The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

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Important Update

January 12, 2023 to May 14, 2023 | Leir Atrium

Aldrich Projects: Kathleen Ryan: Head and Heart

Kathleen Ryan: Head and Heart is the fourth installment of Aldrich Projects, a single artist series that features a singular work or a focused body of work by an artist every four months on the Museum’s campus. This project brings together two monumental works, Daisy Chain, 2021 and Pearls, 2017, conceived over a five-year span and sited in the Museum’s Leir Atrium.

Artworks

Ryan’s output ranges from body-size to larger-than-life scale sculptures that cite seventeenth century vanitas paintings, Americana, kitsch, and Pop art. She uses humor and instantly recognizable imagery to interrogate the busts and breakdowns of the American dream, an artifice fueled by desire and deception. She chooses materials from gemstones and fishing poles, automobile parts, to bowling balls and an Airstream, for their “psychological or emotional weight,” crafting objects that evoke a metaphorical churning about the sentimental and debauched.

Coiled on the Atrium floor is Pearls, 2017. A behemoth strand of pearls laced together with thirty-five glittering pink and rose-hued bowling balls and sturdy rope. Hefty and supersized, it is cast with objects that symbolize one of America's most democratic entertainments, a feminist riff on a time-honored emblem of the pure, dainty, and upscale.

Daisy Chain, 2021, is a giant string of plastic daisies threaded together by their stems to form a mega-ornamental wreath. An age-old amusement, daisy chains were stylized as garlands to be worn as symbols of devotion and eternal love. At a towering twelve feet high, Daisy Chain dangles from wall to floor. Assembled from found and composed elements, garden hoses for stems, plastic funnels for pistils, and cut vinyl for petals, its materiality alludes to its horticulture origins.

Turning the Atrium into a Leviathan torso, Ryan’s titanic necklaces express an outsized corporeality that transmits on loop an endless track of the heartfelt and fake.

Kathleen Ryan (b. 1984, Santa Monica, CA) lives and works in New Jersey. She received her MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her work has been the subject of institutional solo exhibitions at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; the New Art Gallery, Walsall, UK; and the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, USA. Her work is included in public collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

Kathleen Ryan: Head and Heart is curated by the Museum’s Chief Curator Amy Smith-Stewart.

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Related Events

January 11, 2023 at 1:00 pm | Group Tours

Seniors-Only Tour

Join us for this in-person gallery tour of highlighted works from our current exhibitions, guided by Museum Educator Holly Lapine, reserved specifically for senior adults ages 60 and above.

January 21, 2023 at 10:00 am | Third Weekend, Free Admission

Third Saturdays

Visit the Museum for FREE the third Saturday of every month. Participate in a Story Time at 10:30 am, an all-ages Discovery Tour of our current exhibitions at 1 pm.

January 21, 2023 at 10:30 am | Children and Family Programs

Story Time for Kids: The Boy with Flowers in His Hair

Bring your budding artists to The Aldrich for Story Time, in collaboration with the Ridgefield Library! Together, we will read The Boy with Flowers in His Hair by Jarvis and explore the largescale sculpture, Daisy Chain, by Kathleen Ryan. Then, we will move to the Museum’s Studio to create our very own flower chains made with everyday materials!

February 4, 2023 at 3:00 pm | Exhibition Opening

Private Event | Exhibition Opening: Prima Materia, Hangama Amiri, and Kathleen Ryan

Invitation only. Members and friends, please join us for a first look at Prima Materia: The Periodic Table in Contemporary Art, Hangama Amiri: A Homage to Home, and Kathleen Ryan: Head and Heart before the exhibitions open to the public.

February 8, 2023 at 1:00 pm | Group Tours

Seniors-Only Tour

Join us for this in-person gallery tour of highlighted works from our current exhibitions, guided by Museum Educator Holly Lapine, reserved specifically for senior adults ages 60 and above.

February 18, 2023 at 10:00 am | Third Weekend, Free Admission

Third Saturdays

Visit the Museum for FREE the third Saturday of every month. Participate in a Story Time at 10:30 am, an all-ages Discovery Tour of our current exhibitions at 1 pm.

February 18, 2023 at 1:00 pm | Group Tours

All Ages Discovery Tour

From Hangama Amiri’s large-scale textiles and Kathleen Ryan’s larger-than-life sculptures to the varied works featured in Prima Materia, explore artworks big, small, and everything in between during this in-person tour of our current exhibitions guided by a Museum Educator.



Top image: Kathleen Ryan, Daisy Chain, 2021. Courtesy of the artist and Karma, New York