43-35 10th St.
March 12 – April 9, 2016
Galleries One and Two

Exhibition Text


ANDREW RAFACZ is pleased to announce 43-35 10th St., a solo exhibition of new photographs and sculpture by Daniel Shea in Gallery One and an auxiliary exhibition curated by the artist in Gallery Two.

Chicago, IL, March 12, 2016- ANDREW RAFACZ presents 43-35 10th St., a solo exhibition of new work by Daniel Shea. The exhibition continues through Saturday, April 9, 2016.

With his newest body of work, Daniel Shea establishes a matrix of economic and social activity that references the rapid gentrification in New York City, Brasilia’s modernist architecture, and a small town dying in the desert sun in California.

The artist’s main sequence of photographs in his exhibition uses condo construction sites both as a formal photographic subject and a fictitious stage for male construction employees cruising for sex. These images, photographed in Long Island City where the artist lives, connect his personal narrative and home to the larger narrative of rapid economic development familiar to New York’s residents. New York City has recently mandated that all new construction sites have viewing panels, 12 by 12 inch cutouts at eye level often in the shape of diamonds, for anyone, and especially city inspectors, to have visual access to the progress of new construction. This requirement has come at a time of unprecedented gentrification and residential development in the city. This simple shape, a recurring motif in Shea’s exhibition, doubles as a glory hole when its placement height is inverted. For Shea, this strategy creates a dual play of identity for these holes; they can be recognized as both portals for observation and physical frames for explicit sexual activity and the gaze that accompanies it.

Another new series of photographs woven into the exhibition is comprised of images of Brasilia’s modern architecture. As Brazil’s capital, Brasilia is a modernist city built ex nihilo beginning in 1956. Sixty years after, the city can be read as a living museum for modernism’s ideological agenda and model of future urban planning. The architects imagined a Brazilian future no longer stratified along class lines, but unified in civic engagement. The facades of the city’s buildings are juxtaposed with the incipient skeletal structure of condos being newly erected in Long Island City. Their half-finished concrete forms eerily echo the finished-but ultimately failed-modernist designs of Brasilia. In contrast, the artist presents a third series of new photographs sourced from Searless Valley, California, a cluster of small desert towns with slowly dying industries. These images, along with those documenting Brasilia’s architecture, are traditionally framed with glass, but Shea has printed another layer of imagery onto their glazing. These images, sourced from the signage of the New York condo construction sites, reference architectural line drawings and lifestyle branding meant to directly appeal to potential new homeowners. These photographic works are augmented by two installation-specific sculptures that further activate the work on the walls.

By threading these diverse subjects together, Shea explores our contemporary relationship to work and labor. Using the microenvironment of his own studio as an initial context, Shea constructs a rich analogy between his own personal artistic concerns and the macro flow of capital that is ever present in our globalized world.

Extending his installation in Gallery One, which includes among his own work a self-portrait by Molly Matalon and an appropriated image from Wolfgang Tillmans, Shea has selected works by other artists for Gallery Two that explore his influences, relationships, and commonalities with his peers and influencers. Benjamin Horns’ recent paintings explore the language and images in advertisements for ‘artist’s lofts’ found on Craigslist. Elle Perez’s photograph of underground wrestlers in the Bronx expresses a tension between the performance of the subject and the act of photographing. LaToya Ruby Frazier’s self-portrait with her family depicts a deeply personal interior space within a broader economic narrative of deindustrialization and disuse. Finally, a photograph from John Divola’s iconic Zuma series depicts the artist’s graphic nihilism scrawled on the interior walls of a deserted Malibu beach home. All of these artists share a concern for documenting the personal narrative against the overwhelming backdrop of macroeconomic, social and political shifts.

DANIEL SHEA (American, b. 1985) lives and works in New York, New York. He received his MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has published two photo books, Blisner, Ill. and Blisner, IL, in 2012 and 2014 respectively, and an untitled book of photograph with Jason Nocito, in 2015. He had a recent solo exhibition, Blisner, at Webber Gallery Space, London. Recent group exhibitions include Making an Entrance, Robert Blumenthal Gallery, New York, NY; Phantoms in the Dirt, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL; and Neueroffnung, Vava Gallery, Milan, Italy. He had a residency at Light Work in Syracuse, NY in 2014 and has exhibited at The DePaul Art Museum, The Museo de Arte Acarigua-Araure, Venezuela, MDW Art Fair, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Asia Society in Beijing, and Gallery 400, among others. His work has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, Fantastic Man, M Le Monde, Sculpture Magazine, and The Fader. He is included in the recent Photography is Magic, published by Aperture (2015). This is his second solo exhibition with the gallery.