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"Nothing Under Heaven" by Joseph Liatela

December 1, 2022, 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Location George Segal Gallery
Two dancers lay on their backs on the floor with arms outstretched, facing each other. Their hands almost touch. They wear green-gold tops and gold bracelets. Hanging just above them are fresh pink lilies. In the background, a black wall is marked with gold hand prints. White text reads "September 13 – December 11. Nothing Under Heaven. By Jospeh Liatela."

The Montclair State University Galleries presents the exhibition Nothing Under Heaven by Joseph Liatela this fall. The artist’s first solo museum exhibition brings together new commissions and recent works that explore the need for connection, pleasure, and agency within oppressive systems. Exhibited alongside photography by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) and religious art by Carlo Dolci (1616-1686) from the University Galleries’ collection, Liatela invokes a range of stories to assess what it means to move together, remember together, and repair together. The exhibition will be on view at the University Galleries’ newly reconfigured flagship exhibition space, the George Segal Gallery.  

Liatela correlates spaces of communal experience – churches, medical institutions, and clubs – where promises of salvation and healing commingle in proximity to loss and grief. By uniting these different spaces through a range of mediums and interdisciplinary analysis, Liatela reveals how these disparate environments hold similar contradictions that impact the way we perceive ourselves and each other. Within the exhibition, the search for absolution in a Church, the potential for restoration through medical care, and the rapturous escapism of the club become entangled. Liatela also unites ideologies of the afterlife – the veneration of patron saints, possibilities of dancing with the ghosts of loved ones, and the lingering specter of death in hospitals – to further pronounce their similarities while making their differences visible as well. 

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Admission is free and open to the public.