Hillerbrand + Magsamen Playing House
February 13 – May 31, 2015 // Muñoz Waxman Gallery
Playing House features collaborative husband and wife artist team Hillerbrand + Magsamen. Based in Houston, Texas, their work draws upon the Fluxus practice of incorporating humor, performance, video, and everyday objects. Working with their two children, they expand their personal family life into a contemporary art conversation about family identity and consumer culture which they call “suburban fluxus.” For Playing House, the family makes a temporary home in the gallery and presents aspects of their daily life, routines, and rituals through new and previous works including video, sculptures, photography, installation, and interactive media.
The exhibition is grounded by a blueprint of Hillerbrand+Magsamen's home drawn onto the floor of the main gallery using playing field chalk. As time passes and audiences move through the gallery, the house disappears. A kitchen table, a loveseat, even the family's vacuum cleaner become elements of a larger conversation about home, relationship, individuality, and the struggle to stay together. Large scale photos depict mandalas made with the children's toys while a video shows the family trying to assemble a similar design out of broken dishes while the earth shakes the fragments and the family members further from the center. When everyone has their own wants, needs, and life circumstances, how can a family find stability?
The collaborative husband/wife team of Mary Magsamen and Stephan Hillerbrand has been working together over the past several years after meeting at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Stephan Hillerbrand is now assistant professor of art and art history at the University of Houston, and Mary Magsamen is curator at Aurora Picture Show. Their work has been included in group exhibitions and screenings nationally and internationally including solo exhibitions at the Butler Institute of American Art and the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia. Their work has recently been in group exhibitions at LA Freewaves Film and Video Festival, The Center for Photography at Woodstock, the Boston Center for the Arts and the Ann Arbor Film Festival. They were awarded the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Residency in New York City at The Woolworth Building, a residency at the Experimental Television Center and an Ohio Arts Council Individual Creativity Award. Their work was exhibited in Santa Fe at Currents New Media Festival in 2013. http://hillerbrandmagsamen.com