“Nature is a petrified magic city.” – Novalis
Our MAGIC CITY is a place and a non-place. It is not the physical city of brick and mortar but rather the urban space of internalized meanings. It is the city as subject and canvas, neither theme park nor stage set, but an exhibition showcasing some of the most original and celebrated artists working on and in the city today. Like the art it features, MAGIC CITY is a zone of unexpected encounters, art as born in interstice and the peripheral, appearing along those rips in the fabric of the ordinary where the extraordinary intrudes its wonderful illogic.
We believe that even the typical city is uncommon, and that the idiosyncrasies that make each city unique are collectively something they all have in common. This is then a celebration of the universal character of cities as well as a love letter to their infinite diversity. The special magic that comes from our cities is germinated in the mad sum of their improbable juxtapositions and impossible contradictions. We have asked these many artists to help us with an eye to the contrasts offered up by heterogeneity because the truth is not always a matter of common consent but is more likely forged in a crucible of difference and spoken in the polyglot.
We hope that the broad scope of expressions and practices evidenced between these artists, the full range of mediums and genres on display, the disjunctive scale here from the monumental to the minimal, and all the different strategies by which artists intervene in our normal experience of things to provoke and query the status quo, allows in its unruly mélange a kind of something-for-everyone show. Cities have been designed to facilitate work, but artists have transformed them into playgrounds for the imagination and ideas. This is the invitation called outside our window by friends and strangers with restless spirits: come out and play.
Carlo McCormick, Magic City Curator, July 2016