Tender Game

Luis Gispert
February 6 - March 29, 2014

Thursday, February 6, 6:30 pm, Artist Talk with Diana Nawi, Associate Curator, Pérez Art Museum Miami
Reception 7:30 – 9:30 pm


David Castillo Gallery is proud to present Tender Game, new works in photography by Luis Gispert.


The viewer is alone inside the girth of a Lockheed C-5. The console is thick with buttons and levers, every mechanical detail exposed. The head-on view from the windshield is magnificent. Luis Gispert’s formal use of scale, perspective, and composition create environments at once dazzling and disarming.


The military aircraft featured in the artist’s high-res chromogenic prints ring the gallery like pop spectacle. Old Shaky, a Cold War relic, lifts invisible ordinance over the German Alps. Superstratto is a superstar in purple twilight. Fat Hercules, a player in every air force in the world since 1957, sizes up the South Dakota Badlands veined with snow. Glider has the face of a segmented grasshopper over Bryce Canyon. Fat Fred is as ubiquitous in battle as the salt of the Bonneville flats over which it flashes.


If contemporary society can glean anything from both the entertainment and natural worlds, it is that appearances can be dangerous. The artist also engages a tender game that is as much threat as it is treat. This game is dialectical, based on the seductive juxtaposition of creation and destruction, style and function, natural and mechanical, transparency and secrecy, outside and inside. This game is unheimlich, portraying intimate spaces that are not quite sterile waiting rooms or tricked out lairs, not quite latticed confession booths or elegant greenhouses. This game is Derrida’s hauntological, making conflict tenable with retro chic nostalgia. This game interrogates the viewer’s comfort inside re-contextualized images. Where are ideological and material brands manufactured?


Tender Game is influenced by the artist’s previous investigation into American car subculture, photographing the interiors of rides customized with counterfeit fashion design. As in Tender Game, the windshields of the vehicles frame breathtaking but incompatible landscapes. In fifteenth century Italian and Dutch painting, the window was often rendered as a device to clarify reality, make discoveries, and gain knowledge. The window today, however, is also a screen before which the passive viewer ingests information. Lefebvre reminds us that the adoption of a new technology is also the adoption of the unforeseen. In marveling at the beauty of the world framed by military aircraft, or of the photograph framed by the artist, the viewer accidentally asks, what exactly is precious here? What is sublime and why? The artist’s entourage of military aircraft is a bellwether, and the viewer is the only person in sight.


Luis Gispert was born in Jersey City, New Jersey and lives and works in New York, NY. He studied at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received his MFA from Yale University in 2001. Gispert has exhibited widely including solo shows at Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami; Art Pace, San Antonio, TX; Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; Berkeley Museum of Art, UC Berkeley, CA; Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, NY, among others.  His work has also been included in exhibitions at Philadelphia Photo Arts Center; LAND in Austin, TX; National Museum of Poznan, Poland; Contemporary Art Center, Charleston, SC; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; PS1/MoMA, Queens, New York; Shanghai MoCA, Shanghai; Royal Academy of Art, London; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard, Cambridge; Sculpture Center, NY; Contemporary Arts Center, Houston; Studio Museum of Harlem, New York; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge; Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art; and New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY. The artist’s work is in the permanent collections of Fogg Art Museum, Harvard; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others.

Luis Gispert