There are ramps on display at ESSEX STREET.
These ramps, which provide a way other than stairs for reaching interiors that sit above street level are made of laminated chipboard, aluminum, a cabinet door, plywood, steel, two by fours and other objects intended and not for this purpose. All are portable and some, particularly the commercially produced models, fold up with hinges to create a more compact moveable object. The majority of the ramps are from galleries, exhibition spaces, residencies, schools and studio programs. They were all built or purchased between the years 2010 and 2013, primarily for use by Park McArthur. A sign has been made and distributed to each of the lending organizations to be put on view during the exhibition.1 Five blank variations of those signs are also included in the exhibition.
While the ramps’ presence at ESSEX STREET is unavoidable, their absence from their initially intended sites conforms to the general absence of access at every other cultural and physical institution we attend.
The exhibition continues with a vinyl wall text that takes you to a Wikipedia page created by McArthur for Marta Russell, activist and author of the 1998 book Beyond Ramps: Disability at the End of the Social Contract. Russell, who died on December 16th, 2013, was one of the many disability activists who knew the fetish of structural access can ignore larger questions of social justice. To think access is to think healthcare and affordability, language and translation, documentation and identity, social convention and code.
This is Park McArthur’s second exhibition at ESSEX STREET.
She recently had a solo exhibition at Catherine Bastide in Brussels and will have one upcoming with Lars Friedrich in Berlin. She attended the Whitney Independent Study Program in 2010–2011 and again in 2011–2012. She is a graduate of Davidson College and the University of Miami. McArthur’s art has been presented at The Kitchen, New York; Galerie Lars Friedrich, Berlin; Laurel Gitlen, New York; Sculpture Center, New York; ICA Philadelphia; Botkyrka Konsthall, Sweden. She has presented papers and screenings at the Society of Disability Studies in Orlando; the University of the Arts, London; SUNY Stonybrook; The Graduate Center CUNY, New York; Hunter College, New York; the Productive Geographies Graduate Student Conference at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Artist: Park McArthur
Venue: Essex Street, New York
Exhibition Title: Ramps
Date: January 12 – February 23, 2014
Text (press release) and images, provided by the event.
©Essex Street, New York