art & social practice


Pia Camil
A Pot for Latch, 2016
Participatory installation at the New Museum

For A Pot for a Latch, Camil presents a participatory sculptural installation produced specifically commissioned for the Lobby Gallery of the New Museum. Inspired by the modular display systems typically used by vendors, Camil has constructed a succession of gridwall panels of her own design, complete with built-in hooks, shelves, and other fixtures for displaying items. Composed of grids, lines, and geometric shapes, the structures form a volumetric drawing within the space of the gallery, referencing cheap commercial constructions as well as the serial patterning of paintings and sculptures made by Minimalist artists such as Sol LeWitt and Agnes Martin.

The title of the exhibition refers to the potlatch, a ceremonial gift-giving festival practiced by the Native-American peoples of the Pacific Northwest coast, for whom it continues to be a system of wealth redistribution. Camil invites the public to participate in the ongoing creation of her piece on designated days, during which visitors are encouraged to exchange their own unique items for others in the installation. The composition on the gridwall panels is thereby in flux and is repeatedly altered throughout the course of the exhibition. With A Pot for a Latch, Camil transforms the gallery space into a shop of sorts, in which the monetary value of an object is supplanted by its personal history and significance.

Visitors are invited to exchange items for those in the installation during a series of six public events.


#Blackmendream (2014) is a social practice art film directed by Shikeith that utilizes social media to provide contemporary black men an outlet for open emotional expression often denied through racial, and black masculinity taboos. To participate viewers are encouraged to respond to the set of questions asked in the film that investigate the individual black male experience with emotionality using the hashtag #blackmendream.