The Tools is a look through the wrong end of the telescope, examining art as apparatus and instrument. The show contains tools artists have constructed in view of executing their work, along with work that itself functions as a tool. What kinds of devices do artists create in the process of making? And how can the work itself become a tool for critique, education, or expression?
The Tools functions in two parts: In the first, utensils, models, and devices that artists have crafted specifically for their working process. How does preparation for work become part of the piece itself? How are aesthetic concerns manifest even before an artist touches the “final” piece?
The show’s second part turns the concept of tool on its head, presenting work that is in dialogue with the function or aesthetic of tools. These works blur the line between objects made and objects made to make, object as ends and object as means.
The show pushes against the notion of tool as a primarily physical aid. In the words of Robert Irwin, “The act of art is a tool for extended consciousness.” In some sense, then, all art is a metaphysical tool. From here, the challenge may be finding a big enough toolbox.