Thank You for Coming: Triple Candie, 2001-08 (March 23 - April 27, 2008)
Triple Candie was started on a whim but broke onto the art scene quickly. Despite early attention from the press, its six-and-a-half year existence was anything but predictable, the result of a constant search for and probing of its reason for being. With its unexpected closing--though one of its own design--that search continues. The new form it will take remains unknown.
Triple Candie's goal has always been to provide something different from other "alternative" spaces. At first, it did so by simply by presenting museum-quality exhibitions in Harlem, a neighborhood with no contemporary art infrastructure outside of the Studio Museum. These early exhibitions presented the work of established artists (e.g. Robert Gober, Howardena Pindell, Kiki Smith) alongside emerging artists from Harlem and elsewhere.
As this strategy gained popularity, Triple Candie changed its focus to support artists in a more comprehensive way, organizing ambitious solo exhibitions, often consisting of new work made on site. Triple Candie provided the artists generous honorariums (up to $10,000), long installation periods (3-5 weeks), and scores of volunteer assistants. For artists like Brian Jungen, Mark Lewis, and Rodney McMillian, these projects were important New York debuts.
Several years ago, Triple Candie shifted course one more time. In an attempt to forge new meaning in a world bedazzled by notions of artistic genius and material success, the organization consciously stepped way outside the boundaries of art-world protocol. Its Anonymous Artist Projects (2004 and 2005) and its exhaustive survey of the work of the fictional Lester Hayes (2006) excised "the artist" from its programs, ushering in a wave of interest in anonymous and fictional projects. And a string of more than a dozen unorthodox exhibitions without art--among them, "David Hammons: The Unauthorized Retrospective" and Cady Noland Approximately"--questioned commonly held assumptions about art, institutional license, and the role fo the alternative space. With these shows of objects that were not--and never would be --for sale, Triple Candie fully distinguished itself in a crowded field: it was no longer a vehicle of promotion; it had become an institution of critique.
This exhibition is a quasi-survey of the organization's history. Appropriately, it does not include any real "artwork". Rather, it consists of photo-documentation, ephemera, reproductions, partial recreations of exhibitions, fragments of sculptures, as well as non-art objects created specifically for the show by a handful of artists and Triple Candie itself. The survey is comprehensie, but it is organized in such a way as to emphasize its own incompleteness. Think of it as a three-dimensional catalog: the first step in the organization's historicization.