The Pomona College Museum of Art presents the traveling exhibition “The New Normal” from August 25 to October 18, 2009, with opening reception Saturday, September 12 5-7pm.
The exhibition brings together thirteen recent artworks that use private information as raw material and subject matter. Although the concept of privacy is widely invoked, it is difficult to define. The private sphere encompasses domestic spaces, bodies, thoughts, communications, and behaviors—contexts that are usually rendered inaccessible to the public eye by legal, social, and physical boundaries. The practices that demarcate the private sphere are so much a part of the fabric of everyday life—wearing clothing, politely pretending not to overhear a cell-phone conversation—that they only become noticeable when they shift, making the private sphere visible to the public eye. Privacy, to put it bluntly, captures our attention only when it is under threat.
Each of the works in “The New Normal”—video, Web sites, sculpture, artist’s books, found objects, and photographs—grants access to the private sphere of the artists themselves, of strangers, and of public officials. Overall, the exhibition creates a sense that access to private information is a kind of currency, the exchange of which is growing and evolving in bewildering ways. We may find it frightening or fascinating, but we are all inescapably complicit in it.
The New Normal is a traveling exhibition co-organized by iCI (Independent Curators International), New York, and Artists Space, New York, and circulated by iCI. The guest curator for the exhibition is Michael Connor. The exhibition, tour, and catalogue are made possible, in part, with funding to iCI from The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the iCI independents, The Cowles Charitable Trust, and The Overbrook Foundation; and to Artists Space from the Starry Night Fund of the Tides Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the David S. Howe Foundation, the John S. Johnson and Susan R. Short Foundation, Yvon Lambert, the supporters of the Artists Space Publications Program, and the British Council.