The Jenni Crain Foundation

Jenni Crain (1991–2021) was an esteemed artist and curator who passed away suddenly due to complications related to Covid-19. She was widely recognized for her original minimalist sculpture and curatorial projects that championed under-recognized women artists as well as for her rigorous scholarship and writing. Crain was a passionate and tireless advocate of artists and art. Throughout her life, she built a vast community of friends, collaborators, and colleagues whose work she drove forward with generosity, sensitivity, and the deep probing intelligence with which she considered the world.

The Foundation preserves her legacy by supporting transformative projects by artists, curators, and writers of any age at early or pivotal stages of their career.

In honor of her memory, The Jenni Crain Foundation provides grants in two areas:
1. Finishing funds toward the completion of a significant project ranging from an exhibition, arts publication, or work of art across disciplines and forms.
2. Support for original research which may include travel, accommodation, and any funds required for accessing or studying materials.

Donations may be mailed to the address below or made online via PayPal or Square. Fundraising editions are available here.

The Jenni Crain Foundation
130 Third Avenue Brentwood, NY 11717

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Jenni Crain

Star Circle Stage
Orgy Park, Brooklyn, NY
Mike Crane, Jamie Isenstein, Matt Keegan, Jacob Robichaux
April 1 – April 30, 2017

Orgy Park is pleased to present Star Circle Stage, an exhibition with works by Mike Crane, Jamie Isenstein, Matt Keegan and Jacob Robichaux curated by Jenni Crain. The exhibition is comprised of three video works and the progressive elements/sequential executions of an orchestrated event. While the videos play on endless loops, the performance could be considered in a three-act-like structure. This association to and simulation of a model used in screenwriting categorizes time into beginning, middle and end, or, as experientially perceived, past, present and future. These constructs of time, both the culturally conceived and the existentially cultivated, foster our fabrications of memory and meaning, identity and social involvement.

Mike Crane’s 2015 video, Choice Modeling, follows a test subject of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI) research, a process that measures cerebral activity via changes in blood flow in the brain. The footage is scripted as it restages the test subject’s recollections of the studies, but also in its inclusion of her participation in the patterned structures of the study itself. The subject, Beth Griffith, is an actor and musician, a performer, “well versed in the intricacies of human memory and emotion.”¹ Griffith’s accounts are spliced with scenes where neuroscientist, Dr. A. Bornstein, enacts a neuroscientist lecturing on neuro-economics, and others in which he engages in his actual research. Arguing against the rational and reasoned, logic-based archetype of thought on which mainstream economics is based, Bornstein makes his case that decision making processes are based on contextual, emotional response.

Jamie Isenstein’s performative works contort generic categorizations of art making practices and their circulation. In her work on view at Orgy Park, a projector sits atop a pedestal in the presumed place designated for the absent art object. The sculpture is stripped of its three-dimensionality as its image is cast in traditional installation-view format upon the wall before it. The still image is itself a farce as frame by frame it moves forward in time. The sculpture filmed via video camera, the typical tool for performance documentation. The subject of the video, the sculpture, points towards a past action, the artist’s intervention and a trace of her hand in making. Isenstein has played the harp by weaving through its strings in a loom-like manner, stifling the musical properties of the instrument and transforming its frame into a stretcher for the tapestry that’s taken their place.

While Matt Keegan’s practice presents itself in myriad mediums and forms, the use of language as material is a repeating fundamental foundation in his work. In “N” as in Nancy (2011), Keegan’s mother sits on the left side of a split screen as the right sequences through three minutes of hand-made flashcards. As each card is revealed, Nancy interprets the image aloud in English, while Spanish subtitles transcribe her dialogue at the bottom of the screen. The sixty-or-so flashcards included in the film come from Nancy’s own collection of hand-assembled collages, which she made to teach English-as-Second-Language courses to high school and adult students. Nancy’s visual to verbal assignments are automated from years of familiarity; however, her initial gravitation towards certain selections in stock-imagery and color to convey cross-cultural meaning speaks of a shared, societal subjectivity.

Jacob Robichaux’s contribution to Star Circle Stage will evolve throughout the span of the exhibition. Robichaux’s work can be considered as a circuitous mediation of prop and sculpture, sculpture and performance, performer and viewer. From April 1st through April 15th, Robichaux will present an installation of curated ready-made objects, which sit atop a translucent, Lucite cart; this means of presentation suggestive of what is still to come. Robichaux’s performances involve and incite everyday objects and behaviors in a rhythmic cacophony of simultaneously choreographed and improvised gestures. Just as nebulous as the transition from sculpture to performance, stagnation to activation, is the, perhaps unwitting, passage from viewer to participant to performer. Not unlike Isenstein’s installation, which flips the conventions of the artwork and the gallery upon each other, Robichaux’s performance becomes a matrix breaking down and blending the traditional allocations between artwork, author, and audience. Throughout the latter half of the exhibition remnants of this performance will remain on view, existing somewhere as something new.

  1. Excerpted from an essay by Anselm Franke on the occasion of Nervous Systems, an exhibition he curated with Stephanie Hankey and Marek Tuszynski at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in 2016. In the curatorial statement they write, “Nervous Systems is an exhibition about how our experience and understanding of the “self” and the “social” are changing. It looks at how we become part of vast networked infrastructures and the way that abstract laws of the market and finance capitalism translate into subjective experience.”

Jamie Isenstein Installation Shot (harp), 2010. HD video on infinite loop, projector, pedestal.


Matt Keegan “N” as in Nancy, 2011. Looped video. 3:09 minutes


Mike Crane Choice Modeling, 2015. Digital video file, light bounce, projector, stand, speakers, plaster model. 22 minutes


Jacob Robichaux Various Found and Altered Objects, 2017. Various found and altered objects. Dimensions vary