Date/Time: 30/04/2004 12:00 am
The Big Nothing
May 1 – August 1, 2004
Opening Reception Friday April 30, 6-8pm
Walkthrough prior to reception, 5pm
The void, the ineffable, the sublime, nonsense, nihilism, zero—all are encompassed by “nothing.” Filling two floors and both main gallery spaces, the exhibition at ICA will include painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, video and film. Co-curated by ICA Senior Curator Ingrid Schaffner, Associate Curator Bennett Simpson, and Whitney-Lauder Fellow Tanya Leighton, the show will draw primarily on artwork from the 1970s to the present. It will be accompanied by a catalog publication. In addition, it will anchor a series of independently curated exhibitions and events throughout the Philadelphia region.
Bombhead, 2002, Pigmented ink jet, acrylic paint on paper, 38 3/8 x 31 1/8, Courtesy of Susan Inglett Gallery.
ICA’s first floor gallery will trace a number of distinct approaches to nothing. Works by Andy Warhol and Richard Prince will explore pop art’s portrayal of a vacuous consumer culture. Another section will approach nothing from a more metaphysical, or even cosmological angle: paintings by Jack Goldstein, for instance, depict “invisible” natural phenomena like heat or star clusters, while Yayoi Kusama’s paintings try to represent “infinity” with shimmering allover patterns of dots, cells and lines. Philadelphia artist Thomas Chimes, for his part, makes quiet, nearly all white paintings of romantic, dreamlike landscapes. He is also known for his ghostly portraits of Alfred Jarry and Edgar Allan Poe, nineteenth century writers who, themselves, are often associate with “nothing.”
Moon, 2003, C-print, 24 x 30 inches Courtesy of the artist.
In yet another section, reduction, refusal and negation provide entries to thinking about nothing. Included will be photographs by Louise Lawler, who, since the 1970s, has taken pictures of empty or deinstalled museum spaces. Minimalist paintings by Jo Baer update an interest in reductivist abstraction and the monochrome. “Black Paintings” by Jutta Koether also figure here, their imagery darkened out and painted over by the artist during intense, piercingly loud musical performances. A fourth grouping of work in the main space will document artistic projects that have sought to close or empty the gallery space. This surprisingly recurrent gesture in contemporary art—Yves Klein, Robert Barry, and Gareth James have all made signature works by removing or displacing art from its normative contexts—will be traced through photographs, manuscripts, manifestos, and other ephemera.
Andy Warhol as the “Invisible Sculpture” at Area. March 1985 © Patrick McMullan
ICA’s upstairs gallery will be devoted entirely to film and video, and will include works by Bernadette Corporation, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Pierre Huyghe, John Smith, Nicolas Guagnini and Karin Schneider, and Charlemagne Palestine among others.
Artists in the exhibition at ICA: Bas Jan Ader, Ayreen Anastas, Richard Artschwager, Michael Asher, Michel Auder, Jo Baer, Robert Barry, Larry Bell, Bernadette Corporation, James Lee Byars, Maurizio Cattelan, Thomas Chimes, Bruce Conner, Day Without Art, Jessica Diamond, Roe Ethridge, Lili Fleury, Rene Gabri, Jack Goldstein, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Nicolas Guagnini, Heavy Industries, Richard Hook, Roni Horn, Pierre Huyghe, Gareth James, Ray Johnson, Yves Klein, Joachim Koester, Jutta Koether, Yayoi Kusama, Louise Lawler, Gordon Matta-Clark, Allan McCollum, Patrick McMullen, John Miller, Matt Mullican, Eileen Neff, Gabriel Orozco, Raphael Ortiz, Charlemagne Palestine, Philippe Parreno, William Pope.L, Doris Salcedo, Karin Schneider, Allan Sekula, Arlene Shechet, Santiago Sierra, John Smith, Robert Smithson, Paul Swenbeck, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Andy Warhol, James Welling, John Wesley, Steve Wolfe, and David Hammons (at The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia).