N I C H O L A S M I L E S K A H N &
R I C H A R D S E L E S N I C K
PERSONAL INFORMATION AND AWARDS
Selesnick: born London, England, 1964. Kahn: born New York City, 1964.
BFAs from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. 1986
1987 New Jersey State Council for the Arts Grant.
1994 Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship, Provincetown, Ma.
1995 Provincetown Arts Council Grant
2000 Artists in Residence, Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Ma.
2001 Djerassi Foundation Residency, Woodside, Ca.
2002 Artists in Residence, Princeton Atelier, Princeton University, NJ
2005 Kahn/Selesnick, The Apollo Prophecies, New Archival Digital Prints
October 28-December 31, 2005
2002 Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York. “Scotlandfuturebog” Sept-Oct
Paul Kopeikan Gallery, Los Angeles. “City of Salt” Sept-Oct
Carl Hammer Gallery, Chicago. “City of Salt” Oct-Nov
DNA Gallery, Provincetown, Ma. “The Apollo Prophecies” Aug-Sept
Pepper Gallery, Boston, Ma. “City of Salt” March-April
Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona. “City of Salt” Jan-Feb
2001 DNA Gallery, Provincetown, Ma. “City of Salt” July-August
Carrie Haddad Gallery, Hudson, NY. “Scotlandfuturebog” Jan-Feb.
2000 Palo Alto Arts Center, Palo Alto, Ca. “The REC, Past-Future” Sept-Dec.
DNA Gallery, Provincetown, Ma. “Schottensumpfkunftig” July.
Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona. “Past and Future” March-April
David Beitzel Gallery, New York. “Transmissions from the Schottensumpfkumpftig (Scotlandfuturebog)” February-March
1999 Pepper Gallery, Boston, Ma. “Schottensumpfkunftig” Dec. - Jan. 2000
Paul Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles. “The Circular River: the Siberian expeditions of 1944-46” Oct. - Nov.
Monique Knowlton, New York. “The Circular River” October - January
1998 Eli Marsh Gallery, Amherst College, Amherst, Ma. “The Circular River” Oct.
Bachelier Cardonsky Gallery, Kent, Ct. Sept-Oct.
Carrie Haddad Gallery, Hudson, NY. June-July
Pepper Gallery, Boston, Ma. “The Circular River” April-June
1997 Monique Knowlton, New York. “The Pavilion of the Greenman” Oct-Nov.
East End Gallery, Provincetown, Ma. “The Burren expedition” August.
Monique Knowlton, New York. “The Journals of Peter Hesselbach” March-April
Gallery Camino Real, Boca Raton, Fl. “Tent of the Mesmer” March-May
Pepper Gallery, “The Photographic Journals of Peter Hesselbach” Dec-Jan
1996 Bachelier Cardonsky Gallery, Kent, Ct. “Tent of the Mesmer” Sept-Oct.
East End Gallery, “The Golden Age of Devonshire Semaphore: Royal excavation Corps Signal Flag Manouevres 1934-36” September.
Monique Knowlton, “The Roodloft of the Drunken Beekeeper” April-May.
1995 East End Gallery, “Zelt der Biscuit Mench” July.
Hudson Walker Gallery, Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, Ma. “Chapel dedicated to the Human Head”, an installation of a work in progress. March.
Gallery Camino Real, “Collabrative Paintings” Dec-Jan 1994-95.
1994 Bachelier Cardonsky Gallery, “The Eskimo Paintings” Sept-Oct.
East End Gallery, “The Biscuit Triptychs” July.
1993 Forum Gallery, New York. “Bog Pastries and Bread Heads from the Archives
of the Royal excavation Corps” September.
East End Gallery, “Painted Heads” July.
Diana Burke, New York. “The Delusional Object: Banners and Artefacts from the Royal excavation Corps” March-April.
1992 East End Gallery, “Flagman Artefacts” August.
1991 East End Gallery, July.
Owen Patrick Gallery, Philadelphia. March-April.
Klein Art Gallery, Woodstock, NY.
