“Cady Noland really should be hired by the government. Imagine what she could do to Mount Rushmore or the Washington Monument.” - Karl Haendel
Mitchell-Innes & Nash is pleased to present USA First-Class Forever, a suite of six new drawings by Karl Haendel. The artist conceived USA First-Class Forever in response to President Trump’s attacks on voting by mail and his administration’s attempts to disrupt the Post Office’s daily operations. Following the tradition of USPS limited edition stamps honoring American artists such as Ellsworth Kelly in 2019 to Ruth Asawa earlier this year, Haendel drew a set of six designs for USPS stamps featuring Cady Noland’s minimalist sculptures of aggressive Americana and trash.
Haendel’s practice revolves around the appropriation of visual signifiers and their recontextualization through drawing. With USA First-Class Forever, the artist presents Noland’s sculptures as a signifier for our current socio-political moment, while simultaneously asking the viewer to question who controls the narrative of national identity. Though Noland’s sculptures were produced primarily from 1985 to 2000, the themes she addresses, ranging from political violence, toxic masculinity, nationalism, abjection and a general sense of debasement, look remarkably prescient in 2020.
USA First-Class Forever will be on view beginning October 3rd, 2020, exactly one month in advance of the 2020 presidential election. 50% of the proceeds from this exhibition will be donated equally between Fair Fight and Common Cause. Fair Fight is a progressive organization started by Stacey Abrams last year to encourage voting, advocate for election reform and combat voter suppression. Common Cause is a Washington D.C.-based progressive organization that aims to “restore the core values of American democracy,” fighting to combat problems such as political corruption and the control of politics by big money.
Karl Haendel (born 1976 in New York, NY) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.
Karl Haendel engages the long process of language building. His exacting drawings are the idioms that he deploys to assemble his syntactical, room-filling installations and architectural display conceits. For Haendel, the act of drawing symbolically aligns him with labor, while also invoking a basic human impulse to leave a mark and offering a physical system to reconsider accepted imagery. Haendel’s drawings, often uncanny renderings, pointedly remove images and texts from their original contexts and reconfigure them through graphite, scale and juxtaposition into a new form of visual language. He challenges viewers to move slowly and with greater awareness through the world of images and signs in order to reveal how these signs make meaning and shape our conceptions.
Karl Haendel received his BFA from Brown University in 1998 before attending the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He received his MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2003. Haendel was included in the 2015 Biennial of the Americas, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver; the 2014 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the 12th Biennale de Lyon in 2013; and Prospect II, New Orleans in 2011. Recent solo and two-person presentations include Mazel Tov Group at the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA; Karl Haendel and Tony Lewis, LAXART, Los Angeles, CA; and Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality, Museo del Arte de El Salvador. His works are in the public collections of Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada; Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway; Collection Lambert, Avignon, France; Deutsche Bank Collection, Frankfurt, Germany; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Boston, MA; Germany; Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany; La Colección Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Perez Art Museum, Miami, FL; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.
All images © Karl Haendel.