SEP 9 - OCT 14, 2012


“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.