International exhibitions

Archives 2nd of 2013


Ellen Harvey
The Corcorana Gallery of Art, Washington (USA)

03.07 - 06.10.2013


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© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2013. All Rights Reserved

Press release


This summer, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design will present Ellen Harvey: The Alien's Guide to the Ruins of Washington, D.C.. The new, site-specific project is the latest in the NOW at the Corcoran series.

Harvey's exhibition is a glimpse into the world of the distant future. Human civilization having long since come to an end, the Earth is populated only by ruins, ripe for archeological interpretation by visitors from another planet. Most striking to these extraterrestrials are the remains of classical and neo-classical buildings that seem to have taken root in every corner of the globe. Attempting to make sense of what they find, Harvey's aliens mine the potential of one of the greatest neo-classical cities—Washington, D.C.—as a tourist destination.








Exhibition July 3 - October 6, 2013. The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Corcoran College of Art + Design, 500 Seventeenth Street NW Washington, DC 20006 (USA). Opening hours : Wednesday 10 am-9pm, Thursday - Sunday 10 am-5 pm.

Ellen Harvey, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington

As Harvey explains: " Neoclassical architecture is far and away the most successful and widely adopted architectural style. For over 2,000 years, civilization after civilization has succumbed to its infectious charms. Why would extraterrestrials be immune? "


The rest of the exhibition documents the aliens' efforts to make sense of the remains of the civilization around them. The Pillar-Builder Archive is a vast trove of postcards that documents humanity's love affair with the style, following its roots as a symbol of democracy in ancient Greece to its subsequent use in the service of empire builders, fascists, Stalinists, museums, banks, and post offices. Seduced by the architecture's power themselves, the aliens have erected a neo-classical rocket ship, "the latest in Pillar-Builder Space Travel," on view in the Corcoran's Rotunda.

The Alien's Guide to the Ruins of Washington, D.C. is an investigation into the abiding influence of classicism, the dissemination of style, and the language of power. Humorous, unexpected, and eye-opening, it sheds light on a world at once familiar and strange.

Visitors—alien and otherwise—have the opportunity to visit the exhibition for free on Saturdays between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend as part of the Corcoran's Free Summer Saturdays promotion. For information about the exhibition, visit the
website.



The Alien's Guide to the Ruins of Washington, D.C. is the result. In this tour of America's capital through alien eyes, the visitors imagine the city to have been populated by peaceable, telepathic, and water-dwelling humans (referred to as "Pillar Builders"). The exhibition's centerpiece is a self-guided map of Washington's landmarks. Available for pick-up at the Corcoran's Alien Souvenir Stand and locations throughout the city, The Alien's Guide contains reconstructions and interpretations of such sites as the White House, the World War II Memorial, and the U.S. Capitol.








Ellen Harvey, Alien Souvenir Stand, 2013. Oil on aluminum, watercolor and latex paint on clayboard, wood, aluminum sheeting, propane tanks, and velcro, 10 x 17 x 5 feet. Photo: Etienne Frossard.



Ellen Harvey, Alien Souvenir Stand, 2013. Oil on aluminum, watercolor and latex paint on clayboard, wood, aluminum sheeting, propane tanks, and velcro, 10 x 17 x 5 feet. Photo: Etienne Frossard.