Transitions: States of Being
September 10 - December 4, 2016
Zuckerman Museum of Art | East Galleries 2 & 3, Mortin Galleries
Curator: Kirstie Tepper
Meaning is not static. It is dependent on context and point of view. Transitions: States of Being examined this phenomenon of fluctuating narratives through a series of case studies. At the center of this effort was a group of ivories collected in the early 20th century in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. The function and interpretation of these objects has shifted from objects of material culture to exported souvenirs to precious museum artifacts to contested museum artifacts.
The current conversation about the ivory trade and the sport of hunting, as well as ideas of trophies, collection, and display were referenced and expanded in this exhibition by work by Joe Peragine, Constance Thalken, and Mark Dion. Willie Cole pulled from contemporary material culture to transform and shift meaning in everyday objects. Alexis Rockman alluded to the legacies of colonial expansion and exploration, Lynn Hershman Leeson considered a 21st century approach to presumed advancement and discovery, and Danielle Roney reflected upon ideas of cultural displacement. Louise Lawler offered direct commentary on the shifting landscape of meaning and value in art, and Amy Pleasant’s work addressed the eccentricities of the individual viewpoint on history. Thus, the idea of transition and context was broadened and complicated through the work of these artists.
Image: Installation of Transitions: States of Being featuring Lynn Hershman Leeson's GMO Animals, Crops, Labs (detail, left and right), Alexis Rockman's Bananas (center), and Danielle Roney's Refugee Conversations (video detail, right center).