Walker Art Center

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Press Releases Walker Art Center Advance Exhibition Schedule

Abstract Resistance

February 27–May 23, 2010

True to its title, Abstract Resistance considers the metaphor of “resistance” as a complex political and compositional force defining art of the past half-century. Starting with Michel Foucault’s assertion that “where there is power, there is resistance,” it explores art made since World War II that has been shaped by traumatic historical events in complex ways. Rather than creating an explicit art of social protest, artists have responded to violence and upheaval with art that rejects comforting moral certainties. Such art is resistant to interpretation; it withholds information, it tends to evade identification, and certainly it protests interrogation. The “abstract” qualities of the works in the exhibition are grounded in the context of the real world in ways that are emotional, visceral, and confrontational, creating an ethical relationship to recent events and the challenges facing political thought today.

Abstract Resistance brings together four generations of artists whose works have rarely, if ever, been seen together in one installation. Works by legendary figures such as Francis Bacon, Lynda Benglis, Philip Guston, and Willem de Kooning are juxtaposed with new acquisitions and a commissioned piece by artists currently at the forefront of contemporary art, including Rachel Harrison, Thomas Hirschhorn, Gedi Sibony, Andro Wekua, and Cathy Wilkes, among others. While these works—most of which are part of the Walker’s collection—do not conform to a single shared theme, they are united in challenging what is expected of art, from the way it looks to the role it plays in society at large.

Abstract Resistance includes paintings and works on paper by Francis Bacon, Willem de Kooning, Lucio Fontana, Philip Guston, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Motherwell, and Kara Walker; photographs by Sarah Charlesworth and Hollis Frampton; sculptures by Lynda Benglis, Anthony Caro, Bruce Conner, Rachel Harrison, Thomas Hirschhorn, Cady Noland, Charles Ray, Gedi Sibony, Andro Wekua, and Cathy Wilkes; and videos by Paul McCarthy and Bruce Nauman.

A selection of essays will be published.

Abstract Resistance is organized by the Walker Art Center.

The exhibition is made possible by generous support from Michael Peel, Lisa and Pat Denzer, Leni and David Moore, Jr., and the Robert Lehman Foundation. Catalogue support is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Curatorial research supported by Etant donnés: The French-American Fund for Contemporary Art. Cathy Wilkes’ installation supported by the British Council. Media partner Mpls.St.Paul Magazine.

Curator: Yasmil Raymond, curator, Dia Art Foundation, New York

Hélio Oiticica/Rirkrit Tiravanija: Contact

February 27, 2010–March 20, 2011

Inviting physical as well as intellectual forms of contact, this installation of two distinct works from two different decades transforms the gallery space into one of social interaction where visitors engage with the art and each other. Oiticica’s CC5 Hendrixwar/Cosmococa Programa-in-Progress (1973) and Tiravanija’s untitled 2006 (pavilion, table, and puzzle) (2006) are playful on the surface, but also deeply political and even subversive. Each leverages forms of physical engagement, rendering its subjects palpably real.

Ten cocoon-like hammocks beckon in Brazilian artist Oiticica’s performance-based piece, part of his Cosmococa series created in collaboration with filmmaker Neville D’Almeida. While lounging in the hammocks, visitors can gaze up at projected images of rock icon Jimi Hendrix, which cover the walls and ceilings; an all-Hendrix soundtrack rounds out a vaguely decadent multisensory experience designed to transform viewers into participants. This nuanced take on pop culture comes from an artist who was acutely aware of the boundaries between art-world hedonism and the realities of developing countries.

Tiravanija’s installation consists of a shelter-like structure and a large puzzle of Eugène Delacroix’s painting Le 18 Julliet. La liberté guidant le people (Liberty Leading the People) (1830). Underneath a flat, tin roof, visitors sit at a large wooden table and assemble Delacroix’s allegorical image of freedom. This tableau presents an amusing and ironic set of juxtapositions—people working together under a pavilion that alludes to Africa’s colonial history through its design (based on architect Jean Prouvé’s prefab housing system) while assembling an iconic image of French liberation. Tiravanija’s work transcends both the distance between object and viewer and seemingly disparate cultures and time periods.

