Push Over, Push Back, May 2021, Bard CCS / Hessel Museum
Push Over, Push Back is an exhibition that examines points of tension between human bodies and the built environments we occupy or move through. Within these relationships, the artworks selected from the Marieluise Hessel Collection look specifically at how the architecture of our surroundings establish built-in systems of signals for the body to respond to. These systems condition behavior and inevitably contribute to how we think, feel, and interact with the world. In works by Kerry Downey and Joanna Seitz (in collaboration with Jen Rosenblit), VALIE EXPORT, Mona Hatoum, Christian Jankowski, Laurel Nakadate, Bruce Nauman, Cady Noland, and Pope.L, artists forefront bodily movements and positions, with particular emphasis on how bodies are able to defy, subvert, and reject spaces in which biases and restrictions are encoded. These works highlight ideas about the individual body that are historically- and socially-determined by race, gender, class, and physicality. Push Over, Push Back makes visible the complex yet latent systems of control in everyday environments that affect one’s social behavior, and, by extension, subjectivity.