eyes never sleep

Ever Baldwin, Bradley Biancardi, Frances Cocksedge, Noel de Lesseps, Andie Dinkin, Annie Hemond Hotte, David L. Johnson, Em Joseph, Meaghan Elyse Lueck, Tim Lyons, Alissa McKendrick, Connor McNicholas, Viktor Timofeev, Jean-Pierre Villafañe, Bradley Ward, Lulu White
Through May 26, 2023

"24/7 is inseparable from environmental catastrophe in its declaration of permanent expenditure, of endless wastefulness for its sustenance, in its terminal disruption of the cycles and seasons on which ecological integrity depends... The scandal of sleep is the embeddedness in our lives of the rhythmic oscillations of solar light and darkness, activity and rest, of work and recuperation, that have been eradicated or neutralized elsewhere."

-Jonathan Crary
(24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep)

Circadian Gardens considers the contemporary moment of intense disruption in the once-natural patterns of sleeping and waking, of bleeding between night and day, of camouflaging the artificial and the organic. The exhibition presents sixteen artists who observe the material presence, historical circumstance, and sociopolitical impact of the flora around them.

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Gregory Klassen
Oct  1 - Dec 13, 2022

Presented with Max Lawton 

Care and Maintenance of the Intermediate Block presents a suite of drawings in charcoal and pastel by artist Gregory Klassen. Created in response to and as illustrations for writer Vladimir Sorokin’s book Their Four Hearts (translated by Max Lawton), the body of work envisions a world in parallel to Sorokin’s words, which tell of four characters’ lives unfolding violently as the fallacies of the Soviet Union unravel around them.

Presenting dozens of drawings by Klassen—from single page portraits torn from a spiral sketchbook to large-scale scenes on multiple sheets of paper, and including both drawings from the three dozen published in the book alongside more from the nearly 200 in the series —the exhibition pans across a literary and historical timeline of civil and ethical decay. “His illustrations,” Lawton writes, “allow the reader to pretend they are entering into a storybook-world instead of the aberrant flesh-libido of the Soviet system.”

Radiating the dark angst and violent whims at the crumbling of the Soviet Union, Klassen’s mark-making builds up the frenetic ethos of Sorokin’s story of structural decomposition without autocratic artifice. Conceptually, historically, and visually, Klassen’s drawings exist in orbit with the works of artists who served as soldier-witness to and searing critic of collapsing empires, including Otto Dix, George Grosz, and Max Beckmann from Weimar Germany, but also Alfred Kubin and his nightmarish scenes of state authority and human depravity in Austria-Hungary at the turn of the twentieth century. Klassen, reckoning with the heaviest socio-political implosion at the turn of the twenty-first, similarly focuses his eye on the degeneracy of anti-humanist society in which any person’s fate is a roll of the dice.

Lawton deciphers the drawings with a fitting alchemy of sacerdotal terms and sacrilege: “Greg’s drawings are the rosary beads of Sorokin’s world, as they represent the power and beauty of art in even the most wretched corners of human history (and are any of its corners not wretched?!). In that sense, as an artist, Greg is the only one of the novel’s hearts to remain as such––to not have become a die as the other four do at novel’s end.”

Visualizing all of the objects, all the places, all the people, Klassen’s drawings for Their Four Hearts renders a kaleidoscopic encyclopedia of images that make the story visible without abridgment, facing every page and the painful, ecstatic nihilism exposed therein.

Chris Dorland, Essa Grayeb, Exene Karros, Jean-Marie Simon, Viktor Timofeev, Matt Town
Mar 6 - May 1, 2022

Hell March centers on the sublimation of conflict into civilian life.

Pursuing an idea of visual brinkmanship and belligerence that permeates everything from mortal materials to ubiquitous icons and antagonistic algorithms, the exhibition finds its footing in the theories of Harun Farocki, Hito Steyerl, and Paul Virilio and presents the works of six artists wrestling with cultures of violence and structures of media.

Presented in the exhibition are paintings reckoning with order and disorder in both digital and analog realms by Exene Karros, Chris Dorland, and Viktor Timofeev, whose two channel self-playing computer game Twodom is also on view. Essa Grayeb’s film The Return of Osiris and photographic contact prints made from television screen exposures reconstruct the public memory of former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and his resignation address following the 1967 Six-Day War.

