Exhibition: Erica Baum - Off The Cuff

Erica Baum Off The Cuff March 16 - April 13, 2024



Bureau is proud to announce the inaugural exhibition at 112 Duane Street, Off The Cuff, by Erica Baum, the artist’s sixth solo show with the gallery, featuring her latest series, Fabrications.  

Over the past three decades, Erica Baum has focused her practice on capturing serendipitous instances of found poetry, incidental beauty, and humor, which would otherwise go unseen. The Fabrications series has grown out of the artist’s recent body of work, Patterns, which looks closely at the graphic qualities, textures, and compositions of the tissue-like printed layers of sewing guides. In looking for this type of vintage pattern over the past several years, Baum collected numerous specialty magazines from the 60s and 70s aimed at the domestic housewife, featuring fashion, sewing, cooking, and home hobby projects. These pages contained a wealth of material, from elegant and stylish spreads to positively zany handmade creatures. Baum’s photographic fabrications recognize and amplify the materiality of her subject matter—both the textiles depicted and the printed paper sources themselves. The new pieces are composed from fragments and slivers of the magazines’ pages, and the resulting works embody a mysterious or whimsical sense of elegance. Many of the greyscale works feature glimpses of the human figure reminiscent of those from her celebrated Naked Eye series. The more colorful works offer levity with vivid slashes of halftone color, filled with unusual materials and bizarre characters. 

While the idiom “off the cuff" is popularly understood as an expression suggesting improvisation, it evolved out of a need for certainty. The phrase’s apocryphal origin story comes from early 20th-century vaudeville, when actors scrawled words onto their detachable cuffs to remember their lines. The phrase's history, which once meant to stay on script but now means its opposite, resonates with Baum's playful manipulation of the printed word, and its unfolding meaning within the context of texture and fabric.

Baum’s Fabrications series is also the subject of her recently published, limited edition Artist Book with Three Star Books, Paris, which has been acquired by numerous institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Tate, London; Getty Museum, Los Angeles; The New York Public Library, New York; CCS Bard, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; Frac Sud, Marseille; among others. The gallery will host a reading with poets Kim Rosenfield and Laynie Browne in the exhibition on March 29th, 2024 at 6:30 PM. 

Erica Baum (b. 1961, New York;  lives and works in New York) received her MFA from Yale University and her BA from Barnard College. Recent solo exhibitions include the bite in the ribbon, Galerie Crevecoeur, Paris, 2022; A Method of a Cloak, Square is the Chatter, Galerie Markus Lüttgen, Düsseldorf, 2020; A Method of a Cloak, Klemm’s, Berlin, 2020; A Long Dress, Bureau, New York, 2019; The Following Information, Bureau, New York, 2016. Group exhibitions include Pictures & After, MAMCO Genève, Geneva, 2023; True Pictures?, Museum für Photographie Braunschweig, Braunschweig 2021; Pictures, Revisited, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2020; Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950–2019, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2019; Anna Atkins Refracted: Contemporary Works, The New York Public Library, New York, 2018; The Arcades: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin, The Jewish Museum, New York, 2017; Photo-Poetics: An Anthology, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 2015; Reconstructions: Recent Photographs and Video from the Met Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2015 and the 30th Bienal de São Paulo: The Imminence of Poetics, São Paulo, 2012. Her work is held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; MAMCO, Geneva; Albright‐Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; CNAP, Paris; FRAC Île de France, Paris; and Yale University Art Gallery, among others. 

Photography by GC Photo.