The Talent Show

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You’ll Never See My Face in Kansas City, November 6, 1971 Relic: Ski Mask. © Collection: Gilbert and Lila Silverman, Southfield, Michigan.
The Talent Show
Curated by: Peter Eleey

University of Washington
15th Ave NE and NE 41st
Seattle, WA 98195
May 7th, 2011 - August 21st, 2011

United States
Wed,Sat-Sun 11-4; Thu-Fri 11-9


In recent years, television’s “reality” shows and talent competitions, along with Web-based social media, have pioneered new models of cultural participation that offer people a conflicted chance at fame. At the same time, governments worldwide have asserted vast new powers of surveillance, putting unwitting “participants” on an entirely different stage. Against this backdrop, The Talent Show, examines a range of complicated relationships that have emerged between artists, audiences, and participants in light of the competing desires for notoriety and privacy that mark our present cultural moment. For almost half a century, artists have modeled and exploited these desires and dramatized the complex dynamics that surround them, often engaging people to participate in their work—both with and without their knowledge.

The Talent Show is organized by Peter Eleey for the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and is made possible by generous support from the David Tieger Foundation and Ann M. Hatch. Presentation at the Henry is supported byArtsFund and the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. Special thanks to media sponsor Seattle Weekly.

Organized for the Henry by Curator Sara Krajewski.