About the Exhibition

In One Bad Recipe, MAD’s Summer 2017 Van Lier Fellow Ilana Harris-Babou combines video and ceramic sculpture for an abject exploration of the American Dream, defined by the increasingly shaky notion that hard work, entrepreneurialism, and ingenuity will amount to upward mobility in the always uncertain future. For her Fellow Focus exhibition, Harris-Babou creates a hybrid space that is equal parts kitchen and toolshed, examining how an artist’s studio might be similar to other, domestic spaces of creation. In her 2016 video Cooking with the Erotic, Harris-Babou draws upon Audre Lorde’s notion of eroticism as a source of personal and political power as inspiration for an absurdist cooking show. The video is displayed alongside a set of the artist’s “dysfunctional ceramics”: tools that ask viewers to reevaluate expectations of utility and elegance in everyday objects.

On view in the 6th-floor Project Space, One Bad Recipe is the second installation of the MAD Education Department’s Fellow Focus series. Dedicated to highlighting the work of alumni of the Van Lier Fellowship, part of MAD’s Artist Studios ProgramFellow Focus invites these emerging artists to showcase the artwork they produced while working in residence at the Museum. Funds for the Van Lier Fellowship are provided by the New York Community Trust Van Lier Fellowship Program, which supports talented, culturally diverse, economically challenged young people who are seriously dedicated to careers in the arts.

Ilana Harris-Babou’s multidisciplinary practice draws inspiration from music videos, cooking shows, and home improvement programs. She works primarily in ceramic sculpture and video installation, and frames messy scenes with studio lighting and HD video in order to ask questions about intimacy, violence, and consumption. Harris-Babou received an MFA in New Genres from Columbia University and a BA in Art from Yale University. She has exhibited her work throughout the United States and Europe.

One Bad Recipe is organized by Danny Orendorff, Manager of Public and Community Engagement Programs for the MAD Education Department.

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