Whether artist, curator, or gallerist, working in the art world often demands nonstop travel. Between three Art Basels, two Frieze fairs, and a plethora of biennials and other events, it often feels like a neverending cycle of excursions. Everyone is constantly in-between trips, Airbnbs, and delayed flights.
Recently opened New York gallery Magenta Plains' ongoing exhibition, Record Lines This Summer, responds to the art world’s obsessive relationship with travel. For the show, seven young artists have been brought together in an effort to tackle, “the physical experience of air travel"—specifically, “our feelings of confinement, vulnerability, and over-exposure” felt at airports, curator Ellie Rines tells The Creators Project. She adds that, “even though most of the art world is thought to be in Europe right now, I liked the idea of implying lines around the block to come in to Magenta Plains and see the show.”
In and of themselves, the works in Record Lines This Summer do not necessarily scream “air travel,” as there is little direct imagery or overt, undeniable correlations to the theme. With an awareness of the exhibition’s unifying thread, however, the allusions to travel unravel themselves. Denise Kupferschmidt’s X-Ray presents two painted, featureless figures with their hands raised to their heads as if undergoing full-body scans. A Belt Near Dark by Dan Herschlein is an abstracted relief of a person removing their own belt: an all-too-familiar circumstance experienced in the TSA line.
Other works connect to air travel in even more subtle and metaphorical ways. Dylan Bailey's sculptures of unopened mail encased in plaster are like tributes to the tight grip on reality that we attempt to escape through vacations. Monument Around, a painting by Zach Bruder, depicts a masked character holding a grim reaper-esque scythe and a radiant shoe while an hourglass trickles down—perhaps an allusion to the time we lose in airport rituals. Marlous Borm’s series of modified crowbars are imposing, intimidating, and rigid, bringing to mind the dreaded, overbearing nature of the TSA yet again.
Whether you find the exhibition’s link to air travel cohesive or just a background factor, Record Lines This Summer is, above all, a strong exposition of rising art world names that have just started partaking in the incessant travel rituals demanded by their careers. To them, we say, Bon voyage.
View the exhibition until July 27th at Magenta Plains in the Lower East Side.