Make New Friends

September – October 2007, Romer Young Gallery (formerly Ping Pong Gallery), San Francisco, CA

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Make New Friends, Courtship, Record players, steel, wood, paint, street recordings of people singing ‘Make New Friends’, speakers, and records, 84 x 60 x 60 inches, 2007

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Make New Friends, Courtship (detail), Record players, steel, wood, paint, street recordings of people singing ‘Make New Friends’, speakers, and records, 84 x 60 x 60 inches, 2007

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Partial exhibition view (L to R): Make New Friends, Courtship, and Make New Friends, Dead/Alive (Record Player for Revisiting Gilda Radner, Record Player for Revisiting Akutagawa Ryunosuke, Record Player for Revisiting Emma Goldman, Record Player for Revisiting Martin Luther King Jr., and Record Player for Revisiting Helio Oiticica)

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Make New Friends, Dead/Alive; Record Player for Revisiting Gilda Radner, Silver and gold-leaf gilded plaster, each respectively named for a specific person(deceased) whose presence I wanted to manifest within the exhibition, 7 x 13 x 10 inches each, 2007

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Partial exhibition view (from L to R) : Make New Friends, Dead/Alive, Make New Friends, Mirror Wall, Make New Friends, Korea , and Make New Friends, Courtship

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Make New Friends, Mirror Wall, Wood, thrift store mirrors, and paint built as threshold to gallery, 84 x 264 x 4 inches

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Make New Friends, Mirror Wall and Make New Friends, Dead/Alive

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Make New Friends, Korea, Documentation of a T-shirt exchange in Seoul, Korea, dimensions variable

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Detail: Make New Friends, Korea, Documentation of a T-shirt exchange in Seoul, Korea, dimensions variable

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Make New Friends posters, screenprinted and wheatpasted in various neighborhoods of Seoul, Korea, 2007

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Make New Friends posters, screenprinted and wheatpasted in various neighborhoods of Seoul, Korea, 2007

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One year later, in 2008, I found a few remnants of the Make New Friends posters, screenprinted and wheatpasted in various neighborhoods of Seoul, Korea, 2007

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ArtForum.com Critic’s Pick review by Glen Helfand:

“By titling her solo exhibition after a classic campfire song, “Make New Friends,” Amanda Curreri dares to swirl nerdy “Kumbaya” togetherness with sculpture and socially engaged art. The results are cryptic and sweet, depending on the number of viewers milling about the intimate venue—the more the merrier. At the entrance to the show, Curreri has constructed a gateway of thrift store–scavenged mirrors attached to an open wall of primary-colored two-by-fours: One must quite literally pass through the looking glass to see the show. The artist delineates the gallery space as a spare, sanctioned zone that subtly reframes our perceptions of objects and interpersonal interactions. On view are multiple vintage record players, of the portable 1970s type with built-in plastic clamshell case; two of them are fitted with tall, seemingly rickety legs. The turntables spin, but their arms hover just above the records; the titular song, in fact, plays beneath a plywood platform, at a low volume, an almost subliminal invitation for viewers to join hands and sing along. The lyrics—“Make new friends / But keep the old / One is silver / The other gold”—here function as an invitation to and guiding text for action and object-making. Five cast-plaster versions of the phonographs are leafed in either silver or gold, depending on which notable person they’re dedicated to: Such dissimilar yet equally inspirational figures as Gilda Radner and Emma Goldman are granted the precious metal suggested by their names. The opposite wall features documentation of a cross-cultural exchange project in which Curreri offered vibrantly pink MAKE NEW FRIENDS T-shirts to passersby on a street corner in Seoul. Snapshots show the beaming artist with similarly pleased shirt recipients. The sincere scout’s-honor invitation to engage is somewhat tempered by the minimal installation and gallery setting, but Curreri’s attempt at aligning these divergent elements is an appealingly original—not to mention ambitious—impulse.”