"Triple Candie has a particularly pointed way of turning our articles of faith back on themselves — a wonderfully efficacious way of asking us if we still believe in them."—ARTFORUM
“One of the most mysterious and creative art institutions on the contemporary scene."—Domus magazine
Co-founded in 2001 by curators and art historians Shelly Bancroft and Peter Nesbett in Harlem, Triple Candie started as a more-or-less conventional non-profit art space in an unconventional location, exhibiting work by artists both established (Polly Apfelbaum, Sanford Biggers, Tracy Emin, Charles Gaines, Mark Lewis, Andrea Zittel) and emerging (Martha Friedman, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Brian Jungen, Shinique Smith). In time, however, dismayed by the dissolution of an alternative space movement in New York, Triple Candie adopted a radical new philosophy to guide all its programming: in 2005, it jettisoned art and artists and started curating, and producing, exhibitions about art but largely devoid of it and realized without the involvement of artists.
The first of nearly three-dozen exhibitions in this vein, David Hammons: The Unauthorized Retrospective consisted of photocopies taken from brochures, catalogs, and the Internet. Further unorthodox surveys have included Cady Noland Approximately: Editions and Sculpture, 1984-1999 (for which 13 sculptural surrogates were built from incomplete information found on the internet), Lester Hayes: Selected Work, 1962-1975 (a bi-racial and post-minimalist artist that they made-up with the work made from street detritus) and Maurizio Cattelan is Dead: Life and Work, 1960-2009 (a heavily researched museological obituary for the artist-trickster). Cutting Matisse presented the artist’s “Jazz” series, excised of its now-clichéd decorative elements and its black Icarus.
Outwardly absurd, even perceived of by some as irreverent, these projects are in fact deeply serious. Triple Candie has inserted an editorial viewport into curatorial practice, injecting it with a criticality normally sacrificed to diplomacy and promotion. There are no artworks. There are no artists. There is only the exhibition.
This winter Triple Candie relocated from Harlem to Philadelphia.