The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

UCR Sweeney Art Gallery presents JEFF&GORDON: PLAY AGAINST

October 29 – December 10, 2011
Reception: Saturday, October 29, 6-9 p.m., free admission

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – On the court of a tony club or ivy-covered institution, another Squash player makes an aggressive serve, or politely calls for a “let,” signaling to end the rally because he accidently interfered with his opponent’s shot. In a Riverside neighborhood or Inland Empire community, another family gets a foreclosure notice, just one of an estimated half a million California families that will lose their homes in the national foreclosure crisis. Do we really declare all of these people losers at the game of life, or might we be able to offer them a “let”? What are the limits of personal responsibility, and achievement? Applying their usual performative appropriation of social customs and idioms, the collaborative duo of JEFF&GORDON take on the tension between cooperation and competition that runs through the public discourse in a nation of “temporarily embarrassed millionaires,” and present it in the form of a large-scale, multi-channel video installation at Sweeney Art Gallery.
A major component of the video installation evolved from JEFF&GORDON working with community members, many of whom were affected by the foreclosure crisis in the Inland Empire. Working with the Fair Housing Authority of Riverside, on October 1st, the artists invited both people who have been affected by foreclosure and members of the community at large to appear on video, standing together as a group, in a demonstration of community pride and solidarity. The artists want to suggest that perhaps too much emphasis is put on personal responsibility and achievement, while at the same time recognizing the powerful, motivating role that competition plays in our society. “Everyone more or less accepts that banks are playing the profit game, and that we have to play the game with them,” artist Gordon Winiemko says. “Can we really say that the person who played the game and got to keep a house is a more worthy or deserving person than the one who lost the house?”
JEFF&GORDON are a collaborative team of artists who create videos and installations that explore social interactions. Jeff Foye and Gordon Winiemko create situations wherein an audience will reflect on their participatory role in the ever-changing cultural narrative; every one of us contributes to our collective culture, but at the same time we are all defined by culture. As such, their work frequently “takes on” the form of familiar social conducts and iconography, and also enters into a dialogue with the site or the context in which the work is exhibited. The artists also forward their personae, and frequently mediate their performative actions through video, as informed by the cinematic aesthetic. The artists received their MFA’s from California State University Long Beach, and University of California Irvine, respectively, in 2007. They live in the Los Angeles area. This is their second solo show as a team.
JEFF&GORDON: Play Against is organized by UCR Sweeney Art Gallery, and curated by Jennifer Frias, associate curator, Sweeney Art Gallery.
CONTEXT AND RELATED PROJECT
JEFF&GORDON: PLAY AGAINST is an exhibition in dialog with a UCR initiated project that will be under development throughout the 2011-12 academic year, Understanding the Human Impacts of Housing Foreclosure: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Economic, Social, and Political Inequality. Even before the subprime crisis exploded in 2007, a wave of foreclosures was building across the nation, especially in California. By 2002, foreclosures and distress refinancing on an industrial scale were occurring, particularly in the historically redlined neighborhoods where subprime-lending practices originated in the mid-1990s. Foreclosures will remain at unprecedented levels through 2012.
Despite the scale of these events, the foreclosure crisis has been under-studied and largely erased from the public agenda. One factor is that there are no publicly maintained foreclosure databases. This data is collected and sold by private companies, such as RealtyTrac, a national firm specializing in marketing distressed or foreclosed properties. These firms’ data-collection practices have no public oversight or official status. In response to this lack of data, the project seeks to develop multi-method, interdisciplinary social science and humanistic research on the effects of the foreclosure crisis, as well as artistic work depicting the human faces and voices of those affected by it. In winter or spring 2012, Culver Center of the Arts will host one of three conferences to discuss the project, the data, and provide
an opportunity for community dialog. Similar conferences will take place at UC Davis and UC Merced. The steering committee includes professors Gary Dymski (Economics), Vanesa Estrada (Sociology), Martin Johnson (Political Science), and Ellen Reese (Sociology/Labor Studies), along with UCR ARTSblock staff, Jonathan Green (Executive Director) and Tyler Stallings (Culver Center of the Arts/Sweeney Art Gallery).
OCCUPY RIVERSIDE
Coincidental to JEFF&GORDON’s exhibition, Occupy Riverside has set up camp in front of UCR
ARTSblock in solidarity with OCCUPY WALLSTREET. Both are a people powered movement for democracy that began in America on September 17 with an encampment in the financial district of New York City. Further information on Occupy Riverside can be found on Facebook and their dedicated website at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-Riverside/293627410651094 and
RELATED EVENTS
A Special Encounter with JEFF&GORDON
First Thursday ArtsWalk Event, November 3, 7-9 p.m.
Sweeney Art Gallery will present a one-night social event that invites the public into a participatory role with artists JEFF&GORDON. Recognizing the desire on the part of the average gallery or museum visitor to gain insight into the exhibition “Play Against,” and into the artist’s process, JEFF&GORDON will employ their usual strategy of borrowing from a social custom or cultural idiom and meet with members of the public in a series of controlled convivial situations. Channeling the phenomenon of institutionalized social gatherings and social networking, the public and JEFF&GORDON will be able to get acquainted to see how much they like each other, and to decide if they would like to see each other again. Participants will be provided with an entrée of suggested discussion topics and refreshments.
Time limit strictly enforced.
A Special Encounter with JEFF&GORDON is a First Thursday ArtsWalk event and is supported by the
Gluck Fellows Program of the Arts at UC Riverside. The Gluck Fellows Program is made possible by
the generosity of the Maxwell H. Gluck Foundation.
CONCURRENT EXHIBITIONS
Journeys to Recover Your Future: New Paintings by David Leapman
October 29-December 10, 2011
Reception: Saturday, October 29, 6-9 PM
UCR Culver Center of the Arts, North Atrium Gallery
UCR Culver Center of the Arts presents Journeys to Recover Your Future: New Paintings by David Leapman, which will feature an 8 x 28 foot, site specific, four panel phosphorescent and fluorescent painting in the Culver Center of the Art’s North Atrium Gallery. Leapman uses a private language of abstracted forms that are positioned against bands of color, often using exotic materials.

TRAVELLING EXHIBITION and BOOK RELEASE
The Great Picture: The World’s Largest Photograph & The Legacy Project closed on October 8, 2011, at UCR Culver Center of the Arts & Sweeney Art Gallery, the organizers of the exhibition. It is traveling to the Orange County Great Park’s Palm Court Arts Complex new exhibition gallery, and opens on November 5, 2011. It will feature new components such as a sound installation based on using the former air base hangars as instruments.
For more information: http://www.ocgp.org/visit/palm-court/.
Additionally, the accompanying book has just come back from the oversea printer. It is for sale at both Culver Center of the Arts and will be available at the Orange County Great Park, or from the publisher, Hudson Hills Press. The Great Picture: The Making of the World’s Largest Photograph is a 196-page book, published and distributed by Hudson Hills Press, that accompanies the exhibition with essays by Tyler Stallings, Dawn Hassett, and Lucy R. Lippard, and features photographs documenting this monumental and unprecedented project.
VISITOR INFORMATION
UCR’s Sweeney Art Gallery and Culver Center of the Arts are located at 3834 Main St., Riverside, CA 92501, and are situated next door to UCR/California Museum of Photography. The three venues, also known at UCR ARTSblock, are open Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m., plus 6-9 p.m. for First Thursday ArtWalks. Admission is $3, which includes entry to Culver, Sweeney and CMP, and is free during First Thursday ArtWalks (6-9 p.m.). For film screenings, Culver Center opens 30 minutes prior to the start time.
See websites for additional information:
http://sweeney.ucr.edu,
Press inquiries for JEFF&GORDON: PLAY AGAINST, contact Sweeney Art Gallery associate curator,
Jennifer Frias, 951-827-1465, jfrias@ucr.edu. Complete information on the project may be found at
Sweeney Art Gallery’s website, http://sweeney.ucr.edu.

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