Image: Curve, from the series Freight (2011), photographs taken onboard a container ship traveling from Israel to New Jersey, by Maayan Strauss.
Maayan Strauss is an artist based in Berlin and New York. Her multidisciplinary artistic practice examines infrastructure, labor, and mundane facilities and reflects on the nature and condition of artistic production.
Her recent project The Service Room was realized as part of the Session program Recess. Recent solo exhibitions include Seven Sinks at Andrea Meislin Gallery and I Love The Way You Use This at Louis B. James Gallery in New York. She is the founder and director of Container Artist Residency, an international artist residency that invites artists to travel internationally onboard cargo ships through partnerships with commercial shipping lines. She also founded Sushi Bar Gallery in Brooklyn; and serves as an editor at Art Handler, a magazine dedicated to the behind-the-scenes practices of the art world.
The Service Room
The Service Room, 2017, installation and web platform — realized as part of Recess’ Session program. A customized countertop includes functional design features—such as sinks, electric stovetop and oven, massage bed, and computer workstation—tailored to facilitate a host of possible communal service exchanges, scheduled through an online scheduling system.
The Service Room: Performance, 2017 — Four dancers perform a choreography which responds directly to the surfaces, fixtures, and objects on the ‘island.’ The performers move in couples, rotating among themselves in exchanges that incorporate typical gestures of domestic and work environments, as well as unexpected movements generated by the diverse facilities’ adjacency.
Text by Joshua Simon: Kitchen Sink Drama (commissioned as part of Recess’s Critical Writing program).
The installation consists of seven sinks installed in a large counter top, mounted with a large high resolution photograph of Carrera marble Strauss composed. The faucets run in different capacity: from a very light drip to strong flow, creating a rhythmic sound experience in the space. The project was made possible through a collaboration with Kohler, which received the invitation to contribute and turn their products into sculptural material.
Container Artist Residency
Container Artist Residency takes artists onboard commercial container carriers along existing international shipping routes. Hosting artists in the ships’ available cabins, this backstage pass provides firsthand encounter with maritime shipping.
An ongoing artwork, the Container Artist Residency challenges the traditional idea of studio residencies and invites artists to work within a unique intersection of industry and culture. The residency’s geographic location can only be defined in relation to the various shipping routes and the nexus of destinations that is the backdrop of global trade. Anchored in a context yet without a fixed physical location, Container foregrounds global commerce as the artist’s own immediate work environment.
The basic strategy and premise of the Container Artist Residency is using existing economic infrastructure as an infrastructure for cultural exchange. This exchange is achieved by forming collaboration with a maritime shipping company for each edition of the project. The company will be committed to facilitating the residency and being accountable for the artist time onboard. The company would ideally provide financial support to the project during the period of the limited partnership.
Departure, 2011, by Maayan Strauss
Land Cruiser, 2007, 9:55 minutes