The Armory Show
Pier 92 Booth 443
March 7 – 10, 2013
For its booth presentation at the Armory Show 2013, Andrew Edlin Gallery is
pleased to exhibit a solo installation of Tom Duncan’s 2002 masterwork,
Dedicated to Coney Island.
At 73, Tom Duncan continues to create art based on his childhood memories. His process involves a repeated and painful return to his family's home in war-torn Scotland where he was born a few months before the outbreak of World War Two. Duncan grew up in an unpredictable world of bomb shelters, blackout curtains, rations, family strife, and a nearby German prisoner of war camp. His oeuvre extends far beyond wartime Scotland, to include his emigration to America in 1947. For Duncan, remembrance is not simply recollection or nostalgia, but more an invitation to conjure up the past–people, places, and events–the result of which amounts to nothing less than their virtual reincarnation.
Duncan's signature constellation of visual and thematic concerns are fully realized in several outstanding masterworks, of which the most notable to date is Dedicated to Coney Island. Having recently been on extended loan to Baltimore's American Visionary Art Museum, this giant three-dimensional scene is a vivid, fantastical recreation of the fabled New York City landmark, complete with moving parts. Conceived from the eyes of a child but with the mastery of an adult artist, Coney Island features real and imagined attractions. Beloved rides are set in motion such as the Wonder Wheel as well angels, devils, colorful bathers, and the elevated subway behind.
At a time when a kind of cultural amnesia seems to be the order of the day, in which young people lack real experience with war, and in which the diverse richness of places like Coney Island are being replaced by the corporate aesthetic of Disney, Duncan's work functions as an important record of the way the world once was.