Opening November 20: Question the Wall Itself
Examining the Political and Cultural Significance of Interior Architecture and Décor
Minneapolis, Minn. (Nov. 3, 2016) — Opening November 20, 2016 at the Walker Art Center is Question the Wall Itself, an exhibition that examines how interior spaces are fundamental to understandings of cultural belonging and identity. On view through May 21, 2017 in the Target, Friedman, and Burnet Galleries, the exhibition features sculpture, installation, film, video, photography, performance, and siteresponsive works from 23 international, multigenerational artists who explore the political, social, and cultural dimensions of interior architecture and décor. Events related to Question the Wall Itself include the Avant Museology symposium and Lounge Act at the Thek Lounge with Wayne Koestenbaum aligned to the exhibition opening, and a Marcel Broodthaers film program in February 2017.
Artists in the exhibition include: Jonathas de Andrade, Uri Aran, Nina Beier, Marcel Broodthaers, Tom Burr, Alejandro Cesarco, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Theaster Gates, Ull Hohn, Janette Laverrière/Nairy Baghramian, Louise Lawler, Nick Mauss, Park McArthur, Lucy McKenzie, Shahryar Nashat, Walid Raad, Seth Siegelaub, Paul Sietsema, Florine Stettheimer, Rosemarie Trockel, Cerith Wyn Evans, Danh Vo, and Akram Zaatari.
Question the Wall Itself presents a breadth of works conceived as rooms, from the anteroom, prison cell, and living room, to the library, showroom, and interior garden. The exhibition hosts a range of global perspectives and includes new commissions by Uri Aran, Nina Beier, Tom Burr, and Shahryar Nashat, among others.
“The exhibition takes as its guiding principal what Belgian artist and poet Marcel Broodthaers termed ‘Esprit Décor,’ a critique of ideas of nationality, the effects of globalization, and the space of the institution through constructed interior scenes,” said Fionn Meade, exhibition curator and Walker Art Center Artistic Director. “Recasting our conception of interior space and design, the works on view exist between artwork, prop, and set or stage, challenging understandings of social convention, habit, and code.”
Many of the artists in the exhibition investigate the complicated relationship between history and interior architecture in ways relevant to their personal, social, and cultural backgrounds. Artists like Walid Raad, Jonathas de Andrade, and Paul Sietsema each look at how interior space, and architecture more broadly, relates to relevant issues of power and politics in the Middle East, Brazil, and the United States respectively. In Walid Raad’s Letters to the Reader (2014), the speculative promise of museum-scale showrooms for modern and contemporary “Arab art” in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is staged and questioned as potentially hollow décors imperceptible to spectators, while Jonathas de Andrade’s Nostalgio, Sentimiento de Classe (Nostalgia, a Class Sentiment) (2012) animates the modern architecture of Brazil as a foyer of the politics of nostalgia. A 16mm film installation from Los Angeles-based artist Paul Sietsema, Empire (2002) questions the place of information, power, and capital with panning shots of scale models made by the artist, including one of American art critic Clement Greenberg’s art-filled living room as it appeared in the pages of Vogue magazine in 1964 and the Rococo stylings of the 18th -century Salon de la Princesse in the Hôtel de Soubise, Paris. Through each of the artists’ examination of specific interior spaces and architecture, both public and private, the political, social, and subjective contexts of these environments are revealed.
Exhibition curators: Fionn Meade with Jordan Carter
To accompany Question the Wall Itself, the Walker Art Center’s forthcoming publication in early 2017 will include an extensive photographic walkthrough of the installations, texts by Jordan Carter, Douglas Crimp, Adrienne Edwards, Isla LeaverYap, Fionn Meade, Jalal Toufic, and Robