Continuous Service Altered Daily, a major site-specific installation by David Brooks commissioned by The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
, marks the artists first solo museum exhibition. Throughout his practice, Brooks investigates the tenuous relationship between our ecological life and technological industry.
Brooks (born 1975, Brazil, Indiana) presents every single part of a used 1976 John Deere 3300 combine harvester in his exhibition at The Aldrich, which will be on view through February 5, 2017. The components are laid out in varying degrees of disassembly in a procession from the front plaza through the Leir Atrium and Leir Gallery and out into the Museums Sculpture Garden. Distinctive elements like the corn head and cab remain unaltered in a weathered John Deere green, while other parts are sandblasted, removing rust, paint and all traces of wear and tear; still others, like pipes and fittings, are brass-plated and housed in museum vitrines, the traditional trappings of highbrow art objects or precious natural history displays.
A combine is the ultimate example of agricultural technology, the otherworldly design of its bulky metal body concealing the integration of all stages of the harvesting process into one machine designed to reap grain, a resource that the efficiency of a combine allows us to take for granted as eternally and inexpensively available.
Curator Amy Smith-Stewart explains, The stunning array of dismantled machine parts, exhibited in a diverse system of presentation, are designated according to the ecosystem service they represent, making it impossible to conceive of the combine in its entirety or to determine the machines complete functionality; similarly, an ecosystem integrates innumerable processes, many of them intangible or undetectable, into one whole, making it impossible for us to conceive of a life unfolding within it.
She continues, Continuous Service Altered Daily asks us to reexamine our perception of products reaped from the landscape, oftentimes those too easily interpreted as services for personal use: water, food, clean air, climate, energythings we have come to expect to be delivered to us forever.
David Brooks is a New York-based artist whose work investigates how cultural concerns cannot be divorced from the natural world, while also questioning the terms under which nature is perceived and utilized. Brooks has exhibited at the Dallas Contemporary; Tang Museum, New York; Nouveau Musée National de Monaco; Sculpture Center, New York; Miami Art Museum; Changwon Sculpture Biennale, South Korea; Galerie für Landschaftskunst, Germany; the Goethe-Institut, New York; and MoMA/PS1, New York, where he had a large-scale installation for two years. In 2011-12, Brooks opened Desert Rooftops in Times Square, a 5,000 square foot urban earthwork commissioned by the Art Production Fund. Other major commissions include Socrates Sculpture Park, New York; Storm King Art Center, New Windsor; the Cass Sculpture Foundation, United Kingdom; the deCordova Museum, Lincoln; and the Visual Arts Center, Austin. In 2010 he received a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and in 2012 a research grant to the Ecuadorian Amazon from the Coypu Foundation. Brooks attended the Städelschule, Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Germany, and earned his BFA from the Cooper Union and MFA from Columbia University. He is currently on the faculty of the Maryland Institute College of Art.