1980s The Bergen County Museum of Arts and Sciences, Paramus, NJ. “A Pictish
Bedchamber of the 9th Century” August 1989.
Art Mecca, Chicago. “Pictavia Antiqua” March-May 1989.
The New End Gallery, London, England. August 1988.
The Royal Photographic Society, Bath, England. June-July 1988.
SELECTED GROUP exHIBITIONS
2001 Triple Candie, New York. “Rumors of War: A Contemporary exhibition Inspired by the Art of Jacob Lawrence” curated by Franklin Sirmans. Dec 01-Jan 02
Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY. “Digital: Printmaking Now” June-Sept.
Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis, Ma. “Small WorDigital inkjet print
10 x 10 inches
edition of 5 by Fellows of the Fine Arts Work Center 1985-2000” July-Sept
Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, DE. “Photo-Synthesis: Recent Developments in Contemporary Photography” April-July
Carl Hammer Gallery, Chicago, IL. “Of Dreams and Dreamers: Art as a Vehicle of Escape.” Sept-Oct
Gallery Camino Real, Boca Raton, Fl. “Photo-Synthesis: Recent Developments in Contemporary Photography” Jan-Feb
David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University, Providence, R.I. “False Witness: Joan Fontcuberta Sputnik and Kahn/Selesnick Scotlandfuturebog, with a lecture by David Wilson, director of the Museum of Jurassic Technology” Jan-March
2000 The Art Museum, Florida International University, Miami. “American Art Today: Fantasies & Curiousities” Sept-Nov
1999 Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Ma. “Referencing the Past: Si x Contemporary Artists: Kahn/Selesnick, John O’Reilly, George Condo, David McGee, and Laurie Hogan” Sept-Jan 2000.
Camera WorDigital inkjet print
10 x 10 inches
edition of 5, San Francisco, Ca. “Rattling the Frame, 1974-1999” Oct-Nov.
Photographic Resource Center, Boston University. “Dramatis Personae: A look at role-playing and narrative in contemporary photography” Feb-March 1999.
1998 National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC “Faces of
Time: 75 years of Time Magazine Cover Portraits” March-August.
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Ma. “expanded Visions: the Panoramic Photograph” Jan-April.
The Brush Art Gallery, Lowell, Ma. “SELF-AMUSED: The Contemporary Artist as Observer and Observed” Feb-March.
1997 DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, Ma. “10 Artists/10 Visions”
Carrie Haddad Gallery, Hudson, NY. “Provincetown in Hudson” Jan-Feb.
1995 Koplin Gallery, Los Angeles. December.
Monique Knowlton, “Inaugural Group Show” Sept-Oct.
Drerup Gallery, Plymouth State College, Plymouth, NH. “1994-95 Visual Arts Fellows from the Fine Arts Work Center” Nov-Jan 1994-95.
1994 Boston Center for the Arts, Boston. “Fantasically Real” April-May.
Pepper Gallery, Boston. “Spirits Unveiled” Sept-Oct.
Robert Brown Gallery, Washington DC. “Giacometti and Others” Dec-Jan 1994
1993 Tribeca Gallery, New York. “Bergen Museum in New York” December.
1992 Ma x well Davidson Gallery, New York. “Sculpture: Colour and Motion” Oct.
Spazi Fine Arts, Housatonic, Ma. October.
1991 Commune de Sirmione, Lake Garda, Italy. Outdoor Installation. August.
Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, Ma. “Four Young Artists Here and New” May-June.
The Designer’s Guild, London, England.
Susan Cummins Gallery, Mill Valley, Ca. “The History of the Bird” Dec-Jan.
1980s The Bergen County Museum of Arts and Sciences, Paramus, NJ.
“The Si x ” - a show of Bergen County’s top si x fellowship winners, curated by Barbara Haskell, chief curator of the Whitney Museum of Art. 1988.
Detail, New York. 1987-89.
Civilization, New York. 1985-87.
The Red Studio, New York. “Time” December 1984.
