New Museum Opens “Pia Camil: A Pot For a Latch”

Pia Camil's "A Pot For a Latch" at the New Museum - via @newmuseum's twitter feed

Pia Camil’s “A Pot For a Latch” at the New Museum – via @newmuseum’s twitter feed

Pia Camil: A Pot for a Latch,” the first New York solo show by Mexican artist Pia Camil, officially opened yesterday at the New Museum. Although the artist’s exchange events have already begun, the new sculptural installation created specifically for the Lobby Gallery is now on display.

The title of the exhibition refers to the potlatch, a ceremonial gift-giving festival practiced by the Native-American peoples of the Pacific Northwest coast, for whom it was a central system of wealth redistribution. For this show, Camil has invited the public to participate in the ongoing creation of her piece, encouraging visitors to exchange their own unique items for others in the installation, thereby transforming the Lobby Gallery into a “shop” in which the monetary value of an object is supplanted by its personal history and significance.

The museum notes:

Inspired by the modular display systems used by vendors, the artist will create a succession of gridwall panels with built-on hooks, shelves, and other fixtures commonly intended for store display. Composed of grids, lines, and geometric shapes, the structure will form a volumetric drawing within the space of the gallery, referencing cheap commercial constructions as well as the serial patterning in paintings and sculptures made by Minimalist artists such as Sol LeWitt or Agnes Martin.

The public is invited to exchange items that are installed in the Lobby Gallery on the following designated days:

Sunday February 7, 2–4 PM
Sunday February 21, 2–4 PM
Sunday March 6, 2–4 PM
Sunday March 20, 2–4 PM
Sunday April 3, 2–4 PM

Here is Camil’s invitation:

“A Pot for a Latch” is an invitation to exchange.

The object you bring is a talisman of sorts, and it should be thought of in the same way that the ancient Romans conceived of in their term “res,” which denotes a gift that has both a personal value and a history. Bring objects of power, of aesthetic interest, and of poignancy. The monetary value of these items is insignificant; their value lies instead in their richness of meaning and in the new life that they acquire on the grid within the Lobby Gallery.

Potential exchange items may include: clothing, curtains, blankets, artwork, photographs, paintings, frames, nondescript items of undetermined function, objects that resemble parts of the human body such as wigs or mannequins, costume jewelry and accessories, mirrors and reflective items, potted plants, posters, colorful items and/or those with interesting shapes and forms, transparent materials such as shower curtains, lingerie, or X-rays, magazines, books, and trinkets.

Prohibited exchange items include but are not limited to: electronics, heavy items (over twenty pounds), small-scale objects (less than six inches in diameter), food or other perishables, weapons, and chemicals or other hazardous materials.

Objects accepted for exchange will not be returned to the submitting party.

More information about the exhibition can be found here.