Editor’s Note: Josue Avendano and Rebecca Celenza, participants in ArtsConnection’s Summer Teen Reviewers and Critics Program, reflect on their private tour of the JPMorgan Chase Art Collection and special exhibition.
When stepping into J.P. Morgan Chase at 270 Park Avenue, a change of culture is seen in and outside of the story-high building. Everyone is wearing suits and ties and that sets the culture outside of this exhibition. The J.P. Morgan Chase private art collection, one of the largest in the nation, features more than thirty-thousand artworks, many of them from very prolific and well-known artists. The goal for J.P. Morgan Chase is to support artists while they are living in hopes that they will continue to make art. The lifeless conference rooms, surrounded by the art, allowed the art to stand out amidst the very professional environment.
Since June is the month when LGBT Pride is celebrated, the exhibition on view at Chase was named Pride and only presented works of artists within the LGBT community. Right before entering the space, you are greeted with four artworks by Andy Warhol, a pop artist. The four artworks were portraits of famous public figures, like Mickey Mouse, the Wicked Witch of the West and himself. They were created using diamond dust on lithograph. The presentation of the artworks made them sparkle and were eye-catching. The placement of the four works by Andy Warhol made the space feel welcoming and playful. Other artist in the exhibit include Joey Kirkpatrick, Dorothee Smith, Paul Mpagi Sepuga, Sam Francis, Ross Bleckner and many others.
The exhibit gave the viewer a glimpse at the struggles of the LGBT community and the individual. Themes of access to healthcare, isolation, and inferiority within society were covered through works such as Air by Martin Wong and NYC by David Wojnarowicz. NYC by David Wojnarowicz is a work of a map of the United States with two maps in the shape of the men falling superimposed. The superimposed maps are maps of Africa. This serves as a commentary on the affects of HIV/AIDS African American gay male on in the United States.
Overall, the exhibit does a great job at exploring the disconcerting issues that the LGBT community faces in society. The works that were on view made sense to the theme as a whole and had a lasting impact on the viewer. Although, the exhibit is no longer on view, I feel sure that the upcoming exhibits will be as great!
At JPMorgan Chase, we saw their private gallery which only their employees and a selected number of other people are able to see. I focused mainly on the exhibition about LGBTQ+ Pride. Even though Pride month was Jun, the gallery chose to continue that exhibition into July due to the events that happened in Orlando. I saw many wonderful pieces about the subject around the exhibition. One is a photograph of two people (which the writing next to the photo said had two “stereotypical” girl names) who are standing on opposites sides of the photo they have their arms outstretched touching close to each others hearts. One noticeable part of this artwork is that inside the main frame there is another frame right in the middle of the display meaning the artists chose to put two photos together instead of making just one. This makes the entire piece slightly crooked in the middle as the arms don’t stretch in the same direction all the way through. Which I find interesting, this could mean the artist was trying to communicate that there was not a full connection between these two. Another notable part is that one of the people is wearing ‘stereotypical’ male clothing and the other is wearing ‘stereotypical’ female clothing. I think this is suppose to suggest that just because they were born a certain sex, they can feel different and want to dress according to how they how they love not what society thinks they should.