Hélio Oiticica/Rirkrit Tiravanija: Contact is organized by the Walker Art Center.

Curators: Darsie Alexander and Elizabeth Carpenter


March 25–June 27, 2010

Drawn primarily from the Walker Art Center’s collection, this exhibition focuses on works made in or around 1964, a period of tremendous political, social, and artistic activity in the U.S. In the year following the assassination of JFK, the country saw the tumult of racial unrest in many American cities, the first bombs fall on North Vietnam, and the Beatles’ invasion of America with their first concert at Carnegie Hall. The mid-1960s were a moment in which many artistic impulses began to gain momentum: an explosion of consumerism reverberated in the paintings of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, and in the sculptures of Claes Oldenburg and George Segal, whose works embraced elements of popular culture; the bravura gestures of 1950s Abstract Expressionism gave way to artists such as Ellsworth Kelly, Donald Judd, and Carl Andre who were exploring distilled forms, colors, and geometries in their work; groups of artists such as those associated with the Fluxus movement sought the intersection of visual art, performance, music, film, and graphic design in their practice; and artists interested in a more democratic approach to art and its dissemination began producing a profusion of prints, multiples, artist’s books, and films. Including nearly 100 works, this exhibition brings into focus a period during which the Walker’s collecting mirrored a fertile moment in the development of contemporary art.

1964 is organized by the Walker Art Center.

The exhibition is made possible by generous support from Ellie and Tom Crosby, Jr.

Curator: Siri Engberg

The Talent Show

April 10–August 15, 2010

The Talent Show looks at art since the 1960s that coerces people to put themselves on view, exploring the range of complicated relationships that have emerged over the past four decades between artists, audiences, and participants. In recent years, reality television, Web-based social media, and talent competition shows have offered people a conflicted chance at fame, while government has asserted vast new powers of surveillance. Against this backdrop, the exhibition considers the competing desires for notoriety and privacy that mark our present cultural moment. Featured are some 25 works by 15 artists, including Stanley Brouwn, Chris Burden, Sophie Calle, Peter Campus, Graciela Carnevale, Phil Collins, David Lamelas, Piero Manzoni, Adrian Piper, Gillian Wearing, and Shizuka Yokomizo.

Included are Collins’ free fotolab (2009), a slideshow of private moments from the lives of anonymous people who have sent him unexposed film to be developed. Collins has been collecting such images as part of an ongoing project in which the contributors authorize him to keep and use their snapshots in exchange for a set of free prints. Sophie Calle undertook a particularly invasive project in 1983 that provided a window into the life of an unwitting man whose address book Calle found in the street. She returned it to him, but only after photocopying every page, interviewing the listed contacts about the book’s owner, and publishing excerpts of the conversations in a daily Paris newspaper. A counterpoint to this publicizing of personal information can be found in two relics of early Chris Burden performances from 1971. In one, he wore a ski mask during the entire duration of a visit to Kansas City; in another, he disappeared for three days advising no one of his whereabouts or activities.

The Talent Show is organized by the Walker Art Center.

Curator: Peter Eleey

Everything: Guillermo Kuitca, Paintings and Works on Paper, 1980–2008

June 26–September 19, 2010

Examining more than two decades of internationally known Argentinean artist Guillermo Kuitca’s career and featuring works from public and private collections throughout the world, this first comprehensive survey of his work in more than a decade includes some 50 paintings and 25 works on paper made between 1982 and 2008. The installation will be arranged around thematic constellations of paintings and drawings from key series focusing on the theater, geography, and domestic and institutional architecture. In addition, two of Kuitca’s most ambitious works will be featured: a room-sized installation from 1992 that includes a sculptural configuration of 52 painted bed mattresses, and The Ring (2002), a five-paneled painting inspired by Wagner’s epic opera. Presenting the full scope of Kuitca’s production, the exhibition underscores the extensive range of his subject matter, the interdisciplinary nature of his work, and the issues of individual and communal relationships he explores. Everything: Guillermo Kuitca premiered in Miami (October 9, 2009–January 17, 2010) before presentations at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (February 19–May 30, 2010), the Walker Art Center, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (October 21, 2010–January 16, 2011).

A catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

Everything: Guillermo Kuitca is co-organized by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; and Miami Art Museum, Miami, Florida. Major funding is provided by the Bruce T. Halle Family Foundation, AXA Art Insurance Corporation, and the Leadership and Honorary Patrons Committees for the exhibition with additional catalogue support from Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros.

The Walker Art Center’s presentation is made possible by major support from Marge and Irv Weiser. Additional support is generously provided by Megan and James Dayton, Martha and John Gabbert, Michael J. Peterman and David A. Wilson, and Gary and Susan Rappaport. Media partner Mpls.St.Paul Magazine.

Curator: Douglas Dreishpoon, senior curator, Albright-Knox
Walker coordinating curator: Olga Viso, originating curator and catalogue contributor

From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America

September 11, 2010–January 16, 2011

The wanderlust embodied in Alec Soth’s photographs is an impulse to uncover narratives that comprise the American experience. Soth first received wide public attention and critical acclaim in 2004 with Sleeping by the Mississippi, an ambitious five-year project for which he traveled up and down the Mississippi River, capturing places and people he encountered, often with an eye toward finding overlooked beauty in the banal. The series was crucial to the development of his working process, which involves extensive travel, research, and the ability to remain open to serendipity when seeking out his subjects. Working with a cumbersome 8x10 field camera which elicits remarkable detail and color, he must spend considerable time setting up his shots, which often leaves his portrait subjects relaxed and lost in their own thoughts. This is precisely Soth’s objective: his subjects do not perform for his camera, but are captured as who they are—ordinary people living their lives in the places where he has met them. His pictures offer insight into broader sociologies while forming a collective portrait of an unexpected America.

The exhibition will feature some 100 photographs, ranging from the artist’s early black-and-white portraits taken in the bars of Minneapolis to more recent large-scale color images portraying people and sites encountered across the country. Also on view will be ephemera from Soth’s travels, notes, and mementos, as well as a short documentary film offering further insight into his process while working on the road. Series represented include Sleeping by the Mississippi; Niagara (2006), focusing on Niagara Falls and its aging environs; and a new one on places in America where people retreat to “escape” civilization—from homemade cabins, to woodland communes, to virtual communities. Interspersed within these series will be numerous portraits of individuals who are the characters in Soth’s overarching narrative—ordinary people who, through his lens, tell us something extraordinary about America and the world we all inhabit.

A catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America is organized by the Walker Art Center.

Curator: Siri Engberg

Yves Klein

October 23, 2010–February 13, 2011

Half shaman, half showman, Yves Klein took the European art scene by storm in a brief career that lasted just eight years, from 1954 to 1962. Working in Paris during the apogee of geometric abstraction and Art Informel, in an intellectual scene dominated by existentialism, Klein carved out new aesthetic and theoretical territory based on his study of the mystical sect Rosicrucianism; an interest in Gaston Bachelard’s philosophical and poetic investigations of space and science; and the practice of Judo, which he described as “the discovery of the human body in a spiritual space.”

Klein’s enduring impact on art movements—including Minimal Art, Conceptual Art, Land Art, Light and Space Art, and Performance Art—and his influence on a generation of living artists, from David Hammons to Tino Sehgal, make him critically important to an understanding of much artistic practice today.

Self-identified as “the painter of space,” Klein inaugurated his defining series of blue monochromes in 1957, using an ultramarine blue of his own invention (International Klein Blue) after trying various hues. His experiments sought to achieve immaterial spirituality through pure color, which led him to refute the notion of abstract art in general: “I am the painter of space. I am not an abstract painter but on the contrary a figurative and realistic one. Let’s be reasonable, to paint space I owe it to myself to go there, into space itself.”

The first large-scale exhibition of Klein’s influential work to tour the United States in nearly three decades is organized in collaboration with the Yves Klein Archives in Paris. More than 100 works, including paintings and sculpture, preparatory drawings and sketches, films, and ephemera, will be organized to reflect Klein’s multifaceted and prolific career. His Anthropometries, Cosmogonies, fire paintings, planetary reliefs, and blue monochromes, as well as select examples of his lesser-known gold and pink monochromes and body and sponge reliefs will be represented. Also included will be examples of sculpture from Klein’s collaborations with Jean Tinguely and his sponge sculptures. Completing the exhibition will be a selection of sketches for the artist’s “air architecture” projects, photographs, the score from his “symphonie monoton-silence,” and a wide variety of items documenting other performances and projects.