Colour reproductions, Photography Past Forward: Aperture at 50 book, with an introduction by R. H. Cravens. Back cover, page 172. Aperture Press, 2002.
Scotlandfuturebog a monograph, with an introduction by Ben Marcus. Aperture Press, 2002
Reproductions and text Provincetown Arts Magazine 2002 issue.
Cate McQuaid, “Self Portraits of the Artist as a Man facing Mortality” The Boston Globe April 19, 2002
Miles Unger, “Head Games” Boston Magazine April 2002
Rich McKown, “Small worDigital inkjet print
10 x 10 inches
edition of 5 from the Fine Arts Work Center at the Cape Museum of Fine Arts” Art New England Dec 2001
Cate McQuaid, “Putting Provincetown in a poignant new light” The Boston Globe Aug. 4, 2001
William Jaeger, “Reassembled Visions” Albany Times Union pg. 12, the Arts and Entertainment section, Jan. 28, 2001
Linda L. Fenoff, “Photographer’s Lenses not bogged down by reality” The Independent pg. 24, Jan. 26, 2001
Bill Van Siclen, “At the Bell Gallery, reality keeps slipping away” The Providence Journal pg. 28, Feb 15-19, 2001
Photographs, “Lost Horizons: an Imaginary Photograph Assignment by Collaborative Artists Kahn and Selesnick for the Men’s Fashion of the Times ” The New York Times Magazine pgs. 106-116, Sept. 24, 2000
Colour reproductions, “Readings” Harper’s Magazine pg. 38, April 2000
Richard Nilsen, “A Visionary Beauty” The Arizona Republic March 23, 2000
Roberta Smith, “Kahn/Selesnick at Beitzel Gallery” The New York Times March 10, 2000
Miles Unger, “Tales of Intrigue for a Museum of Unnatural History” The New York Times Arts and Leisure pgs. 35 and 38, Feb. 6, 2000
Eileen Kennedy, “Art in Review: Kahn/Selesnick” Arts Media pg. 11, Jan 2000
Kate McQuaid, “Funny Phantasm, Emotional Edges, & Realms of Beauty” The Boston Globe Dec. 30, 1999
Leah Ollman, “A Provocative Trek into Pseudo-History” Los Angeles Times pg. F28, Nov. 12,1999
Daniel Pinchbeck, “Boy’s own adventure through Siberia” The Art Newspaper pg. 72, November 1998.
Vince Aletti, “Choices: Art” Village Voice pg. 72. December 1, 1998.
Ken Johnson, “Kahn and Selesnick at Monique Knowlton” The New York Times pg. 32 November 27, 1998.
Christa Worthington, “Mining the Relics of Journeys Past” New York Times pg. 45. November 22, 1998.
Fredrick S. Voss, Faces of Time: 75 years of Time Magazine cover Portraits pgs. 126-27 and cover. Little Brown 1998
Matt Unger, “Kahn and Selesnick at Pepper” Art News pg. 163. July 1998
Grace Consoli, “Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick: Panoramic Photographs from the Siberian expeditions of 1944-46” Arts Media pgs. 18-19. May 1998.
Kate McQuaid, “Duo Makes Art by Faking History” The Boston Globe pgs. C1, C4. May 9, 1998
Lucy R. Lippard, “Moments of Grace: Spirit in the American Landscape” Aperture pgs. 61, 66-67. Winter 1998
Grady Turner, “Kahn / Selesnick at Monique Knowlton” Art in America pg. 130. November 1997
Kate McQuaid, “Kahn and Selesnick at the East End Gallery” The Boston Globe August 14, 1997.
Aletti, “Choices: Art” Village Voice pg. 12. April 15, 1997.
Joanne Silver, “Visions exhibit draws a perfect 10” The Boston Herald pgs. 14-15 June 20, 1997.
Selesnick and Kahn, “Stranger in a Strange Land: a collaborative work by Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick” Arts Media pgs. 9-11. November 1996.
Souren Melikian, “In Another Orbit” International Herald Tribune pg. 6 Oct 5, 1996
Colour reproductions Harper’s Magazine June 1996.
