A public garden & cultural center

Kim Baranowski

Call & Response | September 10–December 3, 2017

Pictured above: Early Learning, U.S. Map, 2017, altered pull down map, 54 x 72 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Wave Hill. Photo: Stefan Hagen.

Kim Baranowski annotates a typical classroom map of the United States with information and geography relating to the migrant experience. Given the current geopolitical climate, this topic is of special importance to Baranowski. Her focus on the U.S. and its legacy as an immigrant gateway connects her work to Wave Hill’s location in New York, home to one of the nation’s largest sanctuary cities. The piece recalls Baranowski’s 2008 Sunroom Project, Frozen Field, which investigated the ecosystem of the Antarctic Peninsula through maps, while reflecting on contemporary issues of refuge and sanctuary.

Frozen Field
Sunroom Project Space | September 9–October 13, 2008

Frozen Field, detail, 2007, mixed media, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. 

Kim Baranowski’s multi-media installation in the Sunroom marks the culmination of an extensive investigation into the ecosystem of the Antarctic Peninsula, facilitated by her National Science Foundation-sponsored expedition to the continent during the 2007-08 austral summer. Frozen Field, a collection of pseudo-historical maps and artifacts, makes use of the romance and mythology associated with Antarctic exploration to illuminate the environmental instability of the region, with a particular focus on climate change.

The walls of the Sunroom are hung with detailed geographical maps that mimic the look of historic etchings, lending a sense of authenticity to contemporary information. In the center of the room, two custom-built cabinets house didactic displays, including specimens of animals both real and imagined, and a fictional history of a female stowaway aboard an expedition vessel in the early 20th-century. These artifacts are displayed alongside various other props, such as an old-fashioned postcard carousel containing commemorative souvenirs and a vintage speaker horn amplifying the sounds of glacial melt. In mixing current scientific data, stylistically antiquated historical objects and the fantastical imagery of adventure tales, Baranowski aims to instill a sense of wonder in the viewer. In this way, she utilizes the effect that this little-known continent has upon our imagination, recognizing that, for most of us, this vivid landscape remains a terra incognita.


Frozen Field, installation view, 2007, mixed media, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. 


The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; Michael J. Shannon; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.