Remai Modern is delighted to present the Canadian premiere of artist Lucy Raven’s acclaimed moving image installation Demolition of a Wall (Album 1). It was originally shown at the 2022 iteration of the Whitney Biennial. Raven’s practice centres on both the form and mechanics of film, photography and video and on historic and contemporary representations of the American West.
Lucy Raven: Demolition of a Wall (Album 1) is on view from November 18, 2023 – March 11, 2024. Be sure to attend the artist talk and opening reception on November 17. Admission is by donation!
“We all have an idea of what a “Western” is in our minds, and, with that as a baseline, I like thinking about it as a genre category. There are other genres I’m thinking about too, most specifically horror. But there’s a way to think of Westerns as horror too, if a Western is the telling of the genocidal fighting-it-out for property and land ownership.”
—Lucy Raven with Andy Battaglia for Art in America
Demolition of a Wall (Album 1) presents a dry and open landscape, traditionally celebrated in Hollywood film as pristine, untouched, uninhabited and ripe for freedom, adventure and opportunity for enterprising settlers to the continent. This incorrect and problematic view has continually omitted long histories of Indigenous cultures across western Turtle Island and rarely calls attention to the industrial, nuclear and other industries that have shaped the lands for more than a century.
“The conditions that I’m interested in thinking about in relation to the genre of the Western are material and physical, meaning geologic, geodynamic and infrastructural. How material undergoes state changes through extreme pressure and force, and the cycles of violence that emerge from that, alongside cycles of development and destruction.”
—Lucy Raven with Gary Hustwit for Chance Operations
Filmed at an explosives range in New Mexico used by private ammunition companies and the American Departments of Defence and Energy, Raven’s work presents the violent movement and impacts of pressure-blast shockwaves as they radiate outward following an explosion. While this piece is set in the Southwestern United States, it connects with related local histories and practices such as the firearms ballistic testing program being developed in Saskatchewan and the presence of Camp Dundurn, a Canadian Forces facility located 40 km south of Saskatoon, being built on the site of a traditional camping grounds for Métis hunters.
Learn about Raven’s earlier artistic practice, with interviews on past works like Ready Mix, China Town, RP31, and AO.
About the Artist
Lucy Raven (born 1977) is originally from Tucson, Arizona. She lives and works in New York City. She received a BFA in studio art and a BA in art history from the University of Arizona, Tucson, in 2000, and an MFA from Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, in 2008.
Her work has been exhibited in solo presentations at Wiels, Brussels, Belgium (2022); Dia Chelsea, New York, USA (2021); Serpentine Galleries, London, UK (2016–17); Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio, USA (2016); VOX centre de l’image contemporaine, Montreal, Canada (2015); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, USA (2014); Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany (2014); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA (2012); and Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, USA (2010). She has also exhibited extensively as part of group shows in the U.S. and abroad and her works are held in public collections around the world.
Raven teaches at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York.