Artist portfolio for Michael Cataldi prepared for University of California San Diego, 2018

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The University of Trash, 2009

The University of Trash (2009) is a collaboration with British artist Nils Norman. The work was modeled after radical utopian architectural projects and pedagogical experiments from the late 1960s and late 1980s. Adventure playgrounds, historic urban spaces such as Tompkins Square Park, and vernacular architecture came together to form a series of interconnected pavilions and walkways within the exhibition space. Built from readymade, recycled, and found materials, the installation functioned as a temporary, makeshift free school. Throughout the three-month exhibition, The University of Trash hosted over fifty courses, lectures, presentations, and workshops, taught and attended by members of the public on a wide range of topics. An essential part of the work was the involvement of local students, community organizations, artists, activists, and academics, all of whom lead small classes or talks within the space of the exhibition. These topics included grass roots organizing, DIY architecture, the evolving aesthetics and politics of public space, screen-printing, boat building, and composting.

Exhibition History:

2009 The University of Trash, Sculpture Center, Long Island City, NY


1623 Cubic Feet, 2010

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1623 Cubic Feet, Room 405, 110 W. North Avenue (2010) is a site-specific installation interrogating gentrification and privatization within the emerging Station North Arts District of Baltimore. Focusing on the increasingly important role that air rights play in these contested struggles for space, the work takes as its departure an immaterial readymade: the cubic feet of air circumscribed by one room of the North Avenue Motel, a pivotal site in the city’s redevelopment campaign. 1,623 Cubic Feet mobilizes this unit of space in two separate locations. Onsite, the artist engages in a protracted legal effort to secure 1,623 cubic feet of air above the motel building and designate this volume of air as an easement, effectively removing it from the private domain and placing it in the public domain. Once secured, this volume of air will frustrate future battles over the property, forcing future development to accommodate the invisible sculpture as a void within its architecture.

 

The second manifestation of the work was located in the Contemporary Museum. The otherwise immaterial quality of 1,623 cubic feet of air was given schematic visual form by way of a contrast between black and white paint. Black paint, which is often used to block out parts of the exhibition room that the viewer should ignore, here marks negative space. The remaining white sections of the walls then serve as an analogue for the volume of the motel airspace. Lit to draw attention to the white sections of the walls, the installation marks the commissioning museum as a black site, so to speak, as an institution that excises itself from the struggles over property in this new arts district.

The third element is a reversible publication that was distributed at the two sites. The publication contains a text from an urban renewal plan, which describes the boundaries of the district by way of street directions. I redacted the document, eliminating specific street names and highlighting the bureaucratic language of demarcation and delineation. The centerfold shows a massing diagram that illustrates what the site would look like if development took place around the easement. The reverse side eliminates all of the text and reverses the negative and positive to create a purely abstract text box composition.  

Exhibition History:

2011 Agitated Histories, Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, MD (traveled to Site Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM)


Parallel Lines, 2010-2013

Parallel Lines was a collaborative project including artists and art historians David Kelley, Jeannine Tang, Michael Cataldi, Hans Kuzmich, and Jens Maier-Rothe, active from 2010-2013. Formed while we were participants in the Whitney Independent Study Program our group engaged critically with the politics of urban development in the West Village, Meatpacking District, Hudson River Piers, and the High Line Park where our namesake institution was building a new art museum. We created objects including a published timeline of the media coverage of the High Line Park development, published a photo-conceptual essay in Theory, Culture, and Society, interviewed residents in adjacent rent-controlled units, created performances based on community board meetings and produced several videos including Neither Forever Nor Instant in 2013.

Neither Forever Nor Instant is a two channel video made in collaboration with FIERCE, an organization led by queer youth of color, whose activism in New York’s West Village and the west side piers engages the queer histories of these spaces. The video draws from FIERCE's West Village Walking Tour, where members, allies, and donors are introduced to sites with historical and political significance for FIERCE's campaigns and community organizing. These include Stonewall Inn, Lucille Lortel Theatre, Northern Dispensary, and future sites of action such as Pier 40, a possible location for FIERCE's queer youth center. In 2010, Parallel Lines built a studio in "QEJ," Queers for Economic Justice's offices (a FIERCE-allied organization), to stage and shoot FIERCE's tour preparation. Each tour venue was filmed, and actions conducted along the stairwells and empty lobby of Pier 40, bracketing the material and geographical possibilities of political action, with spaces of rehearsal, transition, and projection.

