Patrice Aphrodite Helmar '15 in Group Exhibit at C.G. Boerner

BY Audrey Deng, March 27, 2020

Alumna Patrice Aphrodite Helmar ’15 is part of a group exhibit in New York titled Zwang. C.G. Boerner, the gallery hosting this exhibit, is currently closed due to COVID-19 related concerns, but remains available by phone or email.

Zwang takes its name from the German word which lacks a succinct English equivalent; the gallery’s press release describes their interpretation of “zwang” as “a controlling influence coming from the outside vs. a powerful inner need to act in a specific, predetermined way.” With this definition of the contradictory term in mind, the projects curated in this show by Kylie Manning communicate ideas of restriction and strength while adding an abstract element of play. “Each artist thereby utilizes Zwang to unveil and share secret moments that otherwise might have been missed,” the gallery writes.

Helmar is currently a visiting assistant professor at the Pratt Institute, where she teaches courses on photography. She has also taught at Columbia University. She is an artist and independent curator who lives and works in New York City, where she founded the Backyard Biennial, built on a DIY aesthetic in 2017. In 2016, she founded and continues to curate the Marble Hill Camera and Supper Club.

Helmar's work has appeared internationally, including at the Jewish Museum, National Museum of Iceland, Houston Center for Photography, New York Photo Festival, BOSI Contemporary, Fisher Landau Center, Judith Charles Gallery, and the Anchorage Museum. Helmar was a nominee for the Rema Hort Mann and Gordon Parks Prize, and a recipient of a Rasmuson Foundation Fellowship. Her work is included in public and private collections including the Centre Pompidou Library, Rasmuson Foundation, Juneau Douglas City Museum, Duke University, and the Barnard Zine Library.

Zwang is scheduled to close on March 31. It’s unclear at this time if there will be a postponement due to the COVID-19 closure.