A.K. Burns is an interdisciplinary artist who views the body as a contentious domain wherein issues of gender, labor, ecology and sexuality are negotiated. Working to agitate these systems of value, Burns utilizes video, installation, sculpture, drawing and collaboration.
For her inaugural presentation at Art Basel Miami Beach, Burns premiers a new assemblage of works, entitled Weather Report. The installation calls forth a dystopian domestic scene: a gutted couch, dirtied carpet that creeps onto the walls, accumulated marked-up newspapers, and punctured window screens. Burns produces a kind of allegorical scene weathered by the already-here political storm, vexing barriers between the interior and exterior.
This installation preserves that which does not matter––excess, waste and subordinated bodies. In A Skeleton Reclining, 2017, the wooden frame and metal coils of a couch are bared and then protected with a plastic cover. Lit with an under-glow, the couch is propped up on torso-like bags cast of dirt and embedded with Felix Gonzalez-Torres-esque candies. Intersecting the booth floor is NOPEN, 2017, a sequence of letter-shaped rugs cut from a permanently soiled carpet, the residue of human activity. The rug shapes read in a circular anagram as O-P-E-N or N-O-P-E depending on the viewer’s perspective. This turn of phrase acts like a linguistic-material shutter, which is an imperfect filter, leaky and exhausted with use.
Traces of the outdoors also linger on the walls, where a series of collages constructed on aluminum-framed window screens hang. These ‘screen’ collages include fragments of outdoors equipment held in place and perforated by grommets. The partially opaque, yet breezy mesh screens act as a metaphorical mechanism through which some socio-environmental elements may pass, while others are blocked.
In the series Post Times, 2017, the New York Times and The New York Post are collaged using wheat paste and colored with paint-waste transferred from Burns’ studio drop-cloths. Burns embedded then extracted thin rebar to leave a soft grid in the skin like sheets of newspaper. Within this mise en scène, the collages recall the daily ritual of reading the news–not for pleasure, as in the ‘good life’ fantasy, but rather as a compulsion in the face of political crisis. While never discarded, these torn, painted newspapers are rendered partially illegible, suggesting a painful attachment to media felt by many politically vulnerable subjects, for whom news is simultaneously vital and violent.
A.K. Burns lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Recent solo exhibitions include Shabby But Thriving at the New Museum, New York, and Fault Lines at Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, both 2017. Currently Burns is at work on Negative Space, a cycle of five video-installations that take speculative fiction as a point of departure,. The opening episode, A Smeary Spot (2015) debuted at Participant Inc., New York. It has also been exhibited at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, OR, in 2016 and is forthcoming at Human Resources, Los Angeles, in 2017. As of summer 2017 Burns is in development on the third video, commissioned by EMPAC at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. Burns was a 2016-17 Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University and a recipient of a 2015 Creative Capital Foundation Visual Arts Award. Her work can be found in several public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, NY and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA.
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Location and Details:
Art Basel Miami Beach is located at Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach, Florida 33139. Fair Hours: Wednesday, December 6: First Choice: 11am - 4pm; Preview: 4pm - 8pm; Thursday, December 7: Verissage: 11am - 3pm; Public Access: 3pm - 8pm; Friday, December 8 to Saturday, December 9: Public Access: noon - 8pm; Sunday, December 10: Public Access: noon - 6pm.