Press Release

Samara Golden: Upstairs at Steve’s

August 4, 2020

Samara Golden, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Upstairs at Steve’s (installation detail), 2020. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and The Fabric Workshop and Museum.

Philadelphia, PA, August 4, 2020 — The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) is pleased to present Samara Golden: Upstairs at Steve’s, on view from September 10, 2020 through January 31, 2021. The exhibition will premiere a new installation by contemporary artist Samara Golden created during her 2019-2020 residency at FWM. The elaborate installation was only partially completed when Philadelphia’s shelter-in-place orders were enforced in March. With Golden consulting remotely, the FWM Studio completed the installation after a five-month hiatus, infusing the post-disaster seaside scene with layered meanings.

At once infinite and ephemeral, Golden’s immersive structures have been described as psychological architecture for the way they thoughtfully embed layers of consciousness within socio-economic stratification. Upstairs at Steve’s depicts a complete upending of an outdoor tableau, set in a seaside landscape. The exhibition reveals a mysterious confluence of biography, history, psychology, and nature. Familiar household objects are strewn across the dunes, as if deposited from a natural disaster, with an accompanying soundscape adding another atmospheric layer.

To achieve the dueling sensations of depth and expanse, the artist distorts perspective with strategically placed mirrors, prompting viewers to question what is real and what is illusion. “Samara Golden masterfully toys with reality through her experimentation with optical techniques and materials,” notes FWM Executive Director Christina Vassallo. Golden has introduced a new dimension to her signature practice of warping space—notably employed in her installation, The Meat Grinder’s Iron Clothes, at the 2017 Whitney Biennial—as she looks to the outdoors. Building upon the artist’s original soundscape, visitors are invited to submit audio recordings of their immediate surroundings, with the goal of generating a cumulative and collaborative soundscape over the course of the exhibition.

FWM’s Artist-in-Residence program is renowned for pushing artists to experiment with new media and processes, take risks, and ultimately expand their practices as they create new works of art. As part of her residency, Golden researched patterns found in historical swatch books in noted textile collections, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. These include 1836-1926 printed cottons and silks from William Simpson’s Washington Print Works and its successor Joseph Bancroft and Sons. For the installation, she chose to juxtapose these with the more recognizable designs from specific parts of her life spanning childhood to the present, collapsing time, history, and memory.

Media Preview
A virtual media preview of Samara Golden: Upstairs at Steve’s will be held on Wednesday, September 9 from 1:00pm – 2:00pm ET. Following an introduction by FWM Executive Director Christina Vassallo, the preview will feature a tour and Q+A with the artist and Karen Patterson, FWM Curator, as well as studio insights from Senior Project Coordinator Abby Lutz. Space is limited. To request access to the virtual preview, please email David Simantov at [email protected].

About Samara Golden
Samara Golden (1973 b. Michigan) graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1995 and received her MFA from Columbia University in 2009. Golden has had solo exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York; YBCA, San Francisco; Night Gallery, Los Angeles; and CANADA, New York. Her work was included in the 2014 Hammer Biennial, and Room to Live at MOCA Los Angeles. A monograph was published in conjunction with her exhibition at MoMA PS1, and her work has been included in Artforum, Art in America, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Mousse, among other publications. Golden’s work is in the permanent collection of The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; LACMA, and MOCA Los Angeles; The Zabludowicz Collection, London; and Yuz Museum, Shanghai. The artist lives in Los Angeles.



David Simantov
Blue Medium, Inc.
Tel: +1-212-675-1800
[email protected]

Philadelphia-based inquiries:
Erin Sweeny
FWM Communications
Tel: 215-561-8888 x224
[email protected]

Downloadable Media

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Partners & Funding

Support for Samara Golden: Upstairs at Steve’s is provided by The Coby Foundation, Ltd., The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Maja Paumgarten and John Parker, CANADA, and Budmen Industries.

Major support of FWM is provided by the Marion Boulton “Kippy” Stroud Foundation. FWM receives state art funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Additional support is provided by The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Agnes Gund, and the Board of Directors and Members of The Fabric Workshop and Museum.

About the Fabric Workshop and Museum

Founded in 1977, FWM both makes and presents, encouraging artists to experiment with new materials and new media in a veritable living laboratory. Through its renowned Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Program, FWM collaborates with artists to expand their practices, while documenting the course of artistic production from inspiration to realization. FWM presents large scale exhibitions, installations, and performative work, utilizing innovative fiber and other media. Today, FWM is the only US institution devoted to creating work in textile and new media in collaboration with some of the most significant artists of our time.