An American conceptual artist born in the Bronx in 1954\, Fr ed Wilson is also a political activist. From the beginning\, Wilson’s artis tic practice has been guided by one question: How is it possible to pose cr itical questions about museum practices within a museum i tself? Through site-specific art interventions in collaboration with museum s and cultural institutions\, Wilson has developed a strategy of infiltrati ng institutional structures. Yet even in his non-installation\, autonomous works\, Wilson’s stance is clear: He attempts to undermine the discourse-de termining status of cultural institutions\, almost from the inside out\, by employing those institutions’ own vocabularies\, concepts\, and methods. H is installation in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s glass box gallery brings t ogether four different works by Wilson\, giving a representative overview o f his highly influential and diverse practice. 


The sculpture T he Mete of the Muse (2006) juxtaposes the contradictions that point ou t the blind spots in a hegemonic understanding of culture and history. To Die Upon a Kiss (2011) also speaks to the realization that culture is almost never homogenous and that cultural history seldom takes a linear course. The presence in and influence of African culture on the city of Ven ice finds eloquent expression in the form of a chandelier made of Murano gl ass\, which transitions from luminosity and transparency to opacity and obf uscation on the underside of the blackened glass. The sculpture Ota Ben ga (2008) references a different confrontation between two cultures\, one with far sadder consequences. In this work Wilson goes beyond retelling the story of the horrific treatment of an African man\, calling attention to how museums and other cultural institutions not only display but also co ntribute to the discussion of conventional ideas and paradigms.


The majority of Wilson’s artistic interventions and gestures can be described as minimal\, but it is precisely from this that they derive their actual po wer. The 35 flags (untitled (Flags)\, 2009) of the African and Afr ican diaspora nations that hang on the only wall of the glass box gallery a re completely colorless. Only outlines are drawn in black on the bare canva s. The empty spaces indicated by the missing colors also point to the blind spots in our own perceptions.

LOCATION:Cleveland Museum of Art\,11150 East Boulevard \nCleveland\, OH 441 30 SUMMARY: Works 2004–2011\, Fred Wilson END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR