Keep for Old Memoirs

May 21 - June 7, 2020
Guest co-curator Celine Mo, Managing Partner, VICTORI+MO Gallery, New York City, NY 

Participating artists:
Ali Silverstein (Los Angeles, CA)
Alia Ahmad (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Austin Furtak-Cole (Washington, VT)
Aviv Benn (Chicago, IL)
Becca Barolli (Hayward, CA)
Bex Massey (London, UK)
Billy Frolov (Los Angeles, CA)
Cathleen Clarke (Brooklyn, NY)
ChaeWon Moon (Brooklyn, NY)
David B. Smith (Brooklyn, NY)
Giorgio Celin (Barcelona, Spain)
Jacqueline Surdell (Chicago, IL)

Jen Dwyer (Wassaic, NY)
Katherine Feldman (Milwaukee, WI)
Lizbeth Mitty (Brooklyn, NY)
Lucia Riffel (Tallahassee, FL)
Marie Dahlstrand (Gothenburg, Sweden)
Meryl Pataky (Oakland, CA)
Nicolas Holiber (Brooklyn, NY)
Nicole McLaughlin (Kansas City, MO)
Paul Anagnostopoulos (Merrick, NY)
Rachel Dinwiddie (Little Chute, WI)
Russna Kaur (Vancouver, BC)
Sidney Mullis (State College, PA)


Young Space is pleased to present "Keep for Old Memoirs," co-curated by Kate Mothes (Founder, Young Space) and Celine Mo, Managing Partner of VICTORI+MO Gallery, and presenting the work of 24 artists from around the world. In a range of early-career and emergent practices, this collection of work explores the idea of identity, culture, mythology--both historically and how we generate our own mythologized identities through memories of childhood experience and our cultures and subcultures. The title, inspired by a Bettye Saar artwork, "Keep for Old Memoirs" [sic] from 1976, references the preserving and storing of personal effects and artifacts. Each artist in this exhibition in some way addresses the accumulation of history, memory, and mythology.

Curatorial Statements:

Celine Mo:

These past few weeks have been an especially dark time for me, wondering if the gallery would survive the shutdown and being overcome with feelings of sadness and frustration thinking about everyone affected by this pandemic. Does art matter when the world is falling apart? How can I be so selfish for worrying about the gallery when people are dying all around? As I was going through all the submissions, I was slowly lifted out of my dark cloud and reminded of the inspiration that art provides. Learning about all these different practices and remembering that when the world emerges from this tragedy, artists will be there to make sense of it all and piece it back together.

It was such an incredible experience being a part of this open call and I have Kate Mothes of Young Space to thank for that. Thinking about the conversations that will emerge, the memories that are formed and the stories that will be told, all our experiences become part of our collective history and how we choose to understand that history will be determined by artists.

Celine Mo
Managing Partner, VICTORI+MO Gallery, New York, NY

Kate Mothes:

Back in mid-March, as the response to COVID-19 suddenly amplified and travel restrictions and shutdowns come on with frankly alarming swiftness, I found myself at a bit of a loss about how to proceed via Young Space, especially the online exhibition. Would everyone be too busy? Did it feel “right?” My first instinct was to postpone it for a few months, maybe just skip this iteration altogether. While I was trying to figure out how to get home from an ill-timed trip to the UK, and not really sure what I’d do when I arrived home, my instinct was to keep busy. It felt impossible to gauge what the scope of the pandemic was, but as the days passed, co-curator Celine Mo and I discussed whether to continue with this iteration of the project, it was perhaps prescient to recall that the internet is a global connecting place, and if anything, we were going to be online a lot more than we were used to, and in different ways.

It turned out that the response for this particular exhibition demonstrated artists’ desire to keep sharing work, and the plethora of virtual viewing rooms that museums and galleries have rolled out are a testament to how essential visibility and We’re in a period that will enter history books, and personally, I look forward to a time when we can look back on this with clearer hindsight, to hopefully learn some things.

This idea of looking back, whether short term or long, kept occurring to me as Celine and I were reviewing the applications. Themes that naturally emerged from the selections related to memory, childhood, identity, culture, and mythology. I was fascinated by the varied ways in which numerous artists in this exhibition delved into these intersecting concepts. For me, “looking back” does not always have to be relegated to the sentimentality of nostalgia, and can teach us about ourselves, our relationships, and our way of being in the world. Looking back is like plunging a bucket into a well of accrued memory, knowledge and wisdom, and if we can put it to good use, we will always learn so much. As artists, and as a community, it’s befitting to look ahead, and reassuring that art is perfectly positioned to respond and make change.

Kate Mothes
Founder/Curator, Young Space