New Britain museum offers up 2 events this weekend

Stephanie Lempert, DUMBO, Language of Space series, 2013, Archival digital pigment print, 32 x 48 in., Courtesy of the artist
Stephanie Lempert, DUMBO, Language of Space series, 2013, Archival digital pigment print, 32 x 48 in., Courtesy of the artist

The New Britain Museum of American Art announced two events that will take place this upcoming weekend, Jan. 11 to 12.

On Saturday, Jan. 11 from 1 to 3 p.m., the museum will celebrate Lisa Hoke’s expansive, site-specific installation, “The Gravity of Color.” Commissioned in 2008, “The Gravity of Color” consists of 20,000 cups playfully arranged into swirls of colors and textures against the walls of the LeWitt Staircase. Over the five years it has been on view, “The Gravity of Color” has become a favorite among our visitors, and as such, one of the artworks most immediately identified with the museum. However, because the LeWitt staircase has always been intended to be a changing exhibition space, over the last year, the museum has been preparing for the next LeWitt installation due to open in February 2014. Before the museum says goodbye to Hoke’s multimedia work, the closing reception will provide an opportunity for visitors to observe a part of the deinstallation process and leave with one or more signed cups.

Anna Rogulina, assistant curator, noted in a press release from the museum, “Rather than an act of destruction, the ceremony will symbolize the work’s repurposing, evolution and redistribution – a process that is well-aligned with the artist’s interest in recycling and giving found objects a new meaning. What was once a unified whole made of 20,000 individual units will return to a state of separate existence, though each part will still carry the history of having belonged to a monumental force of artistry carefully choreographed by Hoke.”

On Sunday, Jan. 12, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., the museum will welcome photographer, sculptor, and video artist, Stephanie Lempert, for the opening reception for her NEW/NOW exhibition. On view in the Cheney Gallery from Jan. 11-April 13, “NEW/NOW: Stephanie Lempert” explores systems of visual and verbal communication. Lempert is fascinated by language and infuses her work with recorded snippets of conversations, personal histories, and memories. She is both a collector and preserver of sounds and stories, sourcing the raw material for her work from the vast urban landscape of New York City as well as from one-on-one interviews she conducts with her subjects.

In the “Language of Space” series, Lempert is an anonymous listener who tunes into dialogues exchanged across various neighborhoods, transportation hubs and bridges of New York. She documents each chosen site first by photographing it and then by infusing the surface of the image with transcriptions of the overheard conversations. In the “Memory Lines” series, too, she combines photography and language by creating photographic portraits that capture not only the expressions of the sitters but also the stories of their lives. Written in their handwriting, aspects of the subjects’ biographies are hidden in their facial lines and wrinkles. In “Reconstructed Reliquaries,” hand-written childhood memories are interwoven to produce actual objects with the aid of 3D printing. “NEW/NOW: Stephanie Lempert” will survey these bodies of work, as well as debut a video project and three new “Language of Space” photographs.


Based in Brooklyn, New York, Lempert is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has been exhibited at SocratesSculpturePark, The Armory Show, Art Basel Miami, the Moscow World Fine Art Fair, the 2006 New York Video Festival, and many other venues in the U.S. and abroad.

The NEW/NOW series is made possible by the generous support of Marzena and Greg Silpe.

The closing reception of Lisa Hoke’s “The Gravity of Color”

Saturday, Jan. 11

1 p.m., Light fare in the StanleyWorksCenter

1:30 p.m., Remarks and cup signing by Lisa Hoke

2 to 3 p.m., Art activity in the StanleyWorksCenter

The event is free with Museum admission; donation of $1 per cup is suggested.


Opening Reception: “NEW/NOW: Stephanie Lempert”

Sunday, Jan. 12

2 to 3:30 p.m., Artist remarks at 2:30 p.m.