– Autumn/Winter 2015

Park McArthur: Geometry, Material, Scale

Andrew Blackley

Park McArthur, Ramps, 2014. Installation view, ESSEX STREET, New York. Photograph: Adam Reich. Courtesy the artist and ESSEX STREET


Some things refute beginning or end. Upon encounter, we come to know them only partially; either they or we are continually in the interim. One artwork of this kind is Carried & Held, which happens to be the first by Park McArthur that I became aware of, as part of the exhibition ‘Maintenance Required’ at The Kitchen in New York in 2013.1 The work continues to change every time it is installed or otherwise presented, and as such has remained present as one subtext of McArthur’s practice in the years since, often acting as a lens through which to view concurrent works.

At The Kitchen, Carried & Held took the form of a vertical wall caption. The label listed the title of the work, the year of its realisation (2013), the medium (flatbed UV print on museum board) and the courtesy line. The courtesy line included the artist’s name followed by Margaret Herman, Alexandra McArthur, John McArthur, Walker Herman, Mary Herman, Gayle McArthur... and, by that point in 2013, some two hundred others who have carried or held the artist’s body. At the time of writing, the work lists over 250 individuals.2


  1. 'Maintenance Required', The Kitchen, New York, 10 May—22 June 2013, curated by Nina Horisaki- Christians, Andrea Neustein, Victoria Rogers and Jason Waite, and including works by Michael Bramwell, Goldin+Senneby, Ashley Hunt, Masaru Iwai, Yve Laris Cohen, Sam Lewitt, Park McArthur, Salvage Art Institute, Karin Sander, Taryn Simon, Pilvi Takala and Mierle Laderman Ukeles. In total, Carried & Held has been made public on five occasions.

  2. Carried & Held, 2015, courtesy of the artist and Margaret Herman, Alexandra McArthur, John McArthur, Walker Herman, Mary Herman, Gayle McArthur, Rob Wilusz, Mary Doster Whitacker, Bill and Judy Whitaker, Clarence McArthur, Ann Gayle Rankin, Nancy Herman, Tom Herman, Emily Simon, Cherry Simon, Clem Herman, Johanna Herman, Cesar Maldonado, Emery Herman Jr, Amy Mathys, Peter Freehafer, Verde Barringer, Rosie Molinary, Betsy Kelleher, Dr. Shen, Emily Mangone, Sally Otvos, Jenny Otvos, Christine Byun, Gal Nyska, Catherine Walker, Jeremy Freifeld, Jane Dalton, Duna Norton, Meredith Steele, Janine Hoffmann , Jesse Sharp-Williams, Amanda Matles, Laurie Dunn, Laura Case, Crawford Crenshaw, L.C., Bob Giduz, Mona, Loretta Shaia , Nancy McMillian, Melissa Berry, Bob Lees, Bonnie Wright , Kathleen Cour, Laura Gerhardt, Stanley in China, Angie Wright, Jim McArthur, Ming an Lee, Murphy, Jeffie Change, Lauren Lopez , Henry Weil, Middleton Chang, Pete, Unknown Taiwanese Businessman, Melissa Bandy, Derek Lundberg, Wendy McArthur, Leigh, Bradford McArthur, Chip Schantz, Brent McCormick, David Prince , Ben Fain, Cybele Lyle, Darren Price, Madelyn Moyer, Owen Fitzpatrick, Becca Fitzpatrick, Audrey Hynes, Tom McArthur, Kathleen Hudspeth, Carrie Saxton, Adler Guerrier, David Saxton, Willy Hoffmann, Tara Thananetapon, Li Lu, Laura Schulenborg, Becky Nolin, Jen Pike, Michael Just, Jessica Sanders, Kavin Tedamrongwanish, Bethany Pelle , Hannah Heckner, Nicol Mader, Nicole Mader's boyfriend fiancée, Ceaphas Stubbs, Ann Rath, Fred Rath, W Mae Singerman, all the young men who felt obligated but unsure in volunteering, Lorretta Fahrenholz, her dad, Bill Rath, David Rath, Inka Meißner, Tyler Bonnen, Tori Cole, Rebecca Wood, Maxwell Graham, Tom Ackers, Trista Mallory, Michelle Levin, Jason Loebs, Theresa Smith, Tina Zavitsanos, Amalle Dublon, s.o.'brien, Sky Hall, Yve Laris Cohen, Kristina Bramwell, Krista Heiner, David Crane, Joe Madura, Nate Harrison, Allan Chang, Kiwan Bigelow, Benedicte Henschien, Lisa Fulenwider, Daisy Figueroa, Bronwyn Charlton, Brooks Girsch, Jessica Rodriguez, Sarah Cantrell, Rachel Heckner, Jeremiah Beaverly and the Director of the Ali Forney Center, Laura Waldman, Henry Van Wagenberg, Stephanie Culhane, Barnett Cohen, Anna Lineback, Billie Lynn, Crystal Campbell, Dana Schrenk, Carey McArthur, Jeannine Tang, the guy from Chinese class at Chiuhung's apartment in Miami, Diana Valbuena, Emily Case, Eryn, Greta in Cooperstown, Hadley Smith, Oscar Tillman, Padraig O'Donoghue, Karl Jiang, Kendall Patterson, Lucy Marcil, Mitch Blessing, Kurt from Hudson Mobility, Bradford's friend from Norway, Akemi Nishida, Kristy Hayden, all the airline staff, attendants, and occasional captain, Ben Tiven, Peter Daniel, Tim Saltarelli, Amber Hawk Swanson, Pam and Gary Shinn, Kim McArthur, Sandy McArthur, Naomi Safran-Hon, Cindy McArthur, Cassie McArthur, Terry and Dan, Whitney's parents, Alice Garland and Rodney Swink, the midwife, Mary Lou of the sandwich shop, Denise Notch, Apex Middle School Janitor, Noelle Nemick, Ash Ferlito, Peter Freehafer, Lisa Freehafer, Cherry Grove Fire Island Captain, Ashley Griffith now different last name, Chris Aque, Lindsay Caplan, Sonya Dyer, Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyen, 2 people living across the apartment at UM, Cyrus Atkins, David Johnson, Nigel Wallace, Boots and Bill, Miss Jean, Em Rooney, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Logan Beitman, Keith at In Touch NYCPT, Jessica Kain, Adam Vollrath, Pat Nemick, Mr. Snively, Monica Cook, Mila Holy, Sarah Anderson, Domingo Castillo, Maria Rapicavoli, Christina Evans, Oliver Cano, Cammisa Bauerhaus, Aaron @ cage, Susie Frasier, Jack, Tara Hart, Daniel de la Rosa, Hope Svenson, Meredith James, Alex Fleming, Ben Tiven's friend with recording studio from June, Cameron Rowland, Robert Snowden, Scott Ponick, Emmy Levitas, J @ Reena Spaulings, James w/ Nu Motion, Jennifer Dasal, Adelita Husni-Bey, Alex Jung, Caroline Key, Raymonda Rastegar, Sanjay Shah, Soyoung Yoon, Caitlyn Culbertson, Andrew Blackley, Sadia Shirazi, Kin Choi, Jason Hirata, Dr. Wilson, Nurse with Dr. Wilson, Nurses at Beth Israel ER 1/25/15- 1/26/15, Kelley Mathys, Tom Blood, Ron, Rich of Nu Motion, Dorris, Ted Christensen, Jennifer Burris.

