AIR_(space) Project is an outdoor gallery space hosted by Unrequited Leisure Gallery and is located in the courtyard of The Packing Plant, in Nashville, TN. The works shown on the pole feature artists who explore the flag as a critical and topical medium and are driven thematically around issues related to both the environment and utopian / dystopian futures.
Unrequited Leisure acknowledges that our gallery, which includes this flagpole, occupies the ancestral and traditional Lands of the Cherokee and Shawnee peoples. We recognize, support, and advocate for the Indigenous individuals and communities who live here now, and for those forcibly removed from their Homelands.
May 7 – 31
First Saturday Flag Raising Reception, May 7, 5-8pm
About the Artist
Maria Molteni (They/She, b 1983, Nashville) is a queer transdisciplinary artist, educator and mystic. They are the grandchild of Tennessee square dancers, stunt motorcyclists, quilters, beekeepers and opera singers of various European backgrounds. Their practice has grown from formal studies in Painting, Printmaking and Dance to incorporate research, ritual and play-based collaboration. About the Artist
Molteni enjoys tactile and tactical problem solving, giving shape to the unseen. From fiber to found-object sculpture, textile to video, performance to publication, they choose media that combine conceptual rigor, formal satisfaction and spiritual depth. Their intuitive practice spans movement-based and diagrammatic ritual alchemy, astrology, tarot, dreamwork and color magic. Molteni pictures themself as a Phys Ed coach for visionary communities like Shakers, Bauhaus or Black Mountain College.
Molteni has exhibited at numerous galleries and museums as well as basements, meadows, sidewalks and seascapes across the globe. More formal institutions include The Momentary Contemporary Art Museum (Bentonville, AK), MFA & ICA Boston (MA), Project Rowhouses (Houston, TX), Den Frei Contemporary Art Center (Copenhagen, Denmark), Harvard University’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts (Cambridge, MA), NGBK (Berlin), Fruitlands Museum (Harvard, MA), Museum of Design (Atlanta, GA), Conduit Gallery (Dallas, TX), Flower Head (LA, CA), Fuller Craft Museum (Brockton, MA), and Fitchburg Art Museum (Fitchburg, MA) and Space Gallery (Portland, ME).
Molteni’s flag initiates a new material direction and conceptual body of work, in which they playfully respond to the historic Italian-born movement known as Memphis Design. A Nashville-born artist and designer with Milanese ancestry, Molteni finds humor and resonance in the design group’s cross-referencing of their own cultural roots. But whereas Memphis Design forged a visionary connection between Memphis, TN and the ancient Egyptian “Pholemaic Kingdom”, Nashville, as “the Athens of the South” tends to be linked to Ancient Greece via phenomena like our epic replica of the Parthenon.
This work aims to celebrate cross-cultural exchange, but it also allows for deeper research and critical analysis. Molteni aims to explore patterns of colonization and the complex entanglement and nuances within cultural theft, appropriation and mimicry. While philosophers of Ancient Greece are disproportionately credited for wisdom learned from largely destroyed Egyptian Mystery Schools, Nashville has enjoyed a reputation and wealth as “Music City USA” built upon music styles largely developed by Black musicians in Memphis and throughout the South.
Molteni’s own knowledge and awareness connected to these histories unfolds through the creation of this work with appreciation for nuance and intersectionality imbedded in such cultural and geographical relationships.
April 2 – 30
Flag raising reception during the WeHo Arts Crawl Saturday April 2, 4-7pm
About the Artist
Donna Woodley is a visual artist whose works primarily discuss the relationship between Black culture and American culture. The figure in her paintings is confrontational towards the visibility and value of black people within American society, both historically and in a contemporary context. The exploration of human connection and the importance of every individual’s story is what primarily represents the themes of Donna’s work. A significant part of her process involves the enlistment of men and women that she knows, including herself. This allows her to evaluate the complexity of human emotions and relationships and to render the figure accordingly. Informed by stereotypes, cultural similarities and differences, perceptions of beauty, mental health, and esteem, Donna’s work often uses subtle humor to create an environment conducive to healthy dialogue. She currently resides in Nashville, TN, where she maintains her practice and is an educator of art.
Mary Addison Hackett
March 5 – 31
Flag raising reception during the WeHo Arts Crawl Saturday March 5, 4-7pm
Was told I need to lighten up Life is short I am happy being INTENSE
acrylic paint on fabric
This hand painted flag on fabric is part of Hackett’s solo exhibition, Anonymous was a Vlog and kick’s off Women’s History Month!
