Comprised of seventy-five works, this retrospective at The Studio Museum in Harlem, which opened in the summer of 2014, represents the first survey of the early work of conceptual artist Charles Gaines.
As part of the exhibition design strategy, Chu ¬ Gooding created a vestibule effect at the entrance: a tall, light blue-green painted wall that evoked cooling waters, a welcome transition for museumgoers coming inside from the hot, humid streets of Upper Manhattan.
The challenge was to allow for the works to be viewed both from a distance and up close to fully appreciate the artist’s process.
To combat the unusual characteristics of the space, including low ceiling heights and a mezzanine level exhibiting the works of another artist, Chu ¬ Gooding calibrated margins and spatial dimensions to give the works enough “air” from the intruding architectural features and the concurrent exhibition upstairs — while at the same time accommodating the density of works befitting a rich representation of the artist’s first major solo exhibition.
By tuning the colors throughout the gallery, Chu ¬ Gooding was able to carve out distinct spaces so that each series could be experienced in its entirety before moving on to the next.
The brilliant white of the tallest wall highlighted the large-scale series Numbers and Trees, while muted neutral tones elsewhere in the gallery lent visual weight to the wall mass and niches, supporting prints of text, color, and black and white photographs.