Revisiting last week’s most popular post – looking back at last year’s solo exhibition by Sydney artist Jasper Knight, who presented a body of work themed on the 1964/65 New York World Fair – with the exhibition a sell-out prior to opening at the artist-run Chalk Horse Gallery.

Exploring a cultural turning point – works depicting Richard Johnson’s moderninst architecture of the site, & the birth of the American muscle car – the Ford Mustang – belying the cultural affects of the emergence of Pop Art.

It was to be the first public outing of Pop Art – but the Warhol commissioned by Richard Johnson ultimately never went to air – sparking ongoing debate re the validity of Pop Art.

“The architecture of the fair also fits well to Knight’s broader practice. Some of Knight’s most successful works have been his industrial landscape: wharves, cranes, bollards, and columns. What drives these works is a process of declassing or morphing, where Knight takes the strong and solid and turns it into liquid and soft. This process can be seen clearly in Stained Glass Support System. The wharves work so well because sometimes the bollards become more liquid than the harbour itself or subtly shift between the two states water/ground, bollard/liquid. Knight’s actual surfaces also partake in this declassing; the strong gridded, industrial ground becomes layered, erased and more organic.
The New York Fair is now also declassed. It is a ruin, a marker of a past moment or an architectural artefact. Beside the volunteer efforts of architecture students the Flushing Meadows site is a now forgotten remnant of a lost American dream. Used famously in Men in Black and now Iron Man 2, it represents something, something a little out of the ordinary and idiosyncratic, but it has lost its power to imagine a perfect future for our united post war world. Knight for his part equivocates. The work is hopeful and free, like a modernist, gestural dream. It is also nostalgic and yearning for a past that may not return.