Roberta Smith, “Kahn and Selesnick at Monique Knowlton” The New York Times pg. 55 May 17, 1996.
Front cover Ploughshares Winter 1995-96.
Vivian Raynor, “In Kent, Differing Images and BooDigital inkjet print
10 x 10 inches
edition of 5 as Endangered Species” The New York Times pg. 20 May 14, 1995.
Front cover and inner gatefold Time Magazine (Man of the Year Issue, Pope John Paul II) pgs. 48-50 Dec. 26, 1994.
Nancy Stapen, “The Bold Meets the Soulful on Newbury St.” The Boston Globe pg. 57 Sept. 29, 1994
Ann Wilson-Lloyd, “Selesnick and Kahn Collaborate a Clever Conceit” Cape Cod Arts & Antiques Pgs. 18-21. August 1994
K.C. Myers, “Trust: the Collaboration of Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick” Provincetown Arts pgs. 91-93. Summer 1993
Robert Taylor, “Outer Cape Art: Fresh Daily Catch” The Boston Globe pg. 27 July 24, 1993
Raymond Rigoglioso, “A Profile of Two Artists: Bog Pastries and Painted Heads from the Royal excavation Corps” Provincetown Magazine pg. 16-17. July 15, 1993
Ann Wilson-Lloyd, “Gorillas in the Dunes: a Field Report from Provincetown” Provincetown Arts pg. 42. Summer 1992
Ann Wilson-Lloyd, “Young Artists, Here & New” pg. 57. May 1991
Boston Public Library
Brooklyn Museum of Art
Houston Museum of Fine Arts
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Ma.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Fogg Museum of Art, Boston
National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC
Bergen County Museum of Arts and Sciences, Paramus NJ
Miller, Anderson, and Sherrard Corporate HQ, Philadelphia
International Finance Corporation
Wellington Management Corporation
World Bank Corporation
Estee Lauder Corporation
The Prudential Corporation
Dow Jones Corporation
LaSalle Mortage Corporation
Truppe Fledermaus & The Carnival At The End Of The World
Exhibition Dates: October 31 – December 31, 2015
Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick are back at Carl Hammer Gallery with their usual seemingly limitless bag of tricks. As photographers, storytellers and sculptors, they build substantive, sprawling narratives spiced with magic and oddity. Truppe Fledermaus is visual pictorial storytelling at its best, with a storyline which revolves around a troupe of traveling entertainers trying to cope with present-day environmental disasters set in an era which aesthetically recalls Germany at the end of the Weimar Republic and into the Third Reich. Through their use of dozens of staged photographs, posters, costume designs and imposing sculptures, Kahn and Selesnick paint a bleak scene through the efforts of this batty troupe’s engagement with the environment. .
Structured to be read as photographic diaries, the images created by this collaborative team transport us to intriguing places non-existent in each of our own lives except in our wildest fantasies. We become captive to the adventure, danger, and survival that secretly propel us through the hum-drum of daily regimentation. The photos are filled with a lyricism both playful and serious. Often intentionally over-written, whimsical, tongue-in-cheek, campy, and purposely self-conscious, Kahn and Selesnick’s characters make no concession to the absurdity of their out-of-sync encounters. The storytellers also make no concessions to straightforwardness, leaving the viewer feeling like the protagonists, led on forever, continually tantalized with small clues, and snatches from this or that linked together by the immensity of the preposterous situations in which the characters are photographically captured.
Kahn and Selesnick have recreated the world of the armchair adventurer, pushing their exploration into the deepest darkest regions of undiscovered civilizations ala Livingstone and Stanley. Somewhat overlooked because of the acuteness of their characters and story development, yet equal in the process which they employ, the works by Kahn and Selesnick leave us breathless through an old world kind of idealization of the landscape. The scenes and backdrops intrigue our eye using remoteness and the exotic as a point of escape, a withdrawing back to a nostalgic past, a distilling of the essences of times and places from distant or imagined memories.
