Modern and Contemporary Gallery 176, first floor
"Notations" is an ongoing series of gallery installations named after the 1968 book by John Cage. Cage's Notations was an international and interdisciplinary anthology of scores by avant-garde musicians, and featured contributions from visual artists and writers. At the same time, it was an exhibition in book form—in which the scores doubled as drawings. The "Notations" series serves as a flexible tool to explore contemporary art in the Museum's expanding collection, allowing for experimentation with various exhibition alternatives.
Energy Yes!, the first installment of "Notations," highlights works by Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, and Thomas Hirschhorn that are new acquisitions and recently promised gifts. The title is borrowed from Hirschhorn, for whom "Energy Yes, Quality No!" is both a battle cry and a motto. Energy, in this context, is understood both literally and metaphorically.
Literally, it is seen in works by Bruce Nauman and Victor Grippo, with one illuminated by electricity and the other an astonishing reminder that all living beings are animated by immaterial energy. Metaphorically, it is understood as the very substance of artistic labor, a fundamental means of transforming matter into consciousness. The question of what constitutes the work of an artist is central to many of the pieces featured.
Moving across generations and boundaries, Energy Yes! features local and international artists who are pursuing parallel concerns and seeking to engage viewers in an interpretative and animating dialogue. An alternating series of drawings from the Museum's permanent collection exhibits the pursuit of these explorations across different mediums.
Carlos Basualdo • Curator of Contemporary Art
Emily Hage • Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow of Modern and Contemporary Art