Factory Direct: New Haven
Curated by: Denise Markonish
January 22—April 2, 2005
Manufacturing, like art, is about craftsmanship. It’s about ingenuity. The grit and sweat from those factories have transformed our lives and formed the foundation of the economy. – U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro
In January 2005, Artspace will present the results of an extraordinary set of artist residencies in our ambitious exhibition, Factory Direct: New Haven. Modeled after the 2002 Factory Direct show held at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy, New York, the exhibition will feature the work of twelve contemporary artists culled from the local and national art world, ranging from those with emerging status to nationally recognized artists that have shown at the Whitney Biennial and beyond. The artists have been placed at venerable New Haven area manufacturers ranging from small family-owned operations to large-scale industrial firms with thousands of employees. These firms were identified through a collaborative search with the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce and the New Haven Manufacturing Association. Participant artists and firms are Chakaia Booker at Vespoli (maker of crew/rowing shells), Hope Ginsburg at U.S. Surgical (maker of sutures and medical devices), David Hardy at Bilco (maker of utility access doors), Richard Klein at Marlin Firearms (maker of hunting rifles), Erza Parzybok at C. Cowles Co. (maker of automobile detailing adhesives), Jane Philbrick at Honeywell Fire Solutions (maker of fire alarms), Jane Miller at Sargent Manufacturing Co. (maker of locks), Michael Oatman at Tower Optical (maker of scenic viewfinders), Noel Sardalla at Suzio/York Hill (supplier of cement and asphalt), and Jennifer Zackin at Pinchbeck Roses (a rose farm). In addition, photographer Angela Strassheim will document the entire project, and video artist Erika Van Natta will create a work that will chronicle the artists’ residencies. The show runs from January 22nd to April 2nd, 2005.
In addition to the exhibition, a number of related activities will be held to celebrate the innovation and industry of New Haven, including:
- Opening Reception on Saturday, January 22, 2005 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Artspace.
- Family Workshops organized by the Eli Whitney Museum. Saturday February 29, and Saturday March 5. A series of fun events in which families will be able to recreate New Haven inventions and industrial processes. Both free, at Artspace.
- Factory Direct Discussion Panel on Friday, March 4, 2005 at the New Haven Colony Historical Society, 14 Whitney Avenue, New Haven. The panel will feature participant artists and factory representatives fielding questions about their experiences and factory histories.
To coincide with Factory Direct: New Haven, Artspace will publish a fifty-two-page full-color catalogue that will feature an essay about art historical theories on mass production by the exhibition curator, an essay on the social histories of New Haven and its industrial beginnings by the Executive Director of the New Haven Colony Historical Society, and personal biographies on the artists and company employees written by History of Art graduate students from Yale and the University of Pennsylvania. The catalogue will tell the story of New Haven’s overarching history as an industrial city built chiefly by the labor and sweat of immigrants, a tradition that continues to this day. As such, the book will shed new light on the urban fabric of New Haven and its international labor force. In highlighting the technical innovation and skill of New Haven’s past, present and future, the catalogue will offer new ways to understand urban history and document participant artists’ responses to the industrial process. It will be available for purchase.
Factory Direct: New Haven is made possible by generous funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the LEF Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, The Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, and The Community Foundation of Greater New Haven.