The projects Recess supports are selected because they challenge their makers and receivers, and pose questions that don’t necessarily find answers. Funds raised in the Recess Auction will go towards these projects. In the same way that new art seems to beg a new context outside traditional galleries and museums, new ideas need unconventional classrooms. Paddle8 talked to the executive director and founder Allison Weisberg about the very first seed of the organization and how it has blossomed and unfolded into creative and critical challenging organ that feeds curious artists and an active audience.
Paddle8: Can you a share a brief history of Recess? What was the impetus for the founding of the organization, and what are the central goals?
Allison Weisberg: One of the initial seeds for Recess came from a close look at a single artist’s rigorous pursuit, and we continue to look to our artists for guidance. When I was working at the Whitney, Corin Hewitt, first Session artist and current board member, had a show called Seed Stage. Inside of the Whitney’s lobby gallery, Corin built another four walls that would serve as his studio. The walls were open at each of the four corners and invited viewers to peer in and share the artist’s time and productive space. Inside this literal open studio, Corin took on the life of objects, organic and inorganic, in a full-on dissection of process. He cooked grilled cheese, photographed it, grew plants, recombined and fried the mixture, made clay replicas of it all, and buried bits and pieces in a bucket of dirt – this truncated description does a disservice to the project.
I thought, this is the kind of unwieldy, complicated, messy project that makes viewers stop and reflect on their own position in relation to an artist’s critical investigation of things found and made. I wanted to create a space where artists could experiment free from institutional constraints, and explore the incremental developments of their own work in partnership with their public.
P8: Funds raised from this auction will go towards future projects at Recess. Can you share some examples of projects previously done by Recess?
AW: One of my favorite things about my job is the degree to which it changes with each project. Every artist defines the space on their own terms, and extrapolates new meaning from our mission. Our artists have done everything from building a water slide in our space, to creating industrial sculptures designed to erode their own structure. Our artists take on difficult questions that don’t find easy answers, and take risks, engaging rigorous process and critical inquiry. Currently, Aaron S. Davidson and Melissa Dubin, are realizing “Volumes for Sound”, creating new forms that investigate the physicality of sound. Funnelling, folding and porting sound requires physical structures; these sculpture address archareoacoustics and the pre-electrical harnessing of sound within architecture, while employing the staggered geometries of loudspeaker time-alignment and the slurred voicing of phase cancellation.