Sara Magenheimer


Recess Session

Sara Magenheimer: False Alphabets

In Session: March 19 – April 25, 2015

Film Screenings: March 26, 6-8pm
Free Paint performs: April 3, 6-8pm
Film Screenings: April 9, 6-8pm
Eleanor Friedberger performs: April 18, 6-8pm

On March 19, Sara Magenheimer will begin work on False Alphabets, as part of Recess’s signature program, Session. Session invites artists to use Recess’s public space as studio, exhibition venue and grounds for experimentation.
Over the course of her Session, Magenheimer will construct sculptural sets composed of photographs, objects, and film equipment that will become the backdrop for a new video. The script for the video, written by Magenheimer, continues the artist’s interest in voice, and employs cinematic tropes that conflate embodied language and location.
The script will evoke the role of “The Radio DJ” epitomized by characters like Mister Señor Love Daddy in Do The Right Thing and DJ Stevie Wayne in The Fog. These figures act as the omnipotent narrators of their films as well as create diegetic soundtracks to their cinematic worlds. Simultaneously addressing the movie going audience, the other characters, and their communities, their music is embodied rather than a superficial add-on for the viewer’s emotional manipulation.

Collaborating artists Eleanor Friedberger (Fiery Furnaces), Greg Saunier (Deerhoof), Free Paint (Magenheimer and Saunier) and more will perform the music for and act as narrators in this video. Performers will make mixes that involve narration and music. These mixes will function as a soundtrack for the video. Recess audience may stream these mixes online and will be invited to participate as “the listening public” on open-set days of filming.

The video and performances explore the limit of the necessary, functional dislocation between speech and physical body, attempting to bring language back to the body through techniques drawn from punk/Dada humor, absurdity, music and participation.
Films featuring radio DJs will be screened throughout False Alphabets.

ArtForum Best Of 2014: Corrine Fitzpatrick

View of “Dear Nemesis, Nicole Eisenman 1993–2013,” 2014–15.


LAST APRIL, Cleopatra’s housed “Which arbitrary thing are you,” (April 6 to May 4, 2014) a two-person exhibition of sculpture and video by Sara Magenheimer and paintings by Sadie Laska. All of the works were from 2014, with the exception of Magenheimer’s seven-minute video, One Vast Focus, 2011, in which footage of a woman playing tuba before a grove of trees opens onto a quaalude-paced concert scene overlaid with text from Ada Lovelace’s megalomaniacal-Romantic musings to her mother—“I can throw rays from every corner of the universe into one vast focus”—which is then read aloud by the artist in a droll digitized voice reminiscent of Robert Ashley’s in “Perfect Lives.” Early video art is also evoked in Magenheimer’s pigment print on wallpaper panel composites, Sun Room 1 and Sun Room 2. Both pieces layer a print of an isolated basketball net atop images of houseplants in wicker baskets. The signifiers evoke movement (“swoosh”), rhyme, and pun in a video-like layering of effects. Laska’s thirteen mixed-media paintings are discrete Rauschenbergian assemblages; the artist’s sense of humor and experimentation breeze across bricolage surfaces (a shirt, a sandal, a comb, a paper plate, to name a few) that, although three-dimensional, strongly convey a painterly plane. Laska does not appear to be preoccupied with the de- or re- or neo-construction of painting, rather, these works read as a genuinely capacious celebration of the action and the form.


Bloopers #1 is the newest iteration of the performance-driven collaboration by artists Michael Bell-Smith, Sara Magenheimer, and Ben Vida. Using the language of “breakdowns,” or comedic outtakes, the artists blend props, video, and electronic music to play with the social power of different kinds of media.

Screening: CAVE in Detroit


Screening Friday August 8th

doors@8pm show @ 8:30pm

Video works by:

Sarah Dornner,


Sara Magenheimer,

Virginia Overton,

Luther Price,

Jacolby Satterwhite

and Matthew Schlanger

Selected by Bridget Finn and Erin Somerville


Sara Magenheimer, Ryan Mrozowski, Sophy Naess
curated by Lumi Tan
June 26 – August 2, 2014 Opening reception June 26, 6 – 8 

Architect Philip Johnson notoriously positioned Poussin’s Burial of Phocion (1648-1649) in his Glass House as a mediator between the outside landscape—a landscape that was, of course, fully visible through his transparent structure—and his domestic space. By modeling his suburban pastoral landscape after Poussin’s ordered depiction of ancient Athens, the surrounding hills and trees became modular elements—seemingly natural but equally as controlled as the interior space. In this Modernist paradise, nature, like furniture, could be shifted around in any configuration so that the view from the living room was absolutely perfect. Both of these interior and exterior compositions will be meticulously preserved in position as a historic site.

This is a selection of artworks; which involve various states of control, arrest, preservation and modularity in nature. There are three artists, three temporalities, and many more ideas of landscapes. Start with Sophy Naess’s grid of soaps, which can be read as paintings, tablets, and book pages. A shift in perspective from the individual pieces to the larger arrangement provides a reveal that is echoed in the soap’s eventual dissolve. Vanitases in the truest meaning of the word, the compositions and depicted symbols slip away dependent on climate and use and leave the natural elements more and more exposed, necessitating documentation at the moment of completion. Move from the wall down towards Sara Magenheimer’s zen garden, which contains a transposable selection of images and objects which have frozen nature in decisive moment, with each arrangement framed by the standard grid of ceramic tile. Every look acts a slow pan over a series of events that can be seen in forward, reverse, or side-to-side. End with Ryan Mrozowski’s paintings of orange groves, natural growths that are tamed into repetitive systems. These images are fixed and flattened, with oranges—the most easily abstracted fruit—reduced to perfect circles which can be circulated again and again. Having moved from permeable to static, softened edges to hardened ones, obscured forms to crystal clear views, we may have achieved sensorial overload. But after stepping outside, make sure to look back through the storefront window to appreciate the garden views. -Lumi Tan

For more information please contact
Summer hours starting July are Friday + Saturday 11-6 and by appointment

Image: Ryan Mrozowski, ‘Untitled (Number six)’, 2014, acrylic on linen, 40 x 34 inches

Chapter NY
127 Henry Street
New York, NY 10002