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Sara Greenberger Rafferty
Born 1978, Evanston, IL
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY
Sara Greenberger Rafferty works in a range of media including sculpture and video, but is strongly influenced by photography. Rafferty is interested in the authorship of comedy through jokes and performers, re-appropriation and re-performances. Using theatrical elements like props, sets, and the stage, she creates work that revolves around practical jokes, gags, and the absurd. Several works from her solo exhibition BANANAS at The Kitchen in New York City [Jan 9—Mar 7, 2009] are on view here for the first time in several years, such as Panning (Done Eggs) (2009), Testing I-V (all 2009), and the eponymous work BANANAS (2009), a “life-sized” hangman sculpture created with microphone stand, boom arm, plexiglas, wire, and gaffer’s tape—an appropriately awkward comment on performance stage anxiety. In these earlier works, Rafferty became interested in producing comedic objects that could independently produce laughter, not merely objects that spoke about humor or illustrated a comic narrative. The comic content of these works is largely domestic through their relationships to food and kitchen implements, perhaps a comment on women’s place in a field dominated by men and the content women injected into it to stake an independent position. Her most recent work in the exhibition is Mono (2014), screened as part of the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Rafferty cast New York-based actor Susie Sokol to mimic the physical gestures and verbal mannerisms of three late-night talk show hosts (Johnny Carson, David Letterman, and Joan Rivers) through reduced aesthetic: the laugh track is raw, the set and studio audience empty. Through this isolating of the comics’ gestures, Sokol’s routine of gendered stances and comedic posturing becomes radically strange and unattached to any particular context.
Sara Greenberger Rafferty has exhibited solo projects at Rachel Uffner Gallery, New York, The Kitchen, New York, MoMA PS1, New York, Eli Marsh Gallery at Amherst College, Massachusetts, The Suburban, Illinois, and at kim? Centre for Contemporary Art in Riga, Latvia. She has participated in many group shows at venues such as the Aspen Art Museum, Colorado, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, Gagosian Gallery, New York, Public Art Fund at the Metrotech Center, New York, and The Jewish Museum, New York. Her work was included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, and is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. She received her MFA from Columbia University and lives and works in Brooklyn.
February 6, 2015 – April 11, 2015