With this body of work, Scores for a Black Hole, events both quotidian and profound unfold daily around a seven-foot hole filled with black ink. Big enough to fall into, this void serves as a site for collective action and shared experience, exerting a powerful gravitational field. Numerous collaborators invited by Mikalson—from artists to actors to novelists to children to yogis and more—enact scripted yet unrehearsed responses to the black hole, allowing for the spontaneous, unforeseen and unrepeatable to take shape.
Forty-three hand-made, black-and-white drawings by Mikalson line the walls, functioning at once as daily instruction, archive and poem. These text- and image-based scores describe what happens over the course of the exhibition. Through their aesthetic restraint and precision of language, they create a tension with the ongoing performative actions across the room. With their arrangement on the wall, the drawings dually act as calendar, calling our attention to the exhibition’s unfolding nature and emphasizing a rhythm of daily life.
Day-by-day as each score is performed, the meaning, nature and function of the exhibition itself shifts dramatically and unpredictably, with no two visits yielding the same experience. Over the course of six weeks, the artist and her host of collaborators perform actions that ask us to contemplate the role of the human inside our current political, economic and social order which seems to disavow it at every turn. Together we face a reflective void and in it encounter the immediacy of our own experience, be it thrilling, ordinary, or something as yet unknown.
Ander Mikalson holds an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and a BA from the College of Creative Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. Recent exhibitions and performances include The Aldrich Museum (Ridgefield, CT), Art in General (Brooklyn, NY), The Kitchen (New York, NY), The High Line (New York, NY), Storm King Art Center (New Windsor, NY), The Art, Design & Architecture Museum (Santa Barbara, CA), Kate Werble Gallery (New York, NY), Queens Museum (Queens, NY), Temple Contemporary (Philadelphia, PA), Institute of Contemporary Art (Portland, ME), and Tensta Konsthall (Stockholm, Sweden). Her projects have been supported by the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant (2020), Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2019), Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant (2016), the Art Matters Foundation Grant (2013), College Art Association Professional-Development Fellowship in the Visual Arts (2012), and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Graduate Fellowship (2011). She has been an artist-in-residence at the Queens Museum (2015-18), Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (2017), Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (2018), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (2016, 2019) and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2012).