Published: September 4, 2007
The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin will present “Transactions,” on view September 11 to November 18 †part of the museum’s lineup of contemporary exhibitions this fall.
Organized by the Blanton, the exhibition focuses on artists who have developed a radical approach to artistic production and distribution. Instead of relying solely on galleries and museums to deliver their work to the public, these artists insert it directly into everyday life, relying on existing, sometimes even subversive systems of distribution, from the Internet and mail order catalogs to storefront businesses, outdoor markets and newspapers. As for the work itself, it often resembles things that people use or encounter on a daily basis, more so than traditional art.
One of the most compelling aspects of “Transactions” is the way in which the various projects it features will be realized. While some document activities or interventions that have come to a conclusion, several exist beyond the walls of the museum. These “living” projects are not only completed by viewer participation, they also test expectations for a museum exhibition.
“Transactions” will explore the use of alternative systems of distribution by nine artists working in the United States, the Middle East and Latin America: Eugenio Dittborn, Conrad Bakker, Christine Hill, Daniel Bozhkov, Emily Jacir, Ben Kinmont, Cildo Meireles, Seth Price and Zoë Sheehan Saldaña. Spanning the years 1970 to 2007, the content of the exhibition ranges from videos and sculptures to photographs, paintings, and a variety of printed matter.
Bakker’s untitled project, rEpL1CA [SPAM], takes the form of an e-commerce website that distributes hand carved, hand painted sculptures representing knock-offs of designer watches.
“Transactions” also features Kinmont, who has reprinted antiwar messages from the 1960s and 1970s in national and regional publications such as Artl!es ; Jacir, who asked 60 Palestinians to place personal ads in the Village Voice seeking Jewish mates and, by implication, the right to utilize Israel’s “Law of Return”; and Saldaña, who duplicated a blouse purchased from a Wal-Mart store in Vermont and then secretly placed the hand sewn shirt back on a rack in the same store for potential sale at $9.77, an action known as shop-dropping.
The Blanton Museum of Art is at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard and Congress Avenue. For information, 512-471-7324 or www.blantonmuseum.org .
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