
von ammon co is pleased to present MENTAL, a solo exhibition by New York based artist Tabor Robak. The show will run from 06 April - 25 May 2019. The gallery is located on Cady's Alley in Georgetown's historic district.
In his most experimental exhibition to date, Robak has created 10 new multimedia works which examine the human mind in conflict with technology. Through a rigorous hands-on fabrication process using metal, wood, electronics, light, paint, vinyl, plexiglass, video, and code, he transplants his virtual object-images into physical space. Works in MENTAL include sculptural video installations, neon multi-media assemblages, and hanging LED screens that display the animated text output of a neural network programed to generate messages about mental health.
This is Robak’s sixth solo show. He has been featured extensively in group exhibitions at galleries and institutions both stateside and abroad including Serpentine Galleries, London; MoMA: PS1, New York; Kunsthalle Düsseldorf; Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. His work is included in numerous public collections, including those of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens; Migros Museum, Zurich; The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
von ammon co produces fine art exhibitions on a project basis. MENTAL marks the company's most ambitious exhibition to date, and its first in Washington DC. Directed by Todd von Ammon, the firm specializes in curatorial projects and private art consultancy. von ammon co is based in New York and Washington DC.