“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso
Memories fade and a photograph left out in the sun loses its color, prompting a simmering anxiety about the never-ending passage of time. In Anthony Miserendino’s solo exhibition Come Together on view at Moskowitz Bayse objects such as books, postcards and envelopes become important not for the specific content they contain, but for the communication and relationships they symbolize. A tinge of something, maybe sadness, permeates the gallery and culls up images of rough-housing through the halls of childhood homes and rummaging through the dusty boxes of estate sales.
The subtle sadness of the exhibition, while present, is never overwrought or theatrical in nature. Rather it is a kind of emotion intrinsic to the human experience, to the acknowledgment of our collective mortality and the uncertainty and decay contained therein. In Live/Work (2019), the largest and most singularly powerful piece of the exhibition, the artist created casts of the objects in his living room, forming an iconic representation of his home in burlap and gypsum cement. Including everything from his sofa to the artwork hanging above it, the piece is both specific and at the same time totally generic, conveying the look of the historical and personal simultaneously.
In addition to this large statement sculpture, Miserendino displays small thematic collections of other objects associated with memory interspersed throughout the gallery. In Compile and Compress the artist cast three-dimensional stacks of letters pulled together with string or twine in concrete while in Seal and Pull he created two-dimensional shallow reliefs of the same (all 2019). In another mini-series of the exhibition, Miserendino uses encaustic on slate to create three postcards, which, like all objects in the exhibition, are presented to scale. Notably, none of the objects are given any words or content that would provide them a contextualized associative quality: they are simply postcards as postcards rather than a letter from Mary on vacation in Cape Cod to her best friend Sally who lives in the South. Mary to Sally: wish you were here!
Throughout the exhibition, a tension exists between the present and the almost-gone. Letters and postcards are still recognizable as objects today, but they are well on their way to the annals of “OK Boomer” history. Will my future grandchildren rummage through my DM’s after I’ve gone? Will my text messages remind them of themselves? How long will Miserendino reside in the space Live/Work represents — another month? Five years? More nomadic and digital than ever, the sculptures of Come Together remind us of the ever-shifting and intangible nature of our intimacy.