  3. Ovid, quoted in Terrance Hayes, Wind in a Box, New York: Penguin Books, 2006, p.xi.

  4. 'Ramps', ESSEX STREET, New York, 12 January—23 February 2014.

  5. This could be read as a gesture of courtesy, although it is also a legal requirement: since 12 October 2012, New York City Law Number 2012/047 requires inaccessible building entrances, public toilets and elevators to give directions, phone numbers or other instructions as to the nearest available accessible entrance or facility.

  6. See Daniel S. Palmer's interview with Park McArthur, 'Against Accommodation', Mousse, no.47, February 2015, pp.174—82 and 190—92.

  7. See Adrian Piper, 'Cornered: A Video Installation Project', in Zoya Kocur and Simon Leung (ed.), Theory in Contemporary Art since 1985, Malden: Blackwell, 2005, pp.182—86.

  8. Marta Russell is best known for Beyond Ramps: Disability at the End of the Social Contract: A Warning from an Uppity Crip (Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1998). The URL of the Wikipedia entry was affixed to the wall of the gallery using vinyl letters.

  9. ‘Park McArthur’ (press release), Yale Union, Portland, Oregon, 5 September—19 October 2014, http://yaleunion.org/mcarthur/ (last accessed on 4 August 2015). (The text has been revised by the artist on the occasion of this publication.)

  10. Conversation with the artist, summer 2015.

  11. Nathaniel Mackey, Paracritical Hinge: Essays, Talks, Notes, Interviews, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2005, p.4.

  12. 'Passive Vibration Isolation' (press release), Lars Friedrich, Berlin, 20 September—1 November 2014, http://www.larsfriedrich.net/rosa-luxemburg.html (last accessed on 4 August 2015).

  13. Hortense J. Spillers, 'Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: An American Grammar Book', Black, White, and in Color: Essays on American Literature and Culture, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003, p.206.

  14. Park McArthur, 'Sort of Like a Hug: Notes on Collectivity, Conviviality, and Care', in Isla Leaver-Yap (ed.), The Happy Hypocrite — Heat Island, issue 7, London: Book Works, 2014, p.49.

  15. Ibid., p.51.

  16. See Clarence J. Sundram, ‘The Measure of a Society: Protection of Vulnerable Persons in Residential Facilities Against Abuse and Neglect’, December 2011, available at http://s3.documentcloud.org/ documents/327142/ny-abuse-report.pdf (last accessed on 26 July 2015). It was announced earlier this year that the site will be expanded and developed into a senior housing project (currently under construction); before this development was made public, McArthur had actively and publicly entertained the idea of developing the site into a subsidised apartment building for care providers and receivers.

  17. 'The most profound expression of solidarity, it seems to me, is the recognition that the social and political conditions under which you live have an impact on the social and political conditions under which they live. And that strikes me as an absolute imperative if you happen to live in the United States.' Fred Moten, 'Duke Students for Justice in Palestine's (DSJP) second annual Israeli Apartheid Week', Duke University, Durham, NC, 6 March 2013, available online at https://soundcloud.com/ prshnth/fred-moten-on-the-academic (last accessed on 4 August 2015).

  18. Frank B. Wilderson III quoted in Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study, Wivenhoe, NY: Minor Compositions, 2013, p.94.