Corey McCorkle is one of the eighty-one artists currently exhibiting in the 2008 Whitney Biennial. His video about The Knickerbocker Greys, a historic after-school leadership program for children and teenagers, is being shown at the Park Avenue Armory (not coincidentally the location of the Knickerbocker Greys’ weekly meetings). McCorkle studied Architecture at Pratt Institute, ultimately receiving a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He earned an MFA from the University of Chicago.
McCorkle’s work – a mix of architecture, sculpture, installation, and traditional documentary technique – explores utopian communities and zones of public space. He has documented his travels to a dilapidated zoo in Istanbul in which feral dogs have overtaken the facilities designed to house wild animals. He has studied townships in Moray, Scotland, the nineteenth-century Oneida Christian Perfectionists (located in Oneida, New York), and Auroville, a self-contained community located in southern India. His altered photographs and well-crafted sculptures and installations demonstrate his understanding of these specific zones throughout history while also sparking the viewers’ interest in such off the radar niches. McCorkle’s journey to Cambodia in search of a mystical white calf named Preah (“God” in Khmer), who apparently cures a variety of ailments with his lick, was documented with vivid photographs carefully displayed in a meatpacking warehouse, focusing not on the cow but the power and contingency of belief. In Rouge, McCorkle creates a bridge between Art Nouveau and socialism. He created a replica of the staircase of Victor Horta’s “Maison du Peuple,” a historic Brussels building built in 1896 – 99, whose architecture was flamboyantly Art Nouveau. It served as a public meeting house for the Belgian Socialist party under much controversy; it was subsequently torn down in 1965. McCorkle’s title, Rouge, juxtaposed with the smooth white wooden and polyester surface serve as a monument of both transition and timelessness.