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press release

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CTRL gallery is pleased to present Precarity and the Butter Tower, a group exhibition curated by Jackie Gendel and Tom McGrath.

During a recent trip to France, Jackie & Tom stayed in a hotel room with a view of the Rouen Cathedral. Most would simply marvel at the majestic façade, perhaps watch one of the evening laser-show 'spectacles' and leave it at that. But Jackie & Tom, confronted with the cathedral's layered history and complex socio-cultural significance, began to form a premise that ultimately developed into this exhibition.

In the early 16th century the Rouen Cathedral was given a 'makeover' that included a new tower being added to its right side. This new addition came to be known as the butter tower (Tour de Beurre), having been funded by donations from wealthy citizens in exchange for the privilege of eating butter during Lent. Even with this 'service charge', butter was less expensive than olive oil, which was tightly controlled and regulated at the time by the southern olive oil 'cartels'.

Also from the French is the term 'precarity' (precarité). This term has gained prominence lately in social movement struggles and has been defined as 'being unable to plan one's time, being a worker on call where your life and time is determined by external forces'. Precarity applies not only to migrant and seasonal laborers but also to the 'self-employed' and freelancers, which of course includes artists.

Precarity and the Butter Tower is an exhibition that explores the relationship between creative desire and material necessity from the perspective of the artist. Each artist in the show was invited to consider how and if 'precarity' manifests itself in their own work, studio practice and life. At the fore are questions regarding decades-old tensions about the 'professionalization' of the contemporary artist in relation to the more romantic myths of the autonomous Modern artist; The the tortured, reckless creative genius versus the productive, streamlined and market adept studio artist.

Precarity and the Butter Tower will remain on view through Saturday, June 26th.