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Brooklyn-based artist Conrad Ventur is best known for his cinematic environments that raise questions regarding aspiration, longing, sincerity, 'affect' and captured historical performance. For his exhibition Screen Tests Revisited at Momenta Art, Ventur worked over the course of a year to author a kind of second-generation body of Warholian work, looking to the archive of Andy Warhol's earliest forays into film-based portraiture, the 'screen tests'. Initially conceived as quotations, Ventur worked intimately with key Factory 'Fantastics' Billy Name, Mario Montez, Ivy Nicholson, Ultraviolet, Bibbe Hansen, Penelope Palmer and Jonas Mekas to restage these films some 45 years later. The new films approximate the lighting, frame and delayed playback speed of the originals, as the subjects of then and now conflate with the two artists and the spaces between them. Formally, the sitters exude a candid familiarity with Ventur, suggesting a conspiratorial undoing of the youth-obsessed ground on which popular culture stands. Screen Tests Revisited is the first of ongoing collaborative works between members of this cast and the artist. For Conrad, the past and present intermingle in a filmic narrative that connects decades just as it reanimates our own particular links with popular culture and shared societal memories radiating with light.
Ventur's recent solo shows have included The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Forever & Today, NYC; Rokeby, London, and 1/9 Unosunove, Rome. He founded the periodical USELESS in 2004 and received his MFA in Art Practice from Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2008. Forthcoming group shows include Greater New York at MoMA PS1.
Momenta Art is supported by the Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, The Greenwall Foundation, , The Jerome Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and individual contributors.