Thinking of things salty—summertime and salt spray in the air, or in one’s hair; or crusted skin from time spent at the beach; briny weather, and smelling salts (to rescue those prone to succumb to hazy humid heat.) The salt of the earth, discovered millennia ago as a necessity for human survival—to preserve food, before the days of refrigeration (or air conditioning) and air travel, to season food. To add flavor, zest; to sprinkle, like stardust; to toss, for good luck, over the left shoulder; taking things with a grain of salt, a well-placed pinch; to sit at the table either above or below the salt—in the old class system of hierarchies… To throw salt into wounds. To be worth ones salt; to be an old salt; to salt away and to live in a saltbox; to salt out, or to have a salty dog. And then salt licks and salt marshes and salt shakers. There are the ancient salt routes, carting the stuff—like an army of ants—out of the earth, or from salt flats, bringing the precious mineral to the human table. Coarse salt, sea salt, fleur de sel; stalwart soldiers being paid a salary, then eating a salad, then bathing in salts, or swimming in a salt sea, or lake, like a pickle. Sharp and pungent, salt and pepper—essential ingredients, or signs of age.
This leads us to somersaults, and salto mortales—those jumps, dives and flips. In Victorian England they were also called “somersets”—John Lennon sings in “Being for The Benefit of Mr. Kitel” that “Mr. H. will demonstrate ten somersets he’ll undertake, on solid ground”, borrowed from an 1843 poster for the Circus Royal. In 1919 Boris Sidis referred to “the frenzied, suggestible, gregarious, subconscious self, freed from all rational restraints, celebrated its delirious orgies, its corybantic bacchanalia, held its mad salto mortale over the grave of crucified humanity”, in his publication The Source and Aim of Human Progress. A reminder, perhaps, of deeper, maybe darker, human impulses towards risky and dangerous undertakings. Perhaps, under cover of a hot summer night.
Doing backflips, or getting salty, the artists in this show bring together a multitude of reflections on the act. A veritable bouillabaisse, a fishy stew, delectable and tasty.
And not to forget Jim Nutt’s version of “Summer Salt”, which, due to copyright concerns, we are reluctant to share right here…
Curated by Ingrid Dinter
July 6 - August 7, 2011
Joshua Abelow, Tisch Abelow, Kevin Baker, Erica Baum, Gene Beery, Brian Belott, Melissa Brown, Clayton Brothers, Colette, Lance De Los Reyes, Brett De Palma, James Benjamin Franklin, Jashin Friedrich, Gerald Giamportone, Tomoo Gokita, Daina Higgins, George Horner, Erin Krause, Elizabeth Lennard, Taylor McKimens, Julie Ryan, Tamuna Sirbiladze, Chrysanne Stathacos, Courtney Tramposh, Carrie Elston Tunick, John Zinsser