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SAVANNAH KNOOP

SCREENS, a project about “community” 
January 5 – February 3, 2019 
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 5, 6-8 PM


Essex Flowers is pleased to announce Savannah Knoop’s first solo exhibition in New York.

SCREENS, a project about “community” centers on a group of regular bathers that co-exist at the Russian and Turkish Baths on East 10th Street. The exhibition frames the body and mind as a filtering system, exploring the slippage between notions of reaction and response, and questioning the solidity of such identity states as “insider” and “outsider.”

Open since 1892, the current owners of the baths, Boris and David, operate two separate businesses under one roof, running their respective enterprises on alternate weeks. Each week maintains its own specific social codes and business practices. SCREENS, a project about “community” explores the dynamics of the Boris weeks, which are driven by cash-, verbal-, and gray-market negotiations. Within the context of the ever-fluctuating East Village neighborhood, this mode of business operation has fostered a particular and thriving mixed social space based in a bathing culture of “regulars.” Knoop’s practice as a “regular” manifests in a short film shot during operating hours at the baths, as well as a series of partition screen sculptures, prints on aluminum, and a video-viewing booth.

To make the privacy partition screens, Knoop rolls and weaves the news; literally restructuring the volumes of information about current events through a time-honored process often associated with domestic work. They subsequently encase the weavings in aqua-resin, burnishing them with oil. Slippery and chunky, these objects materialize metaphorical ways of processing experience: filtration, projection, deflection, and blocking. Inside the patinated privacy booth, visitors can watch Knoop’s video about the baths. Shot over the course of many months, the video blends fact and fiction, capturing different moments of regulars in their individual bathing routines and revealing glimpses of particular social codes and implicit rules. Through this exhibition, Knoop invites viewers to become, however temporarily, imagined members of this ever-shifting community.

Savannah Knoop: SCREENS, a project about “community”  is supported by Owen Duffy.

Artist Bio:
Savannah Knoop is a New York-based artist who insights strategies of permission through writing, performance, and object-making. In 2001, Savannah Knoop founded the clothing line Tinc, which ran until 2009, with creative partner Parachati Pattajotti. From 2009-2016 they co-hosted the monthly queer audio-visual party WOAHMONE. They earned their BA from CUNY BA under the mentorship of Vito Acconci, and their MFA at Virginia Commonwealth University in Sculpture + Extended Media. They have shown and performed at the Whitney Museum of American Art, ICA Philadelphia, SculptureCenter, Movement Research, Virginia Commonwealth University, Alfred University, Yale, CAVEDetroit, Essex Flowers, and ACP in Los Angeles. In 2007, they published the memoir titled Girl Boy Girl: How I Became JT LeRoy (Amy Scholder, Seven Stories Press) cataloguing their experiences of playing their sister in law's (Laura Albert's) writing persona and avatar JT Leroy. In 2018, it became the major motion picture Jeremiah Terminator Leroy co-written and co-executive produced by Knoop and director Justin Kelly, starring Kristen Stewart and Laura Dern. Knoop has studied dance and martial arts for over twenty years, and they are currently a purple belt in Brazilian JiuJitsu under Marcelo Garcia.

Curator Bio:
Owen Duffy is an art historian, writer, and curator, who has published with ArtReview, Momus, frieze, Artforum, CURA., Ceramics Monthly, Art & Education, among others, and has presented his research at such institutions as the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; and LASANAA Live Art Hub, Kathmandu. He has been a visiting critic at the Rhode Island School of Design, Maryland Institute College of Art, and through Frame Finland and earned his PhD from Virginia Commonwealth University where he completed a dissertation on the topic of The Politics of Immateriality and "The Dematerialization of Art." In fall 2018, he curated Common Forms at PEANA in Monterrey, Mexico. He is a member of Essex Flowers.