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Leslie Johnson

Claudia Joskowicz: Sympathy for the Devil

Exhibition:
November 30 – December 23, 2012

Off-Site Program:
Talk/Screening for Claudia Joskowicz: Sympathy for the Devil
Goethe-Institut New York Wyoming Building
5 East 3rd Street, New York
December 20, 2012

Forever & Today, Inc. presents a new video installation by Claudia Joskowicz, Sympathy for the Devil (2011), depicting a reenacted encounter between two neighbors in La Paz, Bolivia: a Polish Jewish refugee who emigrated to Bolivia during World War II and former Nazi Klaus Barbie, then living in Bolivia under the assumed name of Klaus Altman. During the 1970s, both men lived parallel lives as neighbors, mutually aware of the other's existence—meeting daily in the elevator.

Joskowicz’s video installation is based on an anecdote recounted to her by a close relative and her own memory of visits paid to her relative as a child. An interlude between the two men plays out against the bleak landscape of La Paz, revealing the contrast between the lives of these two men who left behind opposing futures in Europe for a shared view from their high-rise apartments of the Bolivian landscape. A simple interaction in the elevator highlights a recurring situation in Bolivia and greater Latin America in the post-war period when the region offered asylum to both persecuted Jews and Nazi Germans, antagonistic communities in Europe, yet somehow coexisting in a relative lull in Latin America.

Sympathy for the Devil can be understood as a reflection on space and its influence on the human social dimension, using the iconic view of the Andes Mountains as an establishing shot that synchronizes each man's perspective on the landscape. Joskowicz's new video installation builds on her approach to filmmaking, examining history and its repercussions on the physical and symbolic landscape, while making reference to the medium itself. Through her use of long, single shots, Joskowicz redirects the viewer’s gaze to the physical movement of the camera through space, and to movement in a more abstract sense, through an imaginary cinematic space. On the whole, her work addresses the way technology mediates and redefines concepts like history, memory, and reality.

On Thursday, December 20, 2012, 6:30-8:30pm, Forever & Today, Inc. hosts an off-site program in association with Goethe-Institut New York at its Wyoming Building location. The talk includes a screening of Claudia Joskowicz's recent films, and a conversation with her and curator Sara Reisman about the artist's film installation at Forever & Today, Inc. in reference to her other work.

Claudia Joskowicz (b. Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia) lives and works in New York City and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. She received her MFA from New York University in 2000. Joskowicz's solo exhibitions include Galeria ACBEU, Salvador, Brazil (2012); Centro Cultural Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Bolivia (2012); Galería Kiosko, Santa Cruz, Bolivia (2012, 2009); Espacio Simón Patiño, La Paz, Bolivia (2011); Thierry Goldberg Projects, New York (2010); Museo Nacional de Arte, La Paz, Bolivia (2009); Lawndale Art Center, Houston (2002); The Soap Factory, Minneapolis (2002); and Momenta Art, Brooklyn (2000). Selected group exhibitions include the 10th Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah (2011); 17th Videobrasil Festival, São Paulo (2011); LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, Asturias, Spain (2011); Slought Foundation, Philadelphia (2011); 29th São Paulo Biennial, São Paulo (2010); LMAKprojects, New York (2010, 2007); 10th Havana Biennial, Havana (2009); McDonough Museum of Art, Cleveland (2007); and Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, New York (2005). Joskowicz has received awards including John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2011); 17th Videobrasil Festival Residency Prize (2011); Fulbright Scholar Award (2009); East Harlem Arts Grant (2009); New York Association of Hispanic Artists Urban Artists Initiative Fellowship (2008); and Vermont Studio Center Fellowship (2003). She has been an artist-in-residence at Sacatar Institute, Bahia, Brazil (2012), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace, New York (2003), and Bronx Museum of the Arts’ Artist in the Marketplace (AIM), Bronx, New York (2000). Joskowicz is an adjunct professor at New York University Steinhardt Art Department and is represented by LMAKprojects, New York, and Galería Kiosko, Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

Claudia Joskowicz: Sympathy for the Devil is organized by Sara Reisman, Forever & Today Inc.'s Guest Curator 2012/2013. Reisman is the Director of New York City's Percent for Art program that commissions permanent public artworks for newly constructed and renovated city-owned spaces, indoors and out. Recently commissioned artists include Mary Mattingly, Duke Riley, Roxy Paine, Odili Donald Odita, Julianne Swartz, and Karyn Olivier, among others. Reisman has curated exhibitions and projects for numerous institutions, non-profits, and other art spaces including The Cooper Union School of Art, New York; Smack Mellon, New York; Queens Museum of Art, New York; Socrates Sculpture Park, New York; Philadelphia ICA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Banjaluka, Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna, Austria, among others. She was the 2011 critic-in-residence at Art Omi, an international visual artist residency in upstate New York.

Special thanks to Wenzel Bilger, Dustin Cosentino, and Sara Stevenson of Goethe-Institut New York, Theresa Choi, Forever & Today, Inc. Postgraduate Fellow, and New York University Steinhardt's Department of Art and Art Professions.