The series title is in reference to a quote by Virginia Wolf in her essay, A Room of One’s Own: “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” This exhibition features 21 episodes that run on a monitor within the space on constant loop. Each vignette ranging in length from 40 seconds to 4 minutes.
About the Artist: Mary Addison Hackett has an autobiographical practice documenting the banalities of everyday life. Within these banalities are issues of gender, memory, family history, and place. She has received grants and awards from the Desert X Artist Relief Fund, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. Her work has been critically reviewed by Christopher Knight in the Los Angeles Times and featured in Float Magazine, Burnaway, New American Paintings, n+1 magazine, Two Coats of Paint, The Tennessean, Hyperallergic, and The Nashville Scene, among others.
Riv (River Curry)
February 5 – March 5, 2022
Perpetual Gender Expansion, acrylic, nylon, fabric, 2021
“Perpetual Gender Expansion is a painting of several Beings exploring and wandering around a Trans Pride flag. The design riffs on the original design of the flag, using its symmetry to set a dynamic scene. Two Beings meet in the middle sharing the joy that is the spiral of life and the perpetual expansion of self. I hope one day we look back at this time-period with the same curiosity we do old smile-less Victorian photographs. Where our terms for gender are known to be us standing still just long enough to be remembered in a future time. I hope today you can take a moment to consider the fluidity of your own gender and the fluidity of oneself.”
About the Artist:
Riv (River Curry) was born and raised in the Tampa Bay area. They studied Art at Florida State University and Design / Build Architecture in the University of Utah’s DesignBuildBLUFF Program. They currently work in the field of Letterpress and Printmaking and in their spare time, they perform as a Drag King and hangout with their dog, Zero and cat, Hiccup.
December 4 – January 23, 2021
This too shall pass, cotton and indigo fabric, 2021
Nicole Kutz is a painter and independent curator whose work has been exhibited in galleries, corporate institutions and private collections throughout the world. She received her MFA in 2017 from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a concentration in painting. Her work meditates on life’s transience by using handmade pigments to create ethereal abstract worlds. She frequently draws inspiration from Wabi-sabi and ultimately finds beauty in the work’s imperfections. In addition to her art practice, she was the Chief Curator of Loupe, an online art streaming service, and worked as the curatorial assistant for art advisor, Victoria Burns. Nicole currently resides in Nashville, TN.
When life feels overwhelming, my mother always says, “this too shall pass”. The saying has become rather loaded for me – on one hand, it is a reminder that the dark times will be behind you, but on the other, it reminds us that our memories will someday fade.
The phrase has been on loop for me recently, as I have been struggling with change and feeling secure. My December flag pays homage to my current transitional state and represents the fleeting nature of our existence. Created using indigo dye on cotton, the piece is meant to change over the course of the volatile winter weather. It will eventually tatter, shrink, bleed and fade away. Yet in spite of being less equipped for this environment, it will still fly. It may look different, but perhaps by weathering the storms, it will become even more beautiful.
My hope is that the flag offers solace to those passing by and reminds them that all of our experiences, both good and bad, accumulate to create a beautiful existence.
August 7-31, 2021
Cloud Flag, nylon fabric, 2021
In conjunction with their solo exhibition, The play’s the thing, hosted inside of the gallery, Liz Clayton Scofield presents, Cloud Flag. Within this body of works they utilize the convention of a staged “play” to explore the ways in which identity can be viewed as a performance and through a relationship, between sculpture and video, they poetically design a DIY guide on social constructions related to living in a queer body.
About the Artist:
[they/them/their] is a cloud, an orange, and a sonnet, seeking like- minded nebulous accumulations, citrus fruits, and poetic forms to play with across skies, trees, and pages. They are an interdisciplinary artist, writer, wanderer, play advocate, and collaborator. Their creative practice involves a lived performance in collaboration with tiny toy versions of themself, where they explore how to play, how to be a cloud, how to connect with others, how to eat an orange, and how to love, among other things. Their work has been featured in publications including Number, Nashville Arts, Wussy, and Dinner Bell. Exhibitions and performances include Cucalorus Festival, SeedSpace, Fuller Projects, and Noise Gallery. They have been an artist-in-residence with Cucalorus, the School of Making Thinking, Lazuli, and the JHU-MICA Film Centre. They hold an MFA in digital art from Indiana University, Bloomington, and a made-up BA from Vanderbilt University.
