Art & Development

The Quick and the Dead: the legacy of Conceptualism

This show looks so awesome, I’m holding my head in my hands so my brain doesn’t explode. The Walker kicks ass.

The Quick and the Dead
April 24 – September 27, 2009
The Walker Art Center
Minneapolis, MN

Surveying art that tries to reach beyond itself and the limits of our knowledge and experience, The Quick and the Dead seeks, in part, to ask what is alive and dead within the legacy of conceptual art. Though the term “conceptual” has been applied to myriad kinds of art, it originally covered works and practices from the 1960s and ‘70s that emphasized the idea behind or around a work of art, foregrounding language, action, and context rather than visual form. But this basic definition fails to convey the ambitions of many artists who have been variously described as conceptual. Although some of their work involves unremarkable materials or even borders on the invisible, these artists explore new ways of thinking about time and space, often aspiring to realms and effects that fall outside of our perceptual limitations.

The exhibition brings together some 90 works by an international group of more than 50 artists in a range of media, juxtaposing a core group from the 1960s and ‘70s with more recent examples that might only loosely qualify as conceptual. With its breadth, The Quick and the Dead seeks to reinvigorate conceptual art’s enchantment and heroic sublimity, reaffirming its ability to engage some of the deeper mysteries and questions of our lives. The presentation expands beyond the Walker’s main galleries to its public spaces, parking ramp, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and the nearby Basilica of Saint Mary.

Artists in the exhibition: Francis Alÿs, Robert Barry, Joseph Beuys, George Brecht, James Lee Byars, John Cage, Maurizio Cattelan, Paul Chan, Lygia Clark, Tony Conrad, Tacita Dean, Jason Dodge, Trisha Donnelly, Marcel Duchamp, Harold Edgerton, Ceal Floyer [my new favorite artist!], Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Roger Hiorns, Douglas Huebler, Pierre Huyghe, The Institute For Figuring, Stephen Kaltenbach, On Kawara, Christine Kozlov, David Lamelas, Louise Lawler, Paul Etienne Lincoln, Mark Manders, Kris Martin, Steve McQueen, Helen Mirra, Catherine Murphy, Bruce Nauman, Rivane Neuenschwander, Claes Oldenburg, Roman Ondák, Giuseppe Penone, Susan Philipsz, Anthony Phillips, Adrian Piper, Steven Pippin, Paul Ramírez Jonas, Charles Ray, Tobias Rehberger, Hannah Rickards, Arthur Russell, Michael Sailstorfer, Roman Signer, Simon Starling, John Stezaker, Mladen Stilinović, Sturtevant, and Shomei Tomatsu.

A catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

Curator: Peter Eleey

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