Christopher K. Ho: Happy Birthday

Winkleman Gallery
January 10 – February 9, 2008
Opening: Thursday, January 10, 6 – 8 pm

Winkleman Gallery is pleased to announce Happy Birthday, our first solo exhibition by New York artist Christopher K. Ho. In five new pieces, Ho explores how collaboration, willing or not, between protagonists of the art world—artists, collectors, critics, and gallerists—ascribe aesthetic and monetary value to an artist’s work.

Happy Birthday culminates and continues Ho’s decade-long collaborative practice. In all but one work, Happy Birthday to Jen, Ho approaches collaboration as the basic condition of possibility for contemporary art. This approach does not diverge from his previous, literal, collaborations with other artists, so much as evidences a more complex understanding of collaboration an inherent characteristic of almost all art to be made manifest. Each work systematically and often humorously interrogates the inter-subjective relations between pairs of protagonists (artist-artist, artist-gallerist, gallerist-collector, and artist-critic). Additionally, the viewing public is implicated in Happy Birthday from Nuit and Happy Birthday to Mrs. X, which exist partially through word-of-mouth.

Happy Birthday consists predominantly of hints of previous transactions or agreements: a red dot accompanying the exhibition’s title; an anachronistic catalogue featuring sited, ephemeral works that have been re-dated and retroactively priced; an actual birthday party during the opening reception; and a rumor (or two) about a change in gallery ownership. Ho’s exhibition operates within the prevalent context of commercial art, even as it largely denies the viewer the conspicuous signifiers of such a context. Rather than obvious items for sale or contemplation, the gallery is empty except for a somewhat hidden, monochromatic life-sized sculpture of the gallerist, Edward Winkleman, in his “birthday suit.”

As art historian and critic Nuit Banai notes in her accompanying catalogue essay, “Ho not only gives up any notion of the integral author, but decenters the work and its meaning into an expanded field of mass-culturally produced protagonists, techniques, and supplements that simultaneously articulate, maintain, and subvert the logic of capital by both instantiating it and continuously deferring it.”

For more information, please contact Edward Winkleman at 212.643.3152 or