Many consider Marcel Duchamp to be the originator of the modern multiple. As early as 1913, this now-famous French artist/provocateur deftly demonstrated how everyday objects could become art simply by negating their original function or context. Though widely ridiculed at the time, Duchamp's "readymades," as he called them, were in effect conceptual prototypes for those artists of the European and American avant-garde, who in the late 1950s and early '60s began to experiment with creating three-dimensional art objects that could be replicated and issued as limited editions.
For these and other artists, the simple concept of duplication was central to their goal of making new art accessible to a broader public. Some were inspired by social or political motives, others by profit-making potential. Still others were fascinated with the conceptual and expressive aspects of replication. All found a receptive audience of younger collectors, who now could more easily afford to acquire original art. Today, the multiple is embraced by artists, galleries, museums, and collectors around the world, fully integrated into the global perspective of contemporary art practice. This exhibition is a sampling of that remarkable diversity.
Selected from the MIA's permanent collection and several private collections, the exhibition features more than 40 artist multiples from the 1960s to the present, including examples by Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Beuys, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, Richard Hamilton, Jesús Rafael Soto, Carl Andre, Rebecca Horn, Susan Rothenberg, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Isamu Noguchi, Louise Nevelson, Red Grooms, Rachel Whiteread, Kara Walker, Mark di Suvero, Lorna Simpson, Yinka Shonibare, and others.