Group Exhibition Material World Opens April 24, 2010
(North Adams, MA) Beginning April 24, 2010, MASS MoCA's second- and third- floor galleries will be transformed by a series of immersive, site-specific installations made from unexpectedly humble materials; the artists of Material World will use paper, plastic, rope, fishing line and more to alter the existing spaces or create autonomous environments within MASS MoCA's galleries. The exhibition reflects two trends in current art practice that have been evolving since the early 20th century: the embrace of non-art materials and the artwork's engagement with both time and space. Michael Beutler, Orly Genger, Tobias Putrih, Alyson Shotz, Dan Steinhilber, and collaborative team Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen are all known in part for their use of simple materials. Material World will be on view through February 27, 2011.
At MASS MoCA, the artists will create their work against - or in concert with - the backdrop of the museum's reclaimed factory space, its history, and its own rich assemblage of brick walls, wooden columns, steel beams, and multiple layers of paint. While the artists are themselves using industrial materials, theirs tend to be strikingly more delicate: weightless plastic sheeting, wafer-thin layers of aluminum, translucent plastic, and rolls of paper. The kind of materials produced in a factory are now the stuff of art in a factory transformed into a museum.
The installations - which create a diversity of visceral, spatial, and perceptual experiences - are unified by the artists' manipulation of modest materials and their focus on a single (or very limited palate of) material in a given work. A method of accumulation and the distinct use of repeated forms also connect the works which exploit the formal or structural characteristics of their material, and variously reference their historic, social, or symbolic associations. Some of the works could be interpreted as a dialogue on recycling and the use of materials in a consumer society. Other artists approach their materials from simultaneously utilitarian and utopian perspectives. Others find in them a vehicle for changing our perceptions and understanding various immaterial elements of the physical world that act upon them. Together, the installations offer experiences from the physical to the psychological and perceptual, and perhaps even to the political.