Rose Salane was born in 1992 in New York City where she currently lives and works. Salane received her BFA from Cooper Union in 2014 and her MA in Urban Planning from the CUNY Bernard & Anne Spitzer School of Architecture in 2019. Using collections of quotidien objects as her entry point, the artist excavates the systems of evaluation, exchange, and organization that shape urban life. Salane’s investigations demonstrate the ways in which larger bureaucratic forces order human activity and the perseverance of humanity in the face of those automated and alienating structures. Extensively researching, analyzing, and categorizing objects and information, the artist forms often poignant connections between the personal and institutional and the mundane and globally impactful.
Salane’s installations uncover the ways in which collections symbolize the large but obscure organizations and systems of regulation that assemble them. Her particular interest is in objects rendered obsolete or deemed useless, like dummy coins used in place of bus tokens or the extension codes for a department store which closed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Frequently acquiring her objects from auction style platforms, Salane’s collections include a record of the books housed in the Port Authority Library which was closed in 1995 and photographs and ephemera from the World Trade Center restaurant Windows on the World which was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 attacks. In many ways Salane’s practice can be seen as a personal meditation on New York City itself, preserving its particular histories and locations as well as exposing its inner workings.
In her practice, the artist also works to connect and weave together distant or even opposing methodologies and perspectives. In the works Panorama 94 (2019) and 60 Detected Rings (1991 – 2021), Salane had the rings evaluated by genetic scientists, spiritual readers, pawn shop owners, metal detectorists, and jewelers, presenting the varied and potentially conflicting findings as text descriptions alongside each ring. The ways in which information and objects are evaluated and disseminated is central to the artist’s work, juxtaposing their perceived biological, sentimental, and monetary worth against one another.
“I’ve always been interested in how an object could retell a personal history but also the familiarity in them that can trigger more questions and stories. These objects are just a small soundbite of a large chaotic city.“