Read the full text of Residues of a Dream World, The High Line, 2011

Exhibition History:

2010 Whitney Independent Study Program, Art In General, NY, NY

2013 Writing With the Other Hand is Imagining, Beirut Gallery, Cairo, Egypt

2015 Memories of Underdevelopment, Temporary Agency, Brooklyn, NY



Quiet Enjoyment, 2011

Quiet Enjoyment (2011) organized the lease of unbuilt air rights above Sculpture Center to me. Sculpture Center then loaned the volume of air and all documentation of this transaction to itself as a sculpture for an exhibition.

Exhibition History:

2011 Notice of Public Hearing, Sculpture Center, Long Island City, NY


Paper, 2013-ongoing

A bale of cotton purchased from a broker at the California Cotton Cooperative provides the raw material for the production of artisanal paper. Each day that I produce paper, I record the price of cotton on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Once dry, the paper is weighed and assigned a value determined by its weight, date of manufacture, and the market price of cotton on that date. This information is printed without ink on the face of the sheet using a letterpress and a custom type set that was designed for the stock listings of the Wall Street Journal. A legal clause printed at the bottom of each sheet states, “The bearer of this piece of paper agrees to sell it at the weight adjusted price of cotton on the date of sale.”


Marcel, 2015

Marcel, 2015. HD video. 5:48.

Exhibition History:

2015 UCLA MFA Thesis #3, Los Angeles, CA


Lajkó, 2015

Lajkó , 2015. European steamed beech, recycled leather, foam. 18 x 60 x 88 in.  Installation view with  Marcel , 2015   Lajkó  (2015)   is a sculpture in the form of a queen-sized day bed based on a design created by Marcel Breuer for 945 Madison Avenue, formerly the Whitney Museum of American art, currently the Met Breuer. It is a sculpture in an edition of 5 with 2 artist proofs. Each piece in the edition can be customized and is intended to be used as a piece of furniture.

Lajkó, 2015. European steamed beech, recycled leather, foam. 18 x 60 x 88 in.

Installation view with Marcel, 2015

Lajkó (2015) is a sculpture in the form of a queen-sized day bed based on a design created by Marcel Breuer for 945 Madison Avenue, formerly the Whitney Museum of American art, currently the Met Breuer. It is a sculpture in an edition of 5 with 2 artist proofs. Each piece in the edition can be customized and is intended to be used as a piece of furniture.

Exhibition History:

2015 UCLA MFA Thesis #3, Los Angeles, CA


Republic, 2015

Republic, 2015. California state flag manufactured by the California Prison Industry Authority on loan from the University of California, Los Angeles; latex balloon; helium. 60 x 60 x 60 inches.

Exhibition History:

2015 UCLA MFA Thesis #3, Los Angeles, CA


The Visitor, 2015

The Visitor, 2015. HD video. 7:54 loop.

Exhibition History:

2015 The Visitor, Screening in the courtyard of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA


Mr. Wisdom, 2017

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Mr. Wisdom, 2017. Found concrete and shopping cart,.31 x 36 x 26 in.

Exhibition History:

2017 Michael Cataldi and Marten Elder, Index Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Thank You Mr. Wisdom, 2017. HD video. 36:00 (excerpt 00:50).


The Businessman, 2017

The Businessman, 2017. Pigment print and aluminum frame. 20 3/4 x 31 3/4 x 1 1/2 in.

Exhibition History:

2017 Michael Cataldi and Marten Elder, Index Gallery, Los Angeles, CA


The Night Cleaner, 2017

The Night Cleaner, 2017. HD video. 54:19 (excerpt 1:33).

Produced for the exhibition Hot Flat, at Angels Gate Cultural Center in San Pedro, CA. This video uses a domestic cleaning robot, action cameras, and headlamps to navigate abandoned military bunkers that lie beneath the park where the exhibition venue is located.

Exhibition History:

2017 Hot Flat, Angels Gate Cultural Center, San Pedro, CA