“We are pressing downward towards no art – a mutual sense of psychologically indifferent decoration – a neutral pleasure of seeing known to everyone.”
Dan Flavin, “Some Remarks…Excerpts from a Spleenish Journal” (Artforum, December 1966)
Joe Sheftel Gallery is pleased to announce Aesthetic Relations, Cindy Hinant’s first solo show at the gallery. Hinant investigates the utopian goal shared by Relational Aesthetics and Minimalism of creating a universal art experience, and the reality of art production that failed to create space for the feminine body, recognize sexuality, and form new dynamic communities.
Relational Aesthetics envisioned a general audience who could come from any background and have a dialogue with an art project, no matter the pretense. However, the limited community that the movement created only fit the narrow demographics of the commercial and institutional art circuit. Hinant posits that Sephora stores, Britney Spears, and celebrity gossip magazines function as inadvertent relational objects, more effectively facilitating camaraderie and exchange between strangers than any structure created by a relational artist.
Hinant shops at the Sephora stores in Manhattan and records her experiences. Sephora proposes that with the aid of cosmetic products, one’s visual identity is fluid and unfixed. Interactive displays, promotional events, low-pressure sales tactics, and an “open-sell” environment create a space that allows for multiple levels of engagement. The community that results is a group composed mostly of women who share an interest in their aesthetic appearance. Hinant’s Sephora Project analyzes and catalogues the structure of these exchanges and explores how brand identification can lead to personal and intimate relations.
Minimalism similarly proposed impermeable, universal art, as influenced by Kant’s description of the “sublime formless object.” This authoritative total object offered no room for the body, sexuality, or deviation, as exemplified by the ordered and controlled modernist grid. In Hinant’s handmade sheets of graph paper (Bed Grids), mistakes and imperfections dismantle the grid’s precision. Similarly, in the video Selfish, computer-generated grids are synced to a Britney Spears song, corrupting Minimalism’s “high art” purity with a b-side dance track and comparing the construction of the grid to the construction of Britney.
Cindy Hinant was born in Indianapolis, IN and lives in New York, NY. She received a BFA from the Herron School of Art and Design and holds a MFA from the School of Visual Arts. In 2008 she received the Edward Albee Visual Artist-in-Residence Fellowship and was awarded the Robert D. Beckman Jr. Emerging Artist Fellowship in 2009. She has had solo shows at the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art and 3A Gallery and has participated in group shows at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Athens Institute of Contemporary Art and the Community Museum Laboratory.