A public garden & cultural center

Sue Johnson

(Not So) Still Life 
Glyndor Gallery | April 5–July 4 

Sue Johnson, Banqueting Table, 2007-2016, print on vinyl with objects construction, slip-cast vitreous china and found object construction, 4” x 8” x 30”. Courtesy of the artist.

The Banqueting Table takes center stage in what was once the dining room of Glyndor House, originally the home of George W. Perkins’s family, the last private owners of the Wave Hill estate. Using the iconography of consumerism and the traditions of vanitas and trompe l’oeil, Sue Johnson sets the table with a feast that epitomizes the 1950s or ’60s. Some elements silkscreened on vinyl look dimensional; while others mix found objects with ceramics that the artist constructed for the display. At the center of the
table is a mountain of artificial food and McDonald’s Happy Meal toys with Mr. Peanut at the summit. Like Adam Brent’s work in the gallery foyer, Johnson has an interest in appropriating kitsch. This piece is part of Johnson’s American Dreamscapes project, which investigates the material culture of the postwar era. Set in Glyndor House, the work juxtaposes the ideal suburban single-family home with an earlier, more privileged way of life that is suggested by Glyndor’s elegant Georgian Revival interior. 

Johnson mines the history of collections and collectors in her wide-ranging projects. The American Dreamscape was first exhibited in 2013 at the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum, Hollins University, Roanoke, VA. The expanded, largescale installation Ready-Made Dream was shown at the Walton Art Center, Fayetteville, AK, in 2015. Since 1995, Johnson has created work under the rubric of The Alternate Encyclopedia, a conceptual umbrella for projects that focus on the works of literary figures such as Lewis Carroll and Marianne Moore, as well as on such subjects as New World exploration and the intersection of art, science and popular culture. Drawings from The Alternate Encyclopedia were included in Wave Hill’s Insecta Magnifica exhibition in 2002. Sue Johnson earned an MFA from Columbia University and a BFA from
Syracue University.

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.