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Artists Are Essential Workers

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"Artists Are Essential Workers" by Warren Neidich.

authorStaff Writer on Sep 21, 2020

Warren Neidich’s text based digital light installation, “Artists Are Essential Workers/Art Is An Essential Service” will make its swansong from September 25-27, in an exhibition curated by Pamela Willoughby and Victoria de Lesseps, entitled “Three Day Weekend at The Fireplace Project.”

The piece, which is installed on an illuminated highway department sign, makes its final appearance at The Fireplace Project after having been installed at Guild Hall and the Leiber Collection gallery in Springs.

In his piece, Neidich utilizes the ready-made highway message board to shout out his provocative message to an artist community ravaged by the pandemic. Half of all museums and artist studios are on the brink of collapse. Can one say that artists are essential workers and art is an essential service, especially at this moment of COVID-19?

Essential workers and essential services are terms usually reserved for the brave medical personnel manning the front lines in the battle against this disease. Neidich’s pithy phraseology asks the question, “Can we imagine the healed human body without the healed human spirit? Don’t we need to preserve both mind and body?” As such, the work asks us to embrace the importance of the artistic worker at the frontier for the battle of the spirit.

In addition to Neidich’s piece, the exhibition includes the work of Roisin Bateman, Dianne Blell, Dante Cannatella, Don Christensen, Jeremy Dennis, Saskia Friedrich, Robin Gianis, Hiroyuki Hamada, Mary Heilmann, Nathan Slate Joseph, Dennis Leri, Noel de Lesseps, Victoria de Lesseps, Matt Magee, Katrina del Mar, Maynard Monrow, Sabra Moon, Nicole Nadeau, Pat Place, Mimi Saltzman, Jo Shane, Andrew B. Thayer, Aurelio Torres, Lucy Villeneuve and Amy Wickersham.

The exhibition runs September 25-27, noon to 6 p.m. each day, at The Fireplace Project, 851 Springs Fireplace Road, East Hampton. It will also feature a Sunday afternoon reading at 3 p.m. by Tom House, (who wrote about his time as a bartender at The Swamp) and Warren Neidich, who is reading an assortment of definitions from his new book, “The Glossary of Cognitive Activism.” Masks and social distancing required in the gallery.

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