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MOCA Jacksonville’s ‘Project Atrium’ receives NEA support

June 20, 2017 // by Denise M. Reagan

The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, a cultural institute of the University of North Florida, has received an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in support of its Project Atrium series.

This NEA grant supports the eighth season of Project Atrium, which originally received multiyear support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Project Atrium Lauren Fensterstock Gallery View 885
© Lauren Fensterstock, Holophusicon, 2017. Shells, plexiglass, sand, wood. Site-specific installation at MOCA Jacksonville. Image courtesy of Doug Eng.

“This crucial support from the NEA allows MOCA to continue providing innovative, site-specific work that bring artists from around the world to Jacksonville,” said MOCA Director Caitlín Doherty. “Project Atrium provides multiple opportunities for visitors to interact with artists, which is integral to MOCA's mission.”

NEA Chairman Jane Chu approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects across the country in its second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $30,000 to MOCA Jacksonville for its bold Project Atrium series. Inaugurated in 2011, Project Atrium features site-specific and site-sensitive installations by emerging and mid-career artists. The eighth season is one of the most diverse yet, both in content and artists' backgrounds, featuring Gabriel Dawe, Juan Fontanive, and Anila Quayyum Agha.

“The arts reflect the vision, energy, and talent of America's artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations such as MOCA Jacksonville, in serving their communities by providing excellent and accessible arts experiences.”

The NEA received 1,728 Art Works applications and will make 1,029 grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

The unique placement, dimensions and scale of the Atrium Gallery provide a compelling challenge to the chosen artists-a call to reinvention and active collaboration with the architecture of the Museum on a monumental scale. Artists install their artworks in view of the public, revealing what is usually a behind-the-scenes process to visitors who may watch the entire project unfold over a few weeks. Each exhibition introduces contemporary artists from around the globe to the greater Jacksonville region and fosters the growth of artists and audiences through a series of compelling exchanges.

“Not only is this a significant milestone for the series, but it's a momentous occasion for each artist because it further establishes and validates their trajectories within contemporary art dialogues,” said Curator Jaime DeSimone.

Gabriel Dawe Plexus No. 35 2016 full
© Gabriel Dawe, Plexus No. 35, 2016. Multicolored thread. Site-specific installation at the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH. Photo by Andrew Weber. 

Project Atrium: Gabriel Dawe

July 15 - October 29, 2017

Organized with meticulous precision, Gabriel Dawe's architecturally scaled weavings result in three-dimensional patterns often mistaken for fleeting rays of light or prisms. Consisting of thousands of miles of multicolored thread, the material and vivid colors in his ongoing Plexus series recall the embroideries employed in his home country, Mexico, during the artist's upbringing. Plexus No. 38  alters our understanding of sewing thread-the core component of clothing-that no longer shelters the human body but instead fashions a non-physical, sensory structure.

Juan Fontanive Timelines A detail 885 full
© Juan Fontanive, Timelines A (detail), 2014. Oil and acrylic on carbon fiber, stainless steel, roller bearings, brass, gear mechanism, and motor. 12 ft. x 9 ft. x 3 ¾ inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

Project Atrium: Juan Fontanive

November 18, 2017 - February 18, 2018

Inspired by white noise and moving objects, Brooklyn-based Juan Fontanive creates a multilevel kinetic sculpture of thin metal rods and linkages, pulleys, and drives. Its shape and structure simultaneously relies on gravity and a mechanical pulley system to power the work. The pulley system generates a choreography of painted shapes that creates a type of moving image, resulting from randomness that changes naturally over time. As with all of Fontanive's kinetic work, we're invited to look and listen.

Anila Quayyum Agha All the Flowers Are for Me Red 885 full
© Anila Quayyum Agha, All the Flowers are for Me- Red, 2016. Lacquered steel and halogen bulb, 60 x 60 x 60 inches. Photo credit: Aicon Gallery.

Project Atrium: Anila Quayyum Agha

March 10 - June 24, 2018

Pakistani-American artist Anila Quayyum Agha uses light and cast shadow to transform the Atrium Gallery into a place that alludes to Islamic sacred spaces dense with geometric ornamentation and pattern. Inspired by traditional Islamic architectural motifs, Agha's laser-cut steel lantern conjures the designs of historic sites and mosques and creates a space of peace and tranquility.

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