Patrons, Muses and Professionals

Hours: 12:00PM-6:00PM
Cost: Free

Eyebeam is pleased to present Patrons, Muses and Professionals, a series of sculptures by London-based artist Nick Hornby installed in the Eyebeam Window Gallery. Please join us for an opening reception on Thursday, September 23, 6-8PM. The work will be on view September 23 – October 16, 2010.

In Patrons, Muses, and Professionals, Hornby presents three busts derived from eighteenth century portraits on view at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Each work hybridizes three distinct portraits, one individual representing each of the titular archetypes. Hornby models his chosen subjects digitally, overlapping them to create composite virtual objects that reveal shifting aspects of their source material. The results are carved via CNC. The artists casts the final objects by hand with plaster and clay from these industrially-generated positives.

One part handmade, one part computer-generated, one part professionally fabricated. One part inspired, one part quoted, one part calculated. Through both its  production process and archetypal subject matter, Hornby’s work creates a nuanced historical take on a contemporary penchant to complicate authorship and dematerialize the objects of art. By pairing historical subject matter–the portrait bust–with digital production processes, the work draws parallels between the disappearance of the hand in art making and the extra-individual forces that have historically shaped artistic production: patronage and collection; the distribution of labor and skill; the uncertainty of inspiration.

Patrons, Muses, and Professionals simultaneously embraces and inverts the dynamics of portraiture. Commissioned for biographical and often rendered with allegorical content in mind, the portrait is often read in light of an artist’s interpretation of the subject. Hornby’s composites, however, suggest the myriad ways the subject remakes the artist. Rather than a single subject, Hornby assembles a whole cast of characters as a means to question the extent to which the artist has ever been the sole proprietor of creation. As an alternative, he casts the artist, subjects, and viewer as single points in an expansive network of production, consumption, and distribution of cultural artifacts.

Patrons, Muses, and Professionals is the third in series of site-specific window gallery installations organized by Eyebeam alum Joe Winter. All works in the exhibition appear courtesy of Alexia Goethe Gallery, London.

Nick Hornby, b 1980, lives and works in London. He was described by ES Magazine as “The New Gormley” and picked for the Evening Standard “Who to Watch, 2010”.   His most recent commission stands in the main foyer of the Hyatt Andaz on 5th Ave .  Recent projects include, the 2012 cultural Olympiad, large public work for the South Bank Centre, and ‘The Ghost in the Machine’ at the Tate Britain Triennial exhibition, Altermodern. He was recently shortlisted for the inaugural Spitalfields Sculpture prize and Mark Tanner Sculpture Prize, other prizes include the Clifford Chance Sculpture Prize, the Deidre Hubbard Sculpture Award, the BlindArt Prize.

Hornby’s recently commissioned sculpture for the Hyatt Andaz on 5th Avenue is also currently on view in New York.

People: Joe Winter, Nick Hornby