Cally Spooner: On False Tears and Outsourcing


The New Museum presents a new installation by Cally Spooner (b. 1983, Ascot, UK), which is her first solo and institutional presentation in the United States.

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Cally Spooner, On False Tears and Outsourcing – dancers responsible for delivering self-organized efforts to resolve difficult and time-consuming issues “go the distance” across multiple overlapping phases using appropriated competitive strategies and appropriated intimate gestures, 2015. Installation view: Vleeshal Markt, Middelburg, the Netherlands. Courtesy Vleeshal Markt, Middelburg, the Netherlands. Photo: Anda van Riet

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For her first solo and institutional presentation in the United States, Cally Spooner (b. 1983, Ascot, UK) has produced a new installation for the New Museum’s Lobby Gallery. “On False Tears and Outsourcing” comprises a series of architectural additions to the gallery space and the presence of a group of dancers who respond to conflicting choreographic instructions: to stay intimately bound together while remaining fiercely separate. Trained by rugby players and a movie director, and following the logic of a “stand-up scrum”—a daily meeting often used in collaborative, responsive practices such as software development—the dancers have learned a set of techniques taken from contact sports, management strategies, and on-screen romance. Through attempts to seduce, defend, and self-organize, the group has devised a sequence of movements in response to simple tasks set by Spooner. The long glass wall that separates the Lobby Gallery from the New Museum Lobby is a central feature of the installation. Using the gallery’s condition of high visibility, Spooner considers the characteristics of corporate and museum architectures by amplifying and exaggerating certain qualities in the space through the use of soft acoustic panels, daylight bulbs, and background noise. Through this intersection of bodies and architectures of management, Spooner examines how power presents itself when it comes into contact with the human body.

On False Tears and Outsourcing” is part of Spooner’s long-term project of the same name, which was initiated at Vleeshal Markt, Middelburg, the Netherlands, in 2015. Considering the production of affect, the contradictions faced by hired bodies, and the dynamics of using or being used as a human resource, the project stages situations in which a heightened demand for communication drives the outsourcing of personal investment to readymade gestures and protocols.

Cally Spooner was born in Ascot, UK, in 1983 and lives and works in London. Her recent solo exhibitions include “And You Were Wonderful, On Stage” at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2016); “On False Tears and Outsourcing” at Vleeshal Markt, Middelburg, the Netherlands (2015); and “The Anti-Climax Climax” at Bielefelder Kunstverein, Bielefeld, Germany (2015). Her recent live productions have been presented at Tate Modern, London (2014); Tate Britain, London (2014); the High Line, New York (2014); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2013); and Performa 13, New York (2013). Spooner’s work has been included in group exhibitions at the Aspen Art Museum (2015); REDCAT, Los Angeles (2015); Frieze Projects, London (2015); Kunstverein München (2014); Frieze Projects, New York (2014); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2013); Jeu de Paume, Paris (2013); and the Serpentine Gallery, London (2012). She is a 2013 recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award and the author of the novel Collapsing in Parts, published by Mousse in 2013.

The choreography of Spooner’s work for the New Museum was devised with and is performed by Holly Curran, Maja Ho, Emily McDaniel, Ashton Muniz, José Rivera, Jr., Maggie Segale, and Jennifer Tchiakpe.

The exhibition is curated by Helga Christoffersen, Assistant Curator.

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“Cally Spooner: On False Tears and Outsourcing” is presented by The New Women’s Project and Founding Partner D K N Y.

The exhibition is produced in collaboration with Kvadrat and Lafayette Anticipation – Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette, Paris.

Additional support is provided by Nathalie and Jean-Daniel Cohen, the O’Grady Foundation, Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte, and the Toby Devan Lewis Emerging Artists Exhibition Fund.

Generous funding is provided by the International Leadership Council of the New Museum.

The Artemis Council of the New Museum is gratefully acknowledged.

Special thanks to the Producers Council of the New Museum.

Thanks to Artpace, San Antonio.

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