When CORE Architecture & Design invited artist Jefferson Pinder to create an installation for its Georgetown lobby, he was surprised. “I’ve never been invited to do something corporate because I didn’t think my work would lend itself to that,” he says. “In the back of my mind I was thinking, Boy, these people are pretty progressive.” So Pinder, 35, went ahead and went edgy, creating an installation inspired by the design of slave ships, including “Slave Ship Quilts (Triangle Trade),” a series of three cotton banners treated with gunpowder, molasses, and rum—all materials used in the exchange for human cargo.
The exhibition was slated to run through May 12; it was pulled off the wall on Sunday.
Jennifer Motruk Loy, CORE’s director of marketing and business development, says the abrupt takedown was due to “business presentation materials” that needed to be posted in the lobby. “His work looked fantastic in our space and we have a great deal of respect for him,” she says. The lobby walls were still blank as of today, but Loy says the business materials are to be installed this afternoon. She would not reveal any specifics about the new installation. The Pinder press release with the May 12 date was still up on the CORE Web site as of Tuesday afternoon.
Pinder suspects that the content of his work played a role, but, he says, he is mostly upset that CORE did not treat him like a professional. He and his gallery, G Fine Arts, sent out hundreds of mailings with the now-defunct May 12 end date. “They never negotiated with me and said the show is coming down,” he says. “I don’t think they were ready for it. I don’t think they could handle it.”
CORE told Pinder that the show was coming down last week via his curator. Pinder did not talk to Loy until she called him on Sunday; they had a “strange conversation,” he says, about how CORE is a professional firm and not an art gallery. Says Pinder: “Then maybe you shouldn’t have asked me to come to your space.”