Kirk Varnedoe: In the Middle at the Modern is a multimedia exhibition that challenges reality, questions authenticity, and ignites discussions about the power of museums to bestow objects with “high” or “low” value. Curated by Triple Candie, a phantom-like institution run by internationally-noted art historians Shelly Bancroft and Peter Nesbett, the exhibition will reflect on Varnedoe’s contributions to curatorial practice by examining his first major exhibition, High and Low: Modern Art and Popular Culture (Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1990), now with the hindsight of three decades.
Varnedoe (American, 1946–2003) was a figure deeply connected to Savannah as a celebrated native who achieved the status of a national art-world legend. In his role as chief curator of painting and sculpture at MoMA (1988–2001), he set in motion vital debates about art that continue to reverberate today. Blending personal biography with historical scholarship, this exhibition uses fabricated objects in the form of altered documents, sculptural recreations, photographs, sets, animations, modified posters, ephemera, and wall texts. Triple Candie’s curatorial directive is to raise questions about art and the often-unquestioned ideas surrounding it, such as originality, authenticity, influence, history, and value.
This exhibition is commissioned and organized by Telfair Museums, and curated by Triple Candie in collaboration with Rachel Reese, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.
About the Artists
Triple Candie is a phantom-like institution run by internationally-noted art historians Shelly Bancroft and Peter Nesbett. Founded in Harlem in 2001, Triple Candie produces exhibitions about art but largely devoid of it. Its primary purpose since late 2005 has been to explore the possibilities of exhibition-making as a truly alternative, critical practice. The New York Times once characterized Triple Candie as “Manhattan’s only truly alternative alternative space,” and Domus described it as “one of the most mysterious and creative institutions on the contemporary scene.” From 2001 to 2010, Triple Candie operated a series of galleries. When it left Harlem in 2011, it began guest-producing exhibitions for museums in the United States and Europe. In 2015, Triple Candie was curator-in-residence at Gertrude Contemporary in Melbourne, Australia, and in 2016, Edward E. Elson Artist-in-Residence at the Addison Museum of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts. Today, Triple Candie works out of a townhouse in Washington, D.C.