“Lower Manhattan in 1976 was a beautiful ruin. The crumbling wasteland proved fertile ground for artists though, nurturing the talent of a generation inspired by its vast emptiness.” James Nares
Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to present 1976: Movies, Photographs and Related Works on Paper, a new exhibition by James Nares. Before he was painting large, single movement brush strokes, Nares’s kinetic investigations took other forms and directions. His preoccupation with movement and bodies in motion was well provided for in what amounted to an enormous, open air, common studio. The post-industrial landscape became the backdrop, subject and the medium during his prolific early career.
The exhibition will feature five films including his 1976 Pendulum, which clocks a large spherical mass as it swings on a wire, strung up high from the footbridge, since dismantled, crossing Staple Street in downtown Manhattan. The exhibition will also feature a series of black and white chronophotographs that reveal the temporal structure of a pendulum’s swing, invisible to the naked eye, along with drawings, diagrams, objects, photos and other related material.
Of Nares’s films, Amy Taubin writes, “Pendulum, like several other of Nares's mid-'70s movies—Hand Notes #2 (1975) and Ramp, Steel Rod, and Poles (all 1976)—was influenced by the films Richard Serra made in the late '60s, primarily Hand Catching Lead (1968). Both films depict a single, repeated action involving the effect of gravity on a heavy metal object. But the comparison stops there. Pendulum has a haunted lyricism, which has nothing to do with Serra's interests. The film evokes an anxiety dream: The entropic movement of the groaning pendulum, the claustrophobic effect of the industrial buildings lining the site on three sides, the slivers of sunlight penetrating the dust-laden air, even the occasionally glimpsed shadow of the filmmaker, suggest that something terrible has taken or is about to take place on this desolate street.”