Yves Klein premieres at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (May 20–September 12, 2010) before its presentation at the Walker Art Center.

A catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

Yves Klein is co-organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

The exhibition is made possible by major support from Martha and Bruce Atwater, Judy Dayton, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional support is generously provided by Constance R. Caplan and Donna and Jim Pohlad. Major support for the Yves Klein catalogue is provided by Sotheby’s, with additional support from L & M Gallery.

Curators: Philippe Vergne, director, Dia Art Foundation, and Kerry Brougher, deputy director and chief curator, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Continuing Exhibitions

Event Horizon

Through August 26, 2012

Surveying political and socioeconomic shifts in our culture and the ways in which artists have responded, Event Horizon showcases the Walker’s cross-disciplinary programming and holdings, uniting painting, sculpture, and photography with film, performance, and video. Unfolding over a nearly three-year period, the exhibition presents works that reflect the many voices, perspectives, and programs advanced by the Walker, emphasizing its role as a collecting as well as presenting institution. Active zones serve as sites for screenings, performances, and public dialogues.

Reversing the traditional precedence of the object over the event of its creation, artists such as Raymond Hains, Kara Walker, and Andy Warhol have used the very images of culture as material for exploration and critique. Appropriating mass media images, French artist Hains transformed the mundane into art with his collages created from torn posters found on the streets of Paris. Warhol’s melancholy black, blue, and white Sixteen Jackies (1964) quotes from the incessant television coverage of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, after which footage of the event was repeated for weeks. Kara Walker’s signature silhouettes are paired with rephotographed Civil War lithographs of battle and strife in her screenprint Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated) (2005).

While some galleries are quiet and contemplative, others are animated with performances, screenings, and conversation, demonstrating the Walker’s unique multidisciplinary platform. Changing selections of moving images from the Ruben/Bentson Film and Video Study Collection are screened in a designated space; video monitors in each gallery showcase the Walker’s 40-year performing arts history with landmark performances that have defined the program.

In addition to performances captured on video, renowned Japanese American dance creators Eiko & Koma will be in residence throughout the month of November 2010 to perform the Walker-commissioned piece Naked, a new “living installation,” six hours a day, six days a week.

Frequent participatory moments—from handling the sculptural Three Adaptives (1997) of Franz West to seeing one’s reflection in the mirror of Olafur Eliasson’s Convex/Concave (1995–2000)—enable a variety of experiential encounters to occur in Event Horizon, which will take shape and change during the run of the exhibition.

Event Horizon is organized by the Walker Art Center.

The exhibition is made possible by major support from Judy Dayton and Elizabeth Redleaf. Additional support is generously provided by Joan and John Nolan, Frances and Frank Wilkinson, and Miriam and Erwin Kelen. Media partner Mpls.St.Paul Magazine.

Curators: Darsie Alexander and Elizabeth Carpenter

Benches & Binoculars

Through November 21, 2010

With a bit of serendipity, a bit of clash, and a profusion of paintings displayed salon style, this exhibition offers a lively and purposely overwhelming chronicle of recent art history, raising questions about changing tastes over time and what it means to be “contemporary.” Many works have not been seen for decades, and a number of surprises (as well as a few old friends) make their 21st-century debut here. Some have served as centerpieces of key monographic exhibitions, and are locally as well as internationally renowned. Others are more modest in appearance, subject to the tides of changing taste and practice. Viewing binoculars are provided.

Choosing salon style as a mode of exhibition is something of an homage to the nature of the Walker itself—one of a few places where autonomous works and programs, with different audiences and disparate histories, coexist and frequently overlap. The Walker’s mix of live performance events, film and video screenings, and gallery exhibitions, in addition to educational programs, sets up a plethora of opportunities that keeps the offerings fresh and unpredictable.

