Faculty member Johannah Herr featured in “What to See in NYC Galleries” in the New York Times

Read the full article here: https://www.nytimes.com/article/new-york-art-galleries.html

What to See in N.Y.C. Galleries Right Now

Installation view of Johannah Herr’s solo show, “I Have Seen the Future.”

With their novelty buildings and “Futurama” attractions, world’s fairs can seem like absurd spectacles, but in her exhibition “I Have Seen the Future,” the artist Johannah Herr, aided by the writer Cara Marsh Sheffler, explores their dark side.

The show takes inspiration from the 1939 and 1964 New York World’s Fairs. Mint green gallery walls, trippy wallpaper pieces and linoleum flooring create a ’50s-meets-’60s aesthetic. It seems fun until you start looking closely. The Brooklyn-based artist uses this tactic often, drawing in viewers with dazzling visuals that are loaded with political significance.

Rotating on pedestals are seven colorful, flocked architectural models for buildings in an imaginary fair. Their designs satirize harmful trends and policies of the time, like “The American Home Pavilion (Suburban Jubilee),” 2022, a house with a picket fence so high it recalls prison bars, suggesting the exclusionary ethic of the suburbs. Wall texts by Marsh Sheffler are enthusiastically caustic; one for the “International Pavilion (Exporting America)” (2022) — a globe occupied by pieces of the U.S. map — reads: “See the entire world from a single point of view!”

The show is anything but subtle, but neither are world’s fairs. Herr and Marsh Sheffler deftly adopt their subject’s style and parody it to the point of painful exposure. It’s not limited to the gallery, either — they’ve created a guidebook that mashes up found texts with vintage ads. Like a General Motors pin at the 1939 expo that read “I have seen the future,” it’s the ultimate souvenir.