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Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago

Exhibition Detail
Matthew Metzger: Ghost
Curated by: Jessica Moss
5550 S. Greenwood Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

September 11th, 2011 - August 12th, 2012
Ghost , Matthew MetzgerMatthew Metzger, Ghost ,
2011, Latex on canvas with clear coat protectant
© Courtesy of the artist and Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago
South Side
Tue-Wed, Fri-Sun 10-5; Thu 10-8

The instantly recognizable red-and-white scuba “diver down” emblem alerts boaters to keep their distance as a diver is in the water and near the surface. Designed in 1953, it is now commonly emblazoned on stickers, t-shirts, flags, and other products.

For Chicago-based artist Matthew Metzger, the logo also provides formal and philosophical groundwork for exploration in a new painting commissioned for the Smart’s sculpture garden. Metzger (University of Chicago MFA 2009) sees the image as a memento mori that reminds us both of the body’s limited capacity to occupy a space and of our fleeting mortality. He is also interested in the emblem’s formal connections to hard-edge abstract painting of the 1950s and 60s through its color fields and emphasis on shape and dimension. In a thought-provoking new painting that references art history and popular culture, Metzger recreates the “diver down” logo while maintaining its emblematic proportions, within the constraints of a large canvas that fills the horizontal dimensions of the Museum’s entryway.

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