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Harriet Salmon: The Explorer's Club

Founded in New York on October 25th, 1905, The Explorerʼs Club unites adventurers with the common goal of promoting scientific exploration and field study; Previous charter members include the first men to reach the North Pole (1909), the South Pole (1911), the summit of Mt. Everest (1953), the deepest point in the ocean (1960), and the surface of the Moon (1969). It is a century-old society of professional seekers.

Harriet Salmon chose to title the exhibition The Explorerʼs Club as a nod to the impressive history and optimistic spirit of the organization, while also acknowledging its cultural nuances of romanticized adventure, Boy Scout innocence, and nostalgic masculinity. Raised in a family of scientists, the artist has developed a personal scientific method for understanding the natural world that often reflects the clubʼs complex interests and motives. The artistʼs fixation on that phenomenology is tested through observation; how does film capture light in a camera? How does one capture the movement of a body without photographing the person in motion? What do “science” or “things that are true” look like—questions that often lead one to ask, “What is science fiction”?

Salmon uses visual references that are easily recognizable, even to those less familiar with scientific rhetoric. Here Ansel Adamsʼs photographs become placeholders for the landscape and the natural world, a geodesic dome points to the counter-cultureʼs environmental movement or fictional Mars colonization, and minimal sculptures mimic the shapes of famed Hollywood spacecraft. These icons become shorthand for the science of expedition itself, allowing us to talk about emotional associations we all have with these convoluted themes; the joy of discovery, the deluded prerogative of manifest destiny, the escapism of space travel, and the satisfaction of a fully tested theory, all come to the surface in these works of recognizable science fictions.

Harriet Salmon holds a BFA from California College of the Arts (2001) and an MFA from Yale University School of Art (2006). She participated in Socrates Sculpture Parkʼs Emerging Artist Fellowship in 2008 and attended The MacDowell Colony residency in 2009. She has been included in various group exhibitions in New York at the Journal Gallery, the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, and Postmasters Gallery, among others. Salmon currently lives and works in Brooklyn.

Earlier Event: December 10
Kija Lucas: Smolder