In 1923 a huge iceberg drifted into the Baltic sea and ran aground off the German port of Lübeck. The strength of the polar easterlies that year caused a number of bergs to drift unusually far south on the Spitsbergen current. Sea ice was seen in Bergen and parts of northern Scotland. Some German scientists postulated that the heat from factory smoke may have caused abnormally high break up of the arctic ice pack. The burghers of Lübeck declared the iceberg to be a free trade area under the name “Eisbergfreistadt” (Iceberg Free State). It was hoped that the iceberg might become an offshore banking haven. Notgeld were issued as marks but tied to financial futures and currency arbitrage. Some municipalities such as Bremen and Lübeck attempted to tie their own notgeld to Eisbergfreistadt’s by overprinting and stamping their own banknotes, but this “Eisberggeld” fared no better than the mark during the height of hyperinflation.
Despite the failure of Eisbergfreistadt to take hold as a viable financial institution, it did nonetheless capture the public imagination of the time. Many people traveled to Lübeck to view the berg – it was even possible to travel to the iceberg by zeppelin. Many souvenirs were created, including playing cards, serving sets, songs, etc. It was painted by a number of prominent artists, but most significantly became a major source of fascination to the utopian movement known as the Crystal Chain.
Founded by the artist and architect Bruno Taut, the Crystal Chain was a correspondence formed between the leading proponents of expressionist architecture in Germany, including Walter Gropius and Wenzel Hablik. The group was fascinated with the architectural possibilities inherent in crystalline structures and glass. When the giant iceberg washed ashore, the group seized upon it, designing utopian cities made of ice and issuing manifestos on behalf of its imaginary socialist government in absentia. Ironically, many of the group’s drawings were used on notgeld, Hablik in particular contributing some fine designs.
To celebrate the founding of the Eisbergfreistadt bank, a large masked ball was held on the iceberg in the autumn of 1923. Many attendees came dressed as polar animals and explorers, although a contingent led by Wenzel Hablik arrived dressed as pigs and rats. Unfortunately, the combined weight of the revelers caused the berg to split into two pieces. One of these eventually collapsed and melted, causing considerable damage to Lübeck’s industrial zone; the other drifted back out into the Baltic, where it was swept back to the arctic by the Norwegian current. Those unfortunate enough to be stranded on the latter were the subject of numerous search and rescue missions. Hablik was among them, and was eventually rescued near the arctic circle.
In retrospect, the iceberg seems merely the precursor to the greater apocalypse to befall the town of Lübeck: in 1942 it became the first German city to be attacked by the Royal Air Force - the resulting firestorm almost completely obliterated the old town. After the war’s end, the historic district was rebuilt and declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. As such, the history of Lübeck seems particularly relevant to our contemporary an x ieties, and we ignore its lessons at our peril.
Notgeld first appeared during the World War 1 as a response to small change shortages. Due to the war effort’s ever growing need for metal, new coins could not be minted and the value of those coins that were left in circulation exceeded their denomination, causing institutions to hoard them.
This massive shortage forced local municipalities to produce large quantities of small denomination banknotes for local merchants and businesses. These “notgeld” (literally “emergency money”) were not legal tender, but rather a mutually accepted form of payment. In addition to paper, notgeld was also printed on silk, leather, linen, foil, porcelain, playing cards, and even coal.
Due to their bright colours and unusual designs, notgeld proved to be popular as collector’s items and so continued to be produced even after the war’s end – like stamps, they often traded at higher than face value and so proved a good business for the towns producing them.
In 1922, the value of the mark started to deteriorate due to inflation caused by Germany’s reparations to the victorious countries after the war’s end. The central bank was forced to constantly reissue banknotes in ever rising denominations – first hundreds, then thousands, then hundreds of thousands, and finally millions and even billions. With the central bank unable to physically issue enough money, notgeld were again produced in enormous quantities. Most were issued as marks, but some were tied to commodities or other currencies, such as the US dollar.
During the height of hyperinflation, notgeld became essentially worthless as money and so came to be used for other purposes, such as fuel, wallpaper, and fabric.