January 24 – March 9, 2019
Thursday, January 24, 2019
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
ClampArt is pleased to present “The City (And a Few Lonely People),” a group show inspired by Olivia Laing’s groundbreaking book, The Lonely City (Picador: New York City, 2016).
“You can be lonely anywhere, but there is a particular flavour to the loneliness that comes from living in a city, surrounded by millions of people,” writes Olivia Laing. After an abrupt and particularly painful end to a short-lived but explosive romance, the author leaves her native England to spend time away in New York City. However, soon upon arriving, she experiences a profound, bone-deep loneliness previously unknown. The Lonely City is a searing and insightful memoir of sorts, which traces the writer’s experience of isolation in a cold, new place through the lens of a group of artists whose works reflect and ruminate upon the same emotion. Considering examples from a diverse range of artists across the expanse of the 20th century from Edward Hopper to Henry Darger, Andy Warhol to David Wojnarowicz, Laing questions what it means to be lonely in our present pixelated age, and how such isolation might “drive one to consider some of the larger questions of what it is to be alive.” Part autobiography, part art history, The Lonely City is an original and erudite example of new criticism informed by personal experience and emotional intelligence akin to other maverick essayists such as Rebecca Solnit and Maggie Nelson.
ClampArt’s exhibition takes The Lonely City as a springboard and explores isolation within urban spaces through pieces by artists specifically discussed by Laing (Nan Goldin, David Wojnarowicz) and many others who traverse the same terrain. While Laing considers painters, writers, photographers, and performance artists, the show at ClampArt looks at loneliness specifically through a photographic eye concentrating on the late 20th-century to the present, including images by Diane Arbus, David Armstrong, John Arsenault, Clarissa Bonet, Larry Clark, Jen Davis, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Nan Goldin, Michael Massaia, Daido Moriyama, Mark Morrisroe, Lori Nix/Kathleen Gerber, Jack Pierson, Richard Renaldi, Laura Stevens, David Wojnarowicz, Frank Yamrus, and Marc Yankus.
“Loneliness, I began to realize, was a populated place: a city in itself.”