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Ilana Halperin: Minerals of New York

NADA House NY 2023

1 Sep - 1 Oct 2023

1. Ilana Halperin _Minerals of New York_2019 .jpg

Ilana Halperin, Minerals of New York, University of Leeds, 2019

Ilana Halperin’s Minerals of New York is at once a history of a city, a portrayal of the deep geological past, and a self-portrait (of sorts). It is made up of multiple elements that constellate around Halperin’s fascination with mineral treasures that were uncovered as the infrastructure of modern New York was dug out beneath the streets of Manhattan, her childhood home.

- Dr Dominic Paterson, Curator of Contemporary Art, The Hunterian Museum, Glasgow

We are delighted to be bringing this significant body of work to NADA House on Governors Island.


The project is inspired by an encounter with the New York Subway Garnet, a huge historic mineral found by laborers in 1885 on 35th Street and Broadway, when they were excavating the sewage system. This led the artist into the stores of the American Museum of Natural History NY, which led to a bungalow in Queens. Here Halperin met a 96 year old man who had started his collection of minerals as a boy, a member of the Pick and Hammer Club with the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. From there Halperin encountered a piece of Garnetiferous Gneiss, found 150 feet below the street where she grew up. The project has evolved into a mineral biography of the city of New York; a significant body of work, combining drawings, personal narrative and geological urban wonder.


The work has been shown at two solo exhibitions at Leeds Arts University and The Hunterian Museum, Glasgow.


Ilana Halperin (b.1973, New York, US, lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland)​

Halperin’s work explores the relationship between geology and daily life. By connecting personal events and human histories to deep geological time, she allows for a space to think about our place within a vast continuum from a more intimate perspective. To articulate a corporeal sense of geological time, Halperin forms sculptures using natural geological processes – from geothermal pools to high velocity calcifying springs. Her work deals with geological intimacy and vivacity, and the uncanny knowledge that something as inert and certain as stone was once liquid, airborne, alive. Her work moves between performance, sculpture, print, drawing, film and narrative.

​Solo exhibitions include: My Conglomerate Family, Cairn Art Centre, Digne-les-bains (2022); There is a Volcano Behind My House, Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute (2021); Excerpts from the Library, Patricia Fleming, Glasgow (2020); Minerals of New York, Leeds Arts University and The Hunterian, Glasgow (2019); Geologic Intimacy (Yu no Hana), Fujiya Gallery Hanayamomo, Peacock Visual Arts and Patricia Fleming (2017).

Group exhibitions include: The New Materialism in Current Art, Museum unter Tage, Bochum (2022); The Rock Cycle, Pier Arts Centre, Orkney (2022); Crystal Clear, Pera Museum, Istanbul (2021); Cosmogonies, MAMAC, Nice (2018); Être pierre, Musée Zadkine, Paris (2018); 18 4.543 billion: The Matter of Matter, CAPC, Bordeaux (2017); The Forces Behind the Forms, Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland (2016).


​Selected Press

Frieze: Ilana Halperin Sets House (and Geological Histories) In Order, interview with Hettie Juda
Frieze: Top 5 Shows to See in the UK and Ireland this August
Scotsman: Ilana Halperin, Mount Stuart
Studio International: There Is a Volcano Behind My House
Fleming Collection: Ilana Halperin, Living Mountain
The Herald: Travel through time with show inspired by Scottish geology

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