Artists Come Together for the Exhibition 'LOVE 2020: Perfect Vision'

BY Rakesh Palisetty, February 6, 2020

The opening reception for the LOVE 2020: Perfect Vision exhibition was held at the LeRoy Neiman Gallery at Columbia University on January 30th at 5:00pm. The reception was a packed and boisterous affair with many Columbia students, faculty, artists and members of the general public attending the event. 


LOVE 2020  is the third in the biennial series, held previously in 2016 and 2018 and is curated by Rachel Stern '16, an alumni of the Visual Arts MFA program. The exhibition is curated to overwhelm and it does exactly that as you enter the gallery. It makes you feel like the room is looking at you as much as you are looking at the walls and the art. Stern is an artist herself and she has curated the gallery into an immersive art piece, unlike a traditional art exhibit, bringing the visitors into the conversation with the art and the artists. 


The room was buzzing with joyful conversation and, might I say, love. As we are in the year 2020, the exhibit is titled “Perfect Vision”—pun intended—and explores the idea of love through the lens of sight. It asks: What does love look like to us now, be it a parent’s love for their child or a child’s love for a parent, love for the world we live in and for the world that can be, romantic love and forbidden love, love for oneself and love for others, love for beauty and death, and more. The first thing you notice as you walk in, are the walls of the room covered in wallpaper designed by Brian Jabs '16. They’re covered in renditions of neon coloured eyes peering eerily back at you. We are greeted with bright neon colours all around, which reminds one of the vibrancy of the 70’s and 80’s. 


The perspectives through which the artists are looking at love are vivid and varied, some are looking at it through a personal lens and some are looking through the collective lens of the society we live in. There is a lot of contradiction on display, and a certain amount of cynicism. It all leads us to question the problematic and individual nature of love in the 21st century, along with the artists. It forces us to ask where love is in conjunction with the what. Is it outside us or inside and where do we look for it? The exhibit indulges in decadence of sight with all the colours and visuals but also questions this very indulgence. One image in particular is a table full of beautiful looking food, with a dead rat in the midst. It truly is a crazy and eclectic conversation within you and without you. 


Rachel Stern brings a diverse group of artists to this crazy conversation. The artists were chosen by her with no particular rules in mind, she wanted different voices with different identities and backgrounds and includes artists from those she likes and admires to friends and family, all asking what love is in their own inimitable way. The artists include alumni and current students from the Visual Arts program. 


The exhibition will run January 21-February 14, Monday-Friday 9am-5pm at the LeRoy Neiman Gallery at Columbia University. Rachel Stern is also organizing a poetry reading to take place on Thursday, February 13, to coincide with the exhibition, the time for which will be announced soon. The idea of the reading is to connect as many different voices as possible to try and define the undefinable—LOVE—and will bring together poets from inside and outside of the Columbia community. 

January 21 - February 14

'LOVE 2020: Perfect Vision' Exhibition | Spring 2020

Leroy Neiman Gallery
310 Dodge Hall
2960 Broadway
New York, NY 10027 12:00 AM

LOVE 2020: Perfect Vision is the third biennial LOVE exhibition at Columbia University’s LeRoy Neiman Gallery. This series of exhibitions takes the form of a lively conversation between artists across generations, mediums, backgrounds, and contexts—all responding to the question: what does LOVE look like to you right now?

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