Matt Town’s Depressions sculptures—vacant gun cases hand-made in walnut and velvet from tracings of gun collections known to the artist—are exhibited along with the artist’s film MISSING GUN (found). Photographer Jean-Marie Simon’s images from the Guatemalan Civil War of soldiers, rebels, and the public living between them explore both individual and collective traumas when the borders of warfare are unwound.

In concert, the works within Hell March consider the unavoidable spectacle of combat.

Cooper Campbell
Sep 19 - Oct 24, 2021

Presented with Octagon / Moira Sims

Presented as both an exhibition of artworks and as a book that compiles original writing and archival images, Instruments represents Cooper Campbell’s research into the practice of valuation. In tandem with the release of the book, the exhibition takes place at eyes never sleep, an apartment exhibition space on the Upper East Side of Manhattan founded by Colin Ross, an associate director at a gallery on Madison Avenue. The decision to situate Instruments in an art dealer’s home was an intentional one; Campbell has embedded these works within Ross’s domestic space to invoke an appraisal of the art industry’s participants themselves.

The title Instruments is derived from the term’s financial definition: monetary contracts between parties that can be created, traded, modified, and settled. Campbell’s interests in the monetization of art have urged him to examine the art market’s role in the accumulation of wealth. An analogy to alchemy is present in Campbell’s research—what is the definition of value, and how does one issue, institutionalize, or otherwise invent value from raw material alone?

Within the contemporary art world, creating a limited edition of a replicable art object is a widely accepted practice. The sales structure of nineteenth-century French Modernist Auguste Rodin’s artworks set a legal, financial, and cultural model for dispersing the concept of an original work of art, a precedent that remains a fundamental component to today’s art industry. After Rodin’s death in 1917, the French government inherited his intellectual property rights, formed Musée Rodin as a governing body of his estate, and began to posthumously produce Rodin’s sculptures in editions of twelve. By implementing traditional casting and scaling methods to replicate the same object in multiples, it became possible to profit numerous times from the sale of what was, in essence, the same artwork. Mid-century financiers were particularly passionate about collecting Rodin’s works, and Campbell’s essay illuminates unmistakable parallels between Rodin’s market structure and the world of securities trading. In tracing this contour, Campbell finds both markets to be realms impacted, commingled, and determined behind the scenes by the influence of singular individuals and private third parties.

To illustrate the phenomenon of valuation, Campbell has rendered disparate financial devices as his own artworks. Collectively these instruments question the systems of value creation, and the blurriness surrounding originality. Multiple systems are considered: spot prices (the constantly shifting values of copper, nickel, and tin on the commodities market); numismatic value (a coin collector’s valuations based on a coin’s rarity and historical importance); contractual value (a consignment, an IOU, a promise); novel value (an original versus an edition versus a copy); and retail value (the number on a price tag), amongst others. His interrogations of these orders of value take the form of material interventions, such as a nineteenth-century ormolu vase displaying a bouquet with gentian (a French flower used as a barometer for bitterness); and a surmoulage (an unauthorized cast of an original authorized casting) of Rodin’s Definitive Study for the Head of Balzac, 1897 with the casting sprues still attached to the work.

Both in concert and in conflict, the objects within Instruments gesture to cracks and circularities within the logic of value.

        -Octagon + eyes never sleep

Bradley Biancardi, Noel de Lesseps, Alissa McKendrick, Margaux Valengin Bradley Ward
Jul 9 - Aug 8, 2021

eyes never sleep is pleased to announce the inaugural exhibition in medias res. Featuring the work of Bradley Biancardi, Noel de Lesseps, Alissa McKendrick, Margaux Valengin, and Bradley Ward, the exhibition follows their exploration of the human figure through disjunctive scenes and opaque narratives of fantasy and fable.

Drawing upon and disrupting established art historical tropes—from the opulent tumult of Renaissance tableaux to the measured and distant coolness of Surrealism—these artists bring a sense of tension into otherwise familiar imagery. Disorienting but spirited, the works presented in in medias res leave viewers right here, in the midst of things, with courage in lieu of a compass.

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