Tower 49 Gallery

Cordy Ryman




May 2017 – April 20, 2018
Opening reception: Monday, May 15, 5:30–8:00pm

NEW YORK — Tower 49 Gallery is pleased to present FREE FALL, a yearlong exhibition of new work by Cordy Ryman, including three site-specific installations: Lightning Vines, Root Vines, and Jupiter (all 2017). 

Lightning Vines, which spans a 24-by-86-foot wall, is the largest sculpture ever created by the artist. Root Vines is a forest of multicolored two-by-fours facing the gallery’s north and south entrances, while Jupiter consists of a constellation of faux-red-marble paintings mounted on the red marble walls of the building’s Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM)-designed lobby, a stealthy pairing of illusion and reality. 

Organized by Ai Kato, Exhibition Director of Tower 49 Gallery and guest curator Thomas Micchelli, the exhibition also includes dozens of smaller works, made primarily of wood, that bridge the realms of painting and sculpture. Ranging in height from four inches to nearly six feet, no two are alike, they represent the artist’s aesthetic of recycle and reuse, with many made from earlier works that have been taken apart and reassembled according to an entirely new set of variables. These works are installed in the gallery’s street-level space as well as in the Sky Lobby on the 24th floor. 

Accident and intuition are the overriding forces in Ryman’s creative process. Despite the enormous scale of much of the work in the exhibition, the openness and humility intrinsic to the artist’s practice convey a warmth and humor that offer a unique take on the idea of public art, suggesting that it can be serious, raw, unconventional, and formally aggressive while remaining a joyous and welcoming presence in the civic and social environment. 

Cordy Ryman was born in 1971 in New York City. He studied at the School of Visual Arts, where he received the Rhodes Family Award for Excellence. His work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, most recently at Zürcher Gallery, New York, in 2016, as well as in Washington, DC; Chicago, Illinois; Austin, Texas; Santa Monica, California; and Seattle, Washington. Notable group exhibitions include Aberrant Abstraction: Keltie Ferris, Chris Martin, Cordy Ryman, Agathe Snow at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, Kansas, and Greater New York 2005 at MoMA PS1 in

Long Island City, New York. Public and private collections include the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, Florida; The Raussmuller Collection, Basel, Switzerland; The Rubell Family Collection, Miami, Florida; The Speyer Family Collection, New York; and The Virginia and Bagley Wright Collection, Seattle, Washington. 

Thomas Micchelli is an artist, writer, and co-editor of Hyperallergic Weekend. His paintings and drawings have been shown in numerous exhibitions in New York and elsewhere. His art criticism appears regularly in Hyperallergic Weekend, and he has written catalogue essays for galleries and museums in New York; Aarhus, Denmark; Stavanger, Norway; and Tehran, Iran. He is also co-editor of the books On Curating: Interviews with Ten International Curators (DAP, 2009) and On Curating 2: Paradigm Shifts (DAP, 2016). He has lectured at Pratt Institute, the School of Visual Arts, and Maryland Institute College of Art, and he has taught art criticism and the history of modernism at Rutgers University. 

This exhibition is organized in collaboration with Zürcher Gallery.


Cordy Ryman: Free Fall, Essay by Thomas Micchelli


Hiding in Plain Site by Colin Edgington, Brooklyn Rail, July 14, 2017
Catalogue essay: Thomas Micchelli on Cordy Ryman, Two Coats of Paint, May 15, 2017


Press Release
Home Is Where the Art Is: The Ryman Family by Howie Kahn, Wall Street Journal, November 17, 2015
More Incarnations Than Dr Who, Art Critical, September 23, 2015