Cristin Tierney Gallery Announces John Wood and Paul Harrison: Building Things

Visual Arts

Times Square Arts

Midnight Moment January 1-31, 2022, at 11:57pm nightly

Cristin Tierney Gallery is pleased to announce that John Wood and Paul Harrison’s new video Building Things will premiere in Times Square Arts’ Midnight Moment program in January 2022. The work will screen nightly on over eighty screens in New York’s Times Square for three minutes starting at 11:57pm, from January 1 through 31.

Building Things imagines that a camera is dropped off the side of an office building. As it travels downward and looks into room after room, different actions unfold. Each room is the vernacular of an office, with all its standard accoutrements: a table, a desk, a clock, a filing cabinet, a cupboard, a suspended ceiling, light panels and a wastepaper bin. We’re somewhere and yet these imagined interior spaces could be anywhere, housed in a tower of glass and steel and concrete. Under Wood and Harrison’s exacting yet playful approach, the rooms become sites for a comedic send-up of everyday events and office culture.

The actions in Building Things could be taking place in any one of the buildings surrounding the Midnight Moment. They play on the voyeurism many feel when moving through New York–especially in the vibrant, always-changing Times Square district. Speaking about their interest in office buildings, the artists state:

People who do not have a studio, people with proper jobs and important things to do who don’t actually need one, maybe think a studio is special, a bit mysterious. But really it’s just a room, a room that’s a bit cold and draughty. A room to try to make art in. We try to make art most days, in this room to try to make art in, and for that reason the studio isn’t special, it isn’t a bit mysterious.

We don’t have a proper job, we are told quite often, we don’t go to the office and do important things, we’ve never sent a fax to Chicago. So maybe that’s why the idea of an office, for us, is special, a bit of a mystery. Maybe that’s why we built an office in our studio. Maybe that’s why one of the artworks we tried to make is Building Things.

John Wood (b.1969, Hong Kong) and Paul Harrison (b.1966, Wolverhampton) make single-channel videos, multi-screen video installations, prints, drawings, and sculptures. The artists’ spare, to-the-point works feature the actions of their own bodies, a wide variety of static and moving props, or combinations of both to illustrate the triumphs and tribulations of making art and having a life. In their not-always-successful experiments with movement and materials, many of which critic Tom Lubbock has described as “sculptural pratfalls,” Wood and Harrison employ exuberant invention, subtle slapstick, and a touch of light-hearted melancholy to reveal the inspiration and perspiration—as well as the occasional hint of desperation—behind all creative acts.

Wood and Harrison met in 1989 at the Bath College of Higher Education and have worked together since 1993. Their work has been exhibited at Tate Britain, MoMA PS1, Mori Art Museum, Frist Art Museum, University of California Santa Barbara, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Palais de Tokyo and Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver). Their work is in the collections of the Kadist Foundation, MoMA, British Council Collection, MUDAM, Tate, Centre Pompidou and more. The artists have a studio in Bristol.

Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance, collaborates with contemporary artists and cultural institutions to experiment and engage with one of the world’s most iconic urban places. Through the Square’s electronic billboards, public plazas, vacant areas and popular venues, and the Alliance’s own online landscape, Times Square Arts invites leading contemporary creators, such as Mel Chin, Tracey Emin, Jeffrey Gibson, Ryan McGinley, Yoko Ono, and Kehinde Wiley, to help the public see Times Square in new ways. Times Square has always been a place of risk, innovation and creativity, and the Arts Program ensures these qualities remain central to the district’s unique identity.

Founded in 2010, Cristin Tierney Gallery is a contemporary art gallery located on The Bowery with a deep commitment to the presentation, development and support of a roster of both established and emerging artists. Its program emphasizes artists engaged with critical theory and art history, with an emphasis on conceptual, video, and performance art. Education and audience engagement is central to our mission. Cristin Tierney Gallery is a member of the ADAA (Art Dealers Association of America). Image John Wood and Paul Harrison, Building Things, 2021. single-channel HD video.


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Andrea Bruce

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