Perrotin New York | Mel Ziegler

by Hannah Jackson

Perrotin Gallery in New York is proud to present their newest exhibition, Activated Artifacts, displaying the works of Mel Ziegler. Both old and new works will be shown until August 16th, also featuring many of Ziegler’s collaborative pieces with his later partner Kate Ericson.

Ziegler and Ericson, whose partnership lasted from 1985 until her untimely passing in 1995, were grounded in community-based art, producing mostly sculpture work. Despite Ericson’s death, Ziegler has continued the collaborative spirit of their work, while expanding upon interests and concerns of their art.

The gallery will display a new work, Hooks, from a larger series of Ziegler’s called 10x10’s. The work is rooted in audience participation, encouraging viewers to leave hats on the hooks, thereby transforming the original work.

Ziegler’s interest in Mount Rushmore is also a heavy focus of the exhibition, which includes 1000 Portraits, a series of—you guessed it—1000 digital portraits of iterations of the famous faces on the monument. This range includes approximately 400 souvenirs of the landmark. “My goal with these souvenirs was always to make an artwork out of them with the aim of de-monumentalizing this monument,” he said.

In conjunction with his more recent 1000 Portraits, Perrotin will also display a 1986 collaboration with Ericson, From the Making of Mount Rushmore, in which the artists took stones from the base of the monument in an act of civil disobedience, and mounted them to reflect the placement of the original landmark.

On a more somber and melancholy note, the gallery will also display Dianna Drawings, created by Ziegler and Ericson, drawn at a local diner throughout the duration of Ericson’s terminal illness. Though undeniably heartbreaking, the series of drawings on napkins reflects the optimistic and legacy-binding nature of the partnership.