A leading voice of his generation, Brooklyn-based, Belgian-born artist Harold Ancart has become known for expressive works that blur the line between sculpture, painting, and drawing, and feature gestural marks that live somewhere between abstraction and representation. On May 9, the artist will give a rare public lecture at The Cooper Union’s Frederick P. Rose Auditorium to accompany his first public art commission in the United States, Subliminal Standard, presented by Public Art Fund at Cadman Plaza Park in Downtown Brooklyn May 1, 2019 – March 1, 2020. Ancart’s talk will address his general practice, as well as the expansion of his work into the public realm.
Subliminal Standard is a new commission inspired by New York City’s ubiquitous handball courts, which have fascinated Ancart for years because of their unexpected relationship to the history of abstraction. For this exhibition, Ancart has constructed a large scale painted concrete sculpture and will paint the walls and floor in a site-responsive composition that will reference the court’s playable boundary lines as well as the inadvertent abstract compositions created when other courts throughout the city are repaired and repainted to mask graffiti and weathering over time. Popularized by early 20th century immigrants to the United States, handball is among the most democratic sports, requiring nothing more than a small ball and a wall to play. The handball court is also the only type of playground that offers a freestanding double-sided wall which, according to the artist, “offers a unique possibility to show painting in a public space.” Ancart’s immersive sculpture will create a place for interaction, while bringing to light the ever-present painterly qualities that inherently exist in the structure of the handball court.