Carly Mandel: Premium

  • BROOKLYN, New York
  • /
  • September 02, 2021

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Cornflower Blood Drive Installation. 2018, Ceramic, Concrete, Water, Glass, Leather, Steel, Dimensions Variable

September 7, 2021 - January 7, 2022

Opening Reception: Tuesday, September 7, 2021, 6-8 PM

For Premium, her solo exhibition at UrbanGlass, Carly Mandel presents a body of work that reclaims traumas induced by privatized healthcare and the consumer wellness industry. The gallery installation includes new ceramic, metal and glass works that borrow forms or represent massage devices, grab bars, jump ropes, hula hoops, medical ID bracelets and sharp containers referencing Mandel’s personal narratives of physical therapies and disabilities. 

Mandel’s practice considers how objects and people are medicalized within late capitalism. Her sculptures focus on how survival is represented through commodities; by representing these objects she illustrates how we are all unable to thrive independent of their consumption. This reveals a paradox: as our society supposedly advances, our bodies weaken and we see more of a struggle to succeed or even live without intervention. Drawing on her personal experiences from observing her process of becoming medicalized, Mandel’s works highlight how we are augmented by medicine and synthetic objects-namely the privatization of life itself.

The rise of “self care” alongside the contemporary “healthcare” debate is no coincidence. As state-subsidized healthcare in the United States is threatened, wellness products and experiences burgeon; with sound baths, meditation retreats, Impossible meat products, or the latest Goop trends being among the most au courant. Consumers are encouraged to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” so to speak, through their purchasing power, which in turn, is directly related to their profitability as workers. Those who are able-bodied or unaffected by chronic illness are those who are more likely to be privately insured by their employers, while at the same time having more capital to spend on wellness. 

Similar to socially reinforced ideologies of labor and productivity, wellness products operate from the mythology that earning more (and consuming more) will be the key to unlocking one’s true potential. At the same time, this ethos disguises or shames those who are monetarily or physically unable to participate in consumer-driven wellness culture. It tells us that our well-being and life itself has a high, if not unattainable, price.  

About Carly Mandel: 
Mandel (b. St. Louis, MO) is an artist working in Brooklyn, NY. In 2015, she received her BFA from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, OR. Her sculptures and videos have been shown nationally and internationally, most recently, in a solo exhibition at Hamtramck Ceramck in Detroit, MI. Mandel was a 2017 recipient of the Emerging Artist Grant from the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and a 2019 recipient of a Visiting Artist Fellowship from UrbanGlass. An interview between Mandel and Kerry Doran was published in BOMB in 2018. More information about her previous exhibitions, panels, press, and awards can be found on her website:

About Kerry Doran:
Kerry Doran is an art historian, critic, and curator, with projects based out of Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, and New York. Her interdisciplinary, research-based work centers on politically subversive media practices and artistic strategies; pop cultural channels, circulation methods, and formats; and the relationship between digital infrastructures, socioeconomics, and art practice.

Doran is a regular contributor to Artforum, specializing in time-based media, performance, and the historical avant-garde from the Southern Cone. She is also a Curatorial Advisor at M+ Museum, with a focus on digital projects by Asian and Asian diaspora artists. She has presented her research at the British Computer Society, Carnegie Mellon University, Harvard's Graduate School of Design, the International Center of Photography Museum, Goldsmiths, M+ Museum, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. 

Doran was previously the director of Postmasters and bitforms, respectively, and was one of the founding members of NEW INC, the New Museum’s incubator for art, design, and technology. She received her master’s with distinction from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, where she was an Associate Scholar at the Research Forum. She holds three degrees, summa cum laude, in Anthropology, Art History, and Interdisciplinary Media Art Practices from the University of Colorado Boulder. Doran’s published articles, curated exhibitions, delivered lectures, received awards and honors, and press and media related to her projects are detailed on her website:

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