Benches & Binoculars is organized by the Walker Art Center.

The exhibition is made possible by major support from the Shank Family Foundation. Additional support is generously provided by Jean Walker Lowell and Wayne Lowell.

Curators: Darsie Alexander and Elizabeth Carpenter

Heavy Sleepers

Through March 14, 2010

Beijing-based artist Zhao Liang’s mesmerizing two-channel video installation Heavy Sleepers (2006), an acute observation of social realities in China, depicts the interior of a dormitory for construction workers during the massive effort to build today’s China for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Viewers are taken into the intimate quarters of migrant workers who have traveled to Beijing to work during the city’s construction boom. One side of the corridor installation shows the workers sleeping; the other, their empty beds. Inside this immersive installation, the visitor encounters simple scenes illustrating the sacrifices made by China’s laborers, as the slow, unyielding camera pan reveals telling personal details. The scene of the empty beds raises the question of whether the men have gone back to work, or finally returned home. Also screening is the artist’s 25-minute single-channel video Narrative Landscape (2007–2008), which tracks the effects of time and decay on The Great Wall, one of the most ambitious building projects of all time.

Through video, photography, and documentary film, Zhao (born in 1971) examines the oppositional tensions in contemporary China: rural and urban realities, rapid progress and nostalgia, the nature of politics and the beauty of the natural world.

Heavy Sleepers is organized by the Walker Art Center.

Curator: Sheryl Mousley

Robert Irwin: Slant/Light/Volume

Through April 25, 2010

Robert Irwin’s large-scale, untitled scrim piece, which his drawings and notes refer to as “Slant/Light/Volume,” was originally commissioned by the Walker in 1971. Site-specificity, a core tenet of the artist’s practice, has been both a dream and a curse, as much of his work from the 1970s no longer exists. For 50 years, Robert Irwin has been a pivotal influence in contemporary art as an artist, theoretician, and teacher. His mid-1960s transformative pieces helped to define the aesthetics and conceptual issues of the West Coast Light and Space movement by exploring how phenomena are perceived and altered by consciousness. Irwin orchestrates the act of perception. His seemingly simple architectural interventions are philosophically rich exercises in the physical, sensory, and temporal experience of space. This little-seen installation offers a rare opportunity to experience Irwin’s pure, ethereal art.

Robert Irwin: Slant/Light/Volume is organized by the Walker Art Center

Curator: Elizabeth Carpenter

Haegue Yang: Integrity of the Insider

Through February 28, 2010

From mundane objects and materials such as venetian blinds, infrared heaters, newspaper, and even a drying rack, Berlin/Seoul-based Haegue Yang creates all-encompassing installations as well as enigmatic photographs, videos, and sculptures. Poetry, politics, and human emotion inform her practice—and its relationship to the everyday. Yearning Melancholy Red (2008), the centerpiece of the exhibition, arose from the artist’s exploration of the life of Marguerite Duras, the late French writer and filmmaker. The exhibition surveys the artist’s work from the past decade.

Related to Yang’s research into the life and work of Duras, a second phase of her Walker residency will feature a number of public programs in February 2010, including a collaborative theater workshop with Jade Gordon (My Barbarian) of Duras’ surrealistic novella The Malady of Death, a foray for Yang into the roles of dramaturg and director for staged work. The workshop will be followed by a public seminar with local directors. Additional programs include a lecture by German philosopher Marcus Steinweg; screenings of films by and about Duras, curated by Yang; and a program of Yang’s short video works. In collaboration with the artist, the Walker will publish a hybrid artist’s book that documents and contextualizes Yang’s residency project, featuring contributions from the artist and a range of workshop participants, texts on her practice and community engagement, and other related materials. The print-on-demand publication will be available for purchase from lulu.com.

Haegue Yang: Integrity of the Insider is organized by the Walker Art Center.

The exhibition is made possible by generous support from Linda and Lawrence Perlman. Haegue Yang’s artist residency is made possible by the Nimoy Foundation.

Yearning Melancholy Red is co-produced by REDCAT, Los Angeles, and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

Curators: Doryun Chong, associate curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture, the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Walker curatorial fellow Andria Hickey

Information subject to change.