Christine Corday to Bring Protoist Series to LACMA

Art and science will intersect this month at the LACMA when Christine Corday: Protoist Series, Selected opens on December 13.  This will be the first solo presentation of Christine Corday’s art at an American museum.

What is a protoist, you ask?  According to the LACMA, it is a term coined by Corday herself to describe forms in and out of solid state, the state between the known and the unknown.  The two protoists to be displayed are UNE and KNOUN.  UNE was the first in the protoist series and was made from three tons of raw weathering steel.  It stands nearly nine feet tall with a 13-inch thick arc spanning more than 16 feet.

Quite unusual for an art display, guests are not only allowed, but also encouraged to touch the work in the Protoist Series.  They can also enter and walk upon the forms, as they are meant to be worn down over time by human interaction.

Says the LACMA, “UNE and KNOUN exist as recording devices. Every handprint that touches them will appear over time as rust, mapping an intimately individual yet shared public surface.”

Corday, who is originally from Maryland, didn’t study art in school; instead, she has a B.A. in communications.  While in school, she completed an astrophysics internship at NASA’s Ames Research Center.  It may seem a tad out there for an artist to have NASA on her resume, but Corday used the knowledge she acquired to step up her art game.  Originally a painter, she exchanged her paintbrush for a plasma torch that gets as hot as 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit, an approach that intensifies her mark-making.

Corday also has a patriotic side.  In 2010-2011, architect Michael Arad and his committee chose her black iron oxide color for the name plates on the National September 11 Memorial, a process that was shown in History Channel’s “Making of the 911 Memorial” and Discovery Channel’s “Rebuilding Ground Zero.”  For nine months, Corday and her assistant applied the blackening color over the 15,000 square feet of the memorial, which was unveiled at One World Trade Center on the tenth anniversary of the attacks.

“Every name has run under the palm of my hand,” Corday told The New York Times.  “Each name here is a life, and that’s never been lost on anyone that’s worked on this project.”

Christine Corday: Protoist Series, Selected will be on display at the LACMA Dec. 13, 2014 – April 5, 2015.  For more information, go here.