Curated by: Tunie Betesh, Nicole Economides & Natalia Almonte
Participating artists: Alex Dolores Salerno, Alexander Stevens, Anna Parisi, Camille K. Rouzaud, Daphne Monastirioti, Eleanna Balesi, Elliot Avis, Elyse Johnson, Ernesto Rivera, Francisc “Echo” Eraso, Fred Schmidt-Arenales, Gabriel Torres, Iván Sikic, Jesse Egner, Josephine Lee, Julianne Nash, Justin Sterling, Katie Levinson, Kerry Lessard, Layla Kovacevic, Leticia Zica, Lydia Nobles, Natalia Manta, Nora Maité Nieves, Norma Vilá Rivero, Orfeo Tagiuri, Rachael Surrell, Robert Good, Rochelle Voyles, Sebastián Meltz-Collazo, Serafeim Sakellariou, Stefanie Schwarzwimmer, Steven Luna, Thanos Fountas, Thomas Valianatos
Performance artist in residence: Zachary Fabri

Situated in Prospect Park South, Brooklyn, sits a half-empty, melancholic, Victorian home we
call The Real House. Thirty six artists, both local and international, were invited to participate in
its debut exhibition, What Is Real?. The cacophony of works embrace, mourn and expose the
incongruence of contemporary reality. Often elusive and endorsed by the imagination, reality is
rarely neutral. It is both exhilarating and debilitating to unravel its rationale. Misshapen and
frenetic, our Orwellian existence is constantly manipulated by the powerful and the greedy,
leading us to wonder what, in fact, is real.

From the basement to the attic, artists play with optical illusions, reflections, scale distortions
and disorientations to reveal that what is visible and physical is actually a brilliant con.
Meditative and exhaustive practices use laborious gestures to prove that repetition can be
blurred into abstraction that gains or loses meaning along the way. This abstraction is shared
with memory and time, two concepts that prove reality’s reliance on perception and relativity.
Identity and disassociation with the self are interpreted through the use of or reference to the
body as a site of transition, care, and the abject.

Due to Singularity, our bodies and the identity we attach to them have to navigate the
inevitable conflation of the private and the public. The more algorithms program social
constructs that create a universal grammar, the more satire and humor serve as a release to the
sociopolitical dead-ends that are faced everyday. Artists discuss our increasingly surveilled
condition and how those vigilant capitalize on the false hope for the American Dream.

The Real House serves a palpable reflection of the present, one that has been irreversibly
shaped by the ongoing pandemic. Rather than seeking to decode, the exhibition
acknowledges the impossibility to provide a conclusion for the new norm. Instead, what we
take with us is the gratification of trying and trying again.

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

- Samuel Beckett

What Is Real? May 9 — June 1, 2021 photo archive

© Nicole Economides