Regen Projects opens an exhibition of new works by Rachel Harrison
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Regen Projects opens an exhibition of new works by Rachel Harrison
Installation view of Rachel Harrison, Caution Kneeling Bus at Regen Projects, Los Angeles January 15 – February 20, 2022. Photo: Evan Bedford, Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Regen Projects is presenting an exhibition of new works by Rachel Harrison. Over the last thirty years, Harrison has pioneered an approach to art-making that melds formal invention with the artifacts of popular culture. Wryly assimilating readymade objects into otherwise handmade, abstract forms, her citational impulse draws freely on both the history of art and the dregs of our political landscape. This solo show follows her major mid-career survey Rachel Harrison Life Hack at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2019–20.

As Maggie Nelson has written, “many elements of Harrison’s practice are incommunicable, save in concert”—and even then, nothing’s assured. The artist’s impulse both to catalog and to estrange the world around her has always run on a number of tracks, which continue to branch and multiply in her latest exhibition. Caution Kneeling Bus marks the US premiere of a new series of paintings made with the smartphone app Scanner Pro. Here software designed for digitizing text—scanning a document, uploading receipts—is put to alternative use, as the artist turns it on three-dimensional spaces that elude the program's settings. Confusion results, and the app spits out the visual data it can’t process in splashes of unnatural color. Glitches imposed by the algorithm lend an alien cast to everyday scenes—only partially offset by the humanizing presence of paint, which Harrison applies sparingly to each work’s surface. The series’ prevailing sense of disorientation is heightened by hanging all the images vertically, at times defying gravity: a once-reclining nude seems to levitate, a doorway becomes unenterable, a car is poised to fall off the road.

Issues of balance (and makeshift ways to strike it) persist among some of the sculptural assemblages also on view. In Venus (2021), a headless replica is encased in a vitrine and perched on a slab-like armature, which is shimmed with the artist’s New Balance sneakers, bringing the whole construction into fragile alignment. Another space contains the room-scaled work Hot Topic Two (2022), a mental map of the mistrust and paranoid thinking that have made our bedrock institutions feel increasingly unstable. Taken together, the works are visually dissonant and occupy conflicting thematic registers (a stray coffee cup here, the storming of the Capitol there, and signs of manufactured caution throughout). Yet, as Nelson has argued, Harrison's resistance to summation is vital to “the genius and originality of her tone…some improbable combination of jaunty, caustic, rangy, and rapt, running asymptotic to the more usual sounds of satire, insubordination, insouciance, and absurdity. Often I feel as though she’s driving a car—a pretty fast car—right alongside these categories, but somehow she remains in an outer lane, a fugitive from their certainty or recognizability.”

Rachel Harrison (b. 1966, New York, NY) lives and works in New York. Recent solo and two-person museum exhibitions include Rachel Harrison Life Hack, Whitney Museum of American Art (2019–20); Perth Amboy, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2016); Voyage of the Beagle, Two, The Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach (2015); Gloria: Robert Rauschenberg & Rachel Harrison, The Cleveland Museum of Art (2015); Fake Titel, Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover (2013), which traveled to S.M.A.K., Ghent (2013); and Consider the Lobster, Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson (2009), which traveled as HAYCATION to Portikus, Frankfurt am Main (2009–10) and Conquest of the Useless, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2010); among others.

Her work is included in major public collections worldwide including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Art Institute of Chicago; Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Getty Center, Los Angeles; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Seattle Museum of Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Modern, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; among others.

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