56 Henry is pleased to present Sail-by Salute, a painting installation by Cynthia Talmadge. The exhibition will be on view through August 2, 2024. Sail-by Salute marks Talmadge's fifth solo exhibition with the gallery.

It’s a little bit of tilting, it’s nothing, have a little walk.

The Costa Concordia lies starboard-side in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Waves have begun to chop as most of the rescues are underway.

Moments before, on January 13th, 2012, Captain Schettino left the command center to entertain his young lover over dinner. The water was a mirror. The ship was a little world that barrelled towards the shore of Giglio for a sail-by salute, and instead grounded against rock, creating a 174-foot tear into the hull. Lights shuttered and a magnificent sound radiated through the metal. Passengers were assured that this was simply an electrical failure, while the ship, unbeknownst to them, began to sink. Drinks went crooked, tables slid, plates zipped across the floor, and glass fell like snow.

The crew taped down computers and decor. Chaise Lounges were bolted in place while the passengers struggled to stand. Are you sure this is related to the power? What if water is being let in somewhere? A passenger turned to say “If we survive this, then our marriage will have to survive forever.” In the face of uncertainty we either set our eyes on something true, or scan for its facsimile.

The Captain abandoned ship, claiming to have “fallen into a lifeboat,” and ignored coast guard demands to return to his passengers. The morning after, he asked his taxi driver where to buy dry socks. He called his mother to tell her not to worry. Thirty-two passengers drowned in the winter night’s waters. His prosecutor, after delivering his sentence, cried “May God have pity on Schettino, because we cannot,” and for two years this jettisoned, tipped world remained off the shore, hulking outside living room windows, guarding graves amidst the detritus of the floating luxury hotel.

Our misdeeds can be the cause of other misdeeds. Shipwrecks can be the cause of other shipwrecks. Consider the path of your feet as you cross the tilted platform, approaching the painting. Cynthia Talmadge captures the magnitude of human error and denial in pointillist detail, a glitched tempest jammed in a bottle. —Nicolette Polek, 2024