Christopher Kline: O.K.

Text by Bpigs team, pictures courtesy of Grimmuseum

Complete with installation, wall painting, sculpture, and even performance, Christopher Kline’s show O.K. takes a multimedia look at the history and culture of his hometown Kinderhook, New York. Kinderhook is rich with folklore and cultural history, staking its claim as the site of origin for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the central ministry of the Shakers, and even the expression “O.K.” -- which the show is titled after. Kline’s work seems to archive and preserve these tales, while simultaneously reinventing them through a modern lens.

It is the diversity of the pieces in the show that create such a comprehensive and convincing atmosphere. A massive hand-quilted horse sculpture stands opposite a hand-drawn map, which is located next to the working library of Frank Serpico books that guests can check out for the duration of the show. Across the hall is a deflated hot air balloon that completely envelopes the entire space. There is an old-fashioned sentiment to all of the pieces -- a celebration of craft, an appreciation of the homemade. Kline even asked children from a local elementary school to contribute drawings, giving the show a truly authentic feel.

 

Director Enrico Centoze explained that Grimmuseum’s non-commercial incentives as a project space, designed to foster and promote the growth of young artists, allows it to take bigger risks with its shows than a gallery would. Kline’s work supports this claim. Perhaps at first glance, urban Berliners seem a strange audience for work whose content is explicitly tied to the historical and cultural quarks of small-town America. But through well-executed mediation and stimulating visuals, Kline appropriates the sense of familiarity in a way that is accessible to everyone, successfully creating a “home away from home”.

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