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September 16, 2009

2009-10 exhibition season focuses on art and the everyday

Home videos posted on YouTube. Personal photos shared with the world on Flickr. The widespread appeal of the Do-It-Yourself cable channel. America's fascination with "everyday" life is clear. Beginning this fall, the Weisman Art Museum (WAM) will launch a yearlong exploration of the idea of the everyday in art and culture.


This fascination with the everyday-and its relationship to art-isn't unique to contemporary times. American artists have explored themes of the everyday for decade. For example, in the early 20th century, American painters founded the Ashcan School and depicted the street life of New York City. Later, in the 1960s and 1970s, artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Joseph Beuys questioned the distinctions between art objects and everyday objects.

"The status of the art object has, since classical times, been understood as transcendental and separate from common experience," WAM curator Diane Mullin explained. "The moment seems ripe to think about what our definition of everyday life is. Because of a new global culture, our shifting economic situation, our new political realities-how do those forces shape our collective notion of the everyday? WAM as an art museum can look at how artists have thought about this problem. WAM's strength in modern American art makes us uniquely qualified to explore this tangle of the everyday."

The trend has resurfaced in recent times. In the 1990s, many artists (among them Pierre Huyghe, Nina Katchadourian, Claude Closky, Tom Friedman, and Sue Webster) emerged with work that indicated a clear interest in the ordinary and quotidian. This interest has spurred critical and historical studies reflecting a fascination with the mundane across the modern era, resulting in recent a spate of scholarly publications such as Johnstone's The Everyday/Documents of Contemporary Art and Casarino and Negri's In Praise of the Common.

Recent interest in and reexamination of the largely overlooked aspects of our everyday experience has only been strengthened by the current economic turmoil, with people turning to common pleasures rather than luxury pursuits. Because of the contemporary relevance of this issue, the Weisman has chosen the topic of the everyday as the focus of its 2009-2010 exhibition season.


October 23, 2009-January 3, 2010
New York art collectors Dorothy and Herbert Vogel have amassed a broad and important collection featuring minimalist, conceptual, and other work by innovative twentieth-century American artists. For four decades, they lived with this art in their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment, believing in the importance of having the work around them every day.


Working with the National Gallery of Art, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Vogels launched an unprecedented gift program that distributed much of their collection to one museum from each U.S. state. The Weisman Art Museum is the proud Minnesota recipient of this generous gift and will receive works by Will Barnet, Robert Barry, Lisa Bradley, Charles Clough, Mark Kostabi, Michael Lucero, Lucio Pozzi, Barbara Schwartz, and Richard Tuttle, among others. Chosen for its location at the University, its focus on American art, and its commitment to education and accessibility, the Weisman is thrilled to add these works to its overall collection of twentieth-century American art.


February 6-May 23, 2010
The problem of "the everyday" is central to much of the most enduring and challenging twentieth-century art, design, and craft. This exhibition will feature works from the Weisman collection that reveal how this period engaged, celebrated, and investigated the ideas of the everyday and the common. Works will include Joseph Beuys's Eraser; Warren MacKenzie's functional pottery; the work of American pop artists such as Lichtenstein, Warhol, Rosenquist, Oldenburg, and Dine; works by conceptual artists such as Robert Morris, who used words as a way to bridge the gap between art and reality; and the documentary photography of Walker Evans.


June 19-September 30, 2010
To close the year-long series, the Weisman will present an exhibition of Minnesota artists whose work addresses the issue of art and everyday life. Artists will include Diane Willow, Vince Leo, and Max Schollette, among others. Programs will include artist tours in the galleries and a WAM Chatter with selected artists moderated by curator Diane Mullin.


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