Caroline Woolard_Tender Rock











March 27 – May 10, 2024

The artist Caroline Woolard has long been interested in ceiling tiles as markers of bureaucratic control. Cheap and mass-produced, they can be found in offices across the globe. They are part of the architectural vernacular and as such they embody the uniformity of office culture and the ubiquity of capitalist modes of production. For this exhibition, she has made a series of rock formations that share the ceiling tile’s surface qualities. One grows from the grid like a bureaucratic stalactite; another sits on the floor, balancing two clay bowls [filled with water]. An “orrery for the body” this piece can be turned by a gallery attendant and will slowly rotate over the exhibition’s duration.

While their surface is like that of the ceiling tile, these organic, unique forms pervert the normativity of office spaces. Rocks are formed on a different timescale than that of capital’s urgent drive towards short-term profit. The earth’s gravitational force compresses dust, dirt and organic matter into impenetrable stone, and its atmospheric conditions sculpt and smooth their surfaces over millennia. Bureaucratic modernity understands time as linear, and converts it into disciplinary units; rocks keep time in a wholly different way. These objects, then, invite you into an alternative experience of time.

Woolard’s work is accompanied by a soundscore by violist Clara Takarabe. The work here was made possible by the caring labor of Leigh Claire La Berge, Susan Jahoda, Stephen Korns, Angela Moynihan, and by the fabrication and studio assistance of Nina Nichols and Mia Donalson. A performance with artist Athena Kokoronis (AKA Domestic Performance Agency) will take place on Thursday, April 18th from 12-1pm.

Caroline Woolard is the W.W. Corcoran Visiting Professor in Community Engagement and a founding co-organizer of She is the co-author of three books: Making and Being (Pioneer Works, 2019), a book for educators about interdisciplinary collaboration, co-authored with Susan Jahoda; Art, Engagement, Economy (onomatopee, 2020) a book about managing socially-engaged and public art projects; and TRADE SCHOOL: 2009-2019, a book about peer learning that Woolard catalyzed in thirty cities internationally over a decade. Woolard’s artwork has been featured twice on New York Close Up (2014, 2016), a digital film series produced by Art21 and broadcast on PBS.