Museum of Ennui opens at The Closet

Press Release:  Museum of Ennui opens at The Closet.

Martin Cox  Museum of Ennui

Grand Opening of ‘The Closet in Shoebox Projects’ presented by the Shed Collective

March 17th – June 3rd, 2018

Opening reception: Saturday, March 17th, 3-5 p.m.

May also be seen by appointment: The Closet at Shoebox Projects, 660 S. Avenue 21, #3, Los Angeles, CA 90031

Boredom-as-Catalyst in Martin Cox’s Museum of Ennui at The Closet

(Los Angeles, California)L.A.-based artist Martin Cox’s Museum of Ennui, another alternative project, will inaugurate The Closet as the first exhibition. Mr. Cox has long examined places where natural and man-made worlds meet. The artist’s capturing of landscapes, often abandoned or vacated shelters, and other artifacts inject the past within the present, as a site of imagination and evolution. Cox refers to these spaces of possibility and potential doom in his most recent project, The Museum of Ennui that began at Fjuk Art Center Residency in Iceland. Shifting modes from his own singular production, Cox reached out to a wide range of artists all over the world. The artist asked each participant to produce a piece of art in response to their own reflections of ennui. The word, Cox feels, has been wrongly perceived as a condition of debilitating despair and lethargy. The artist’s investigation brings historical and literary dimension in championing its connotations of boredom and melancholy as necessary to human invention throughout history.

Inspired by the museums often dedicated to a single subject or person dotted throughout Iceland, Cox developed the Museum of Ennui, as a mobile object that could alter in form and travel with all of its elements contained within its apparatus. In its second iteration for the Closet called Museum for One, the artist has added new additions from artists he is in contact with throughout the globe, as well as text and sound pieces. Though mostly digital photographs, Museum for One also includes drawings and mixed-media works. The piece’s title refers not only to The Closet’s architecture, who’s maximum capacity is one person, but the concept of ennui as a state of being solitary.

21 artists will be represented at the museum of ennui including visual, literary and sound artists from the US, UK, Iceland, Canada, India, Germany, and France have responded with small art works. Participating artists: Anna Amethyst, Cynthia Minet, Douglas Hill, Gary Edward Jones, Jessie Rose Vala, Julie Murray, Katrina Alexy, Kim Abeles, Kirthana Devdas, Kristine Schomaker, Maggie Lowe Tennesen, Marina Rees, Martin Cox, Nataliya Petkova, Röðull Reyr Kárason, Rose Portillo, Ryan Hill, Sally O’Reilly, Sara Jane Boyers, Scott MacLeod, Thora Solveig Bergsteinsdottir.

The Shed Collective was created when four artists decided to host art events in their sheds and closets. Coined “the alternative to alternative galleries” a group of sister galleries emerged. Inspired by spaces like “Elevator Mondays” and Gallery 1993 and believing that artists have to create their own opportunities to exhibit and curate, the first show opens at “The Closet” an annex in the Shoebox Project space at the Brewery on March 17th from 3-5pm.

As an experience, The Shed Collective attempts to capture the imagination in its challenging of existing modes of presentation of contemporary art. It responds both to the artist’s need to experiment and curator’s need to stage exhibits in unconventional spaces in order to engage new dialogues. Seen together, The Shed Collective fluidly explores both artistic and curatorial conditions in its varied spaces. Formed by Kristine Schomaker, Cathy Immordino, Sheli Silverio, and Diane Williams, the group aims to more efficiently enact the presence of art in varied communities throughout Los Angeles and capture a unique sense of diversity and character within each of its spaces and projects.

Idle Royally

Copenhagen poster quoting speech by Queen of Denmark

Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II used the occasion of her new year’s speech to encourage her subjects to be more idle.

“Try to do something that is not necessary,” said the wise monarch, striking a blow against the cold utilitarian philosophy that still dominates public discourse. “Something that is not needed, something useless… some would like to go for a walk in the woods or along the beach. Others prefer to listen to music or watch a TV series. I like to do something with my hands like sewing or drawing… it is important that we fertilise our imagination and nourish our mind.”

Following her speech, posters made by the Danish School of Art, quoting this section of her speech, popped up all over Copenhagen.

-Tom Hodgkinson, The Idler

The Idler is a quarterly British magazine devoted to its ethos of ‘idling’. Founded in 1993 by Tom Hodgkinson and Gavin Pretor-Pinney, the publication’s intention is to return dignity to the art of loafing, to make idling into something to aspire towards rather than reject.

Museum of Ennui/Husavik Museum/Iceland Summer 2017

Museum of Ennui/Husavik

Contributors visual, audio and literary artworks to the Museum of Ennui/Husavik:

Interview: Anna Amethyst, Ki, Marina Rees, Richard Germain.

Visual Arts: Cynthia Minet, Janet Jenkins, Joan Valencia, Maggie Tennesen Lowe, Ryan Hill, Sally O’Reilly, Sara Jane Boyers, Víðir Björnsson.

Sound works and photography:  Martin Cox

Steffanie Lorig

I came across Steffanie Lorig’s painting  online while searching for ideas about the possible shape of ennui, reproduced here with permission of the artist – Martin Cox

The Shape of Ennui

The Shape of Ennui Size (h w d): 20 x 14.5 in
Medium: Mixed Media
Subject Matter: Human

I began a social enterprise years ago but found that after two decades, the patterns of the business—rather than exciting me as they once did—left me feeling numb. I knew it was time to make my exit and find renewed passion. This mixed media painting came about as I was examining the internal conflict that was beginning to grow. – Steffanie Lorig

Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir (Shoplifter)

Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir’s exhibition Nerverscape opening at Iceland’s National Gallery, May 2017, photo Martin Cox

She first started creating things as a form of entertaining herself. “I started making art to fight boredom, quite honestly,” she says.

(from The Reykjavik Grapevine article Hypernature: Shoplifter Showers The World With Colour by John Rogers)