October 24, 2017–February 16, 2018

Concrete Truth: Art and the Documentary

Concrete Truth: Art and the Documentary considers vital questions around fact and image-making. The exhibition presents recent lens-based works positioned at the boundary of art and the documentary.

During the last two decades, visual artists have revitalized documentary practices, facilitated by digital technologies and modes of circulation. Documentary approaches help us bear witness to both individual and collective realities, often using found footage, biographical narratives, textual documents, and historical reenactments. The artists in Concrete Truth respond to times of crisis by interweaving documentary practices, aesthetics, and ethics. Several artists in the exhibition employ documentary formats as a strategy to construct counter-narratives, in works that deal with a range of concerns including the histories of Indigenous peoples, the role of media in political conflict, internet ethics, the abuse of governmental power, and archives and copyright issues.

Artists in the exhibition include Edgardo Aragón, Eric Baudelaire, Paolo Cirio, Maryam Jafri, belit sağ, and Krista Belle Stewart.

Concrete Truth: Art and the Documentary takes stock of documentary art work produced in the last few years, highlighting the various ways artists represent political and social realities in an age of global disinformation. Among the works on view is a video by Krista Belle Stewart that combines 1960s documentary footage of the artist’s mother at the beginning of her career as British Columbia’s first Aboriginal public health nurse with her mother’s recent testimonies of the trauma she endured as a child in an Indian Residential School. Paolo Cirio’s installation and algorithm obfuscates the 15 million mugshots made public on internet databases for corporate profit. Photographs of the independence ceremonies of African nations are the subject of Maryam Jafri’s work, specifically the ways these images have been illegally copyrighted by stock agencies and digitally “colonized.” Using landscape as a sign of the political climate, Eric Baudelaire traces the story of a young man from his troubled home in the Parisian suburbs to Syria, where he joins ISIS. Edgardo Aragón’s critical cartography and video of everyday conditions in Cachimbo, Mexico, demonstrates the crippling effects of foreign power. The amnesia of both public and personal memory—framed by a bombardment of contentious media images in Turkish politics—shapes belit sağ’s activist artwork.

Daily screening times of Eric Baudelaire’s work Also Known As Jihadi: 12pm, 2pm and 4pm

Tuesday, December 12, 2017: Paolo Cirio and Julia Powles will discuss Cirio’s work Obscurity and data protection.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018: belit sağ, Tomáš Rafa and Siddhartha Mitter will present work and discuss Concrete Truth: Art and the Documentary.

This exhibition is curated by Kari Conte, Director of Programs and Exhibitions.

This program is supported, in part, by Greenwich Collection, Ltd., National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Council District 34; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Opening Reception: Oct 24, 2017, 6–8pm
Open Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 12–6pm
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Offsite Project
October 12, 2017–January 24, 2018

Cheon pyo Lee: Alibi of Autonomy

The International Studio & Curatorial Program announces ISCP Ground Floor alumnus Cheon pyo Lee’s residency and ongoing project, Alibi of Autonomy at El Museo de Los Sures.

The artist will organize a variety of activities in the space and continue his studio practice with weekly open hours. Over the course of three months, these activities will include a screening of videos on the subject of second languages in collaboration with Video Snack; an exhibition of design products intended to enhance childhood development; a collective mapping session with the Queens College MFA program, Social Practice Queens; and a food related program with the School for Poetic Computation. Lee’s residency will close with the premiere screening of videos​ and ​sculptures from his multi-year project, Alibi of Autonomy. Lee initiated this project in collaboration with writers Razmig Bedirian and Amir Ahmadi Arian, developing a book of short stories involving his collection of receipts from artist residencies in Basel and Swansea and considering topics of immigration and forms of invisible oppression. These stories serve​d​ as material for the Alibi of Autonomy​ ​video works and wearable sculptures that Lee produce​d​ during his residency.

Cheon pyo Lee (born 1980, South Korea) has a multidisciplinary practice that involves the creation of films and installations, and organizing curatorial projects with the curatorial collective, AGWF. AGWF’s projects address a variety of themes, and are stylistically marked with absurdity, play, and experimentation. Lee completed his undergraduate studies at the School of the Arts Institute of Chicago and his MFA at Yale University.

The events mentioned above will be announced periodically on this event page:

  • November 18 – December 2, 2017: Memories of Future Landscapes with works by Setare S. Arashloo, Shahrzad Changalvaee, Olivia Divecchia, Tara Homasi, Eunwoo Nam, Constanza Alarcón Tennen and Erin Turner. The Opening Reception is on Saturday, November 186–8pm.
  • Saturday October 14, 5–8pm: Opening Reception of Impossible Child, a collection of child wares by Arthur Brum, Erik Gonzalez, and Diego Leclery. Impossible Child fosters autonomy in early childhood, promotes physical and spiritual risk-taking for young bodies and minds, and arms those in the earliest stages of development. On view through October 28, 2017.
  • November 11, 2017, 5:30pm and 7pmVIDEO SNACK 6: Video as a Second Language, Lee hosts an evening featuring found and original videos, each under two minutes in length, on the theme “second language.” Short video works by twenty-six artists will be presented. Video Snack, the informal, thematic video screening series, is curated by Lauren Francescone and Zeynab Izadyar.
  • January 11, 2018, 6:30-8pm: Project closing of Alibi of Autonomy and readings by Razmig Bedirian and Amir Ahmadi Arian at 7pm.

This residency is coordinated by Juliana Cope, Director of Development and Programs Manager.

El Museo de Los Sures was founded by Southside United HDFC-Los Sures former Executive Director Ramon Peguero along with colleagues from Cornell University and Churches United for Fair Housing to preserve the history of the neighborhood’s residents.

This project is the ninth collaboration between Los Sures and ISCP. It is made possible in part, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, New York City Council District 34, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation. Cheon pyo Lee’s 2016 Ground Floor Program residency at ISCP was supported in part by Yoko Ono, Alice and Lawrence Weiner, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and New York City Council District 34.

  • Closing Reception: Thursday, January 11, 6–8pm
  • Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 11am–7pm
  • Location: El Museo de Los Sures, 120 South 1st Street, Brooklyn, NY 11249


Participating Residents

October 3, 2017, 6:30–8pm

Salon: Deborah Edmeades and Fuyuka Shindo

Deborah Edmeades’s work investigates the intertwining of Western mystical thought with scientific and philosophical history. She is particularly interested in the various histories that have been suppressed or denied by secular Western culture yet persist as facets of the New Age movement. In her presentation, Edmeades will address the practice of spiritual trance speakers in nineteenth century Colonial New England to draw connections between mysticism, conceptions of gender, and social change.

Fuyuka Shindo is interested in the influence of the United States in the 1870’s on her native region of Hokkaido, Japan. During this period, Japan was widely open to diplomatic exchanges and modernization. She will speak about her current research and previous works on the counter-history and culture of Hokkaido.

This program is supported, in part, by ACC – Asian Cultural Council, Canada Council for the Arts, New York City Council District 34, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


Participating Residents