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Notations/Everyday Disturbances

February 25, 2011–July 7, 2012

From the banal to the bizarre, the real to the surreal, and the readily recognizable to the seductively ambiguous, the works in Notations/Everyday Disturbances survey the tensions, or disturbances, that arise out of a collective and subversive reimagining of the world as we know it. Bringing together works from the late 1980s to now by Petah Coyne, Bruce Nauman, Wim Delvoye, Rona Pondick, Robert Gober, Marie-Ange Guilleminot, Richard Artschwager, Fabian Marcaccio, Rachel Harrison, Thomas Hirschhorn, and Richard Prince, the installation speaks to the diversity of artistic strategies that reconsider language, the body, politics, and the forms of art itself.

Since the 1980s, contemporary art produced in the West has shifted away from the ethereal or abstract and toward representation and materiality, emphasizing the imagery and presence of an object. In addition to returning to the everyday as both source and subject, many artists have abandoned the neutrality and detachment that characterized Pop and Minimalist art and instead employed incisive strategies that undermine artistic precedents and common perceptions.

Some of the selections on view show a resurgent interest in Marcel Duchamp's readymades (mass-produced items displayed as works of art) of the early twentieth century, which destabilized boundaries between everyday objects and artworks. Others revisit the idea of appropriation, in which preexisting images and clichés of language are considered anew in updated contexts. Still others reinvent the conventions of portraiture through the raw and poetic casting of fragmented body parts, or camouflage materials to blur the line between handmade and commercial. Throughout, a counterintuitive use of mediums and methods transforms the mundane into the purposefully provocative or peculiar, disturbing the fabric of the everyday and reveling in the subversive possibilities of art.

Main Building


Erica Battle, Project Curatorial Assistant

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