July 3 – July 31, 2021
Hand of Action, Hand of Pause, embroidered fabric, 2021
Flags are tangible displays of identity, purpose, and pursuit. They define borders, carry intention, and transmit meaning. Hand of Action, Hand of Pause, is a flag about water protection. The central river flows, with the superimposed hand protective in front of it. The sun and moon stand in the same gold as the hand, symbolizing the natural interconnectedness necessary to the warrior presence, and the constant vigilance that must be maintained through cycles: day to night, from full moon to empty, across the years.The central eye is both witness and awareness, red like the protective border that edges the flag’s motifs. As a culturally assertive, action-oriented color in Wazhazhe symbolism, the color red used here is to call notice to the blood shed over water rights as beings have stood in the path of those who would desecrate the sacredness of land. Red also calls forth the matriarchal power and female energy that has been present within this struggle, with women as leaders who also flow in natural cycle.
Lastly, the white background is for purity, for embracing hope for the waters to remain so or to become pure again.
About the Artist:
Kelley’s civic and social practice work focuses on sustainability for artists at all levels, through creative placemaking, civic consulting, community development, advocacy, equitable access, and mentorship in the intersections of creativity, technology, and innovation, with a focus on activating creative community workspaces and creating space for creative disruption. They are a graduate of The Learning Lab, the Racial Equity in Arts Leadership Institute, and Vanderbilt’s Leading Innovation in Arts and Culture, and a member of the Metro Nashville Committee for Antiracism and Racial Equity. Driven by themes of communication and borderlands archivism, their work explores the ways in which people of color (especially those of mixed descent) navigate, generate, and hold space for cultural memory, traditional practices, place, and leadership in forward progress.
Cristina Molina + Jonathan Traviesa
May 15 – June 15, 2021
Florida Flags (from the Sad Tropics series), Archival pigment print on flag fabric
This series of 5 flags created by artists Cristina Molina + Jonathan Traviesa, will be raised in rotation and change each week of the exhibition. Originally exhibited as part of a photo + video installation titled, Sad Tropics, these flag works explore the idea of “utopian escape” and signify the “psychological landscape of paradise.” The exhibition’s title was inspired by Claude Levi-Strauss’s book Tristes Tropiques, and was featured in Art in America and BURNAWAY.
About the Artists:
Cristina Molina is a visual artist who hails from the subtropics of Miami and currently lives and works in New Orleans—two precarious terrains that have thematically influenced her practice. Spanning performance, video installation, photography, and textile design, Molina’s artwork is set amongst vulnerable landscapes both real and imagined. Using the language of magical realism, her artworks reshape and centralize little-known narratives to upend dominant histories.
Molina’s projects have been supported by the National Association for Latino Arts and Culture, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Last year, Molina was one of 61 artists selected for the national exhibition State of the Art 2020 at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Previously, her work has been featured at the New Orleans Museum of Art, Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, The Polk Museum, New Orleans Film Festival, and Syros International Film Festival. From 2014-20 Molina was a member of the New Orleans artist-run project, The Front where she regularly curated artwork, and co-organized The Front’s annual juried film festival. Cristina Molina is Associate Professor and Gallery Director at Southeastern Louisiana University where she received the 2018 President’s Award for Excellence in Artistic Activity and is the current recipient of the Viola Brown Endowed Professorship in Visual Arts and Dramatic Arts.
Jonathan Traviesa is a photographer and artist living in New Orleans since the late 1990s, and has been teaching photography at Tulane University for the last five years. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in New Orleans, Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, and Tokyo. Traviesa is a founding member of The Front gallery and released his first book, “Portraits” with a concurrent exhibition at The Front during October and November of 2009. As part of Photonola, Traviesa received the New Orleans Photo Alliance’s inaugural Michael P. Smith Grant Award, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art exhibited a selection of his portraits from the book. His work is collected publicly at the Ogden and at The New Orleans museum of Art and privately at the Jimmy Club, The Saratoga Collection, and The Paramount Building.
April 3- 30, 2021
Flag for National Days of Rest
Linen blend with appliqué, hand painted fabric dye, machine and hand stitching
63” x 36”
Jack Michael is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, public speaker, and adventure motorcyclist whose work studies the dynamics of utopian longing, ambition, and failure in the context of empathy. Since 2019, Michael’s studio practice has been organized around a living work of fiction titled, The Manual for Neocadia, and her Flag for National Days of Rest, is one in a series of flags, that she designed in response to this work which details a feminist eco-centric utopian society.