76 Grand Street
Kristin Baker’s studio looked like an automobile repair shop, not the kind where a grease monkey might change the oil on your Toyota, but the place where serious men in white coats would be fine-tuning a Ferrari. The studio was spotless, with tools neatly displayed in red Snap-On cabinets and paints stacked according to color. The body of a racing car, plastered with advertising logos, hung above a computer station. Dozens of photographs of racecars and racetracks were displayed above the drafting table.
On the walls there were paintings of speeding racecars, explosive car crashes, and vast grandstands. All of Baker’s materials were from the province of the high tech auto body shop. There were no tubes of oil paint and no canvas. The works were made with plastic paints on sheets of PVC bolted to a metal backing. The colors were those of Formula One car bodies and racing safety gear. The materials and the painting process were integrated with the subject.
On an opposite wall, there were photographs of the mega billboards on giant metal posts that floated above the Long Island Expressway. Baker was especially inspired by the blank ones. There were also images of her own giant wall paintings of these looming empty billboards. This was her version of the contemporary landscape.
Kristin Baker was fascinated by the connection between painting and automobile racing, particularly by the contrast between accident versus control that characterized both pursuits.
She saw the racetrack as a contemporary version of the Roman coliseum, where the spectators of all social classes converged to watch the expert drivers steer their enormously expensive cars, covered with advertising, into spectacular crashes.
Like the racetrack, her painting was a study in organization versus chaos. At the track, speed was both controlled and pushed to extremes. Her painting was also a study of how far to push to the extreme, how close one could get to overstimulation without an aesthetic crash.
Flat Out, Baker’s September 2003 exhibition at Deitch Projects, included large racetrack paintings on PVC, smaller paintings on Mylar, and a wall painting of a blank billboard.
Kristin Baker graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and received a M.F.A. from Yale in 2002. Her work was presented in a solo exhibition at PS 1 in 2002 as part of Painting Report.
March 8 - 11, 2018
We will present a special solo project by the artist JR.
Image: JR, Migrants, Walking New York City, 2015
April - May 2018
18 Wooster Street
76 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013
Monday – Friday
10 AM – 6 PM
Tuesday – Saturday
Noon – 6 PM
The gallery reopens with People in April 2018.
+1 (212) 343-7300
View this website on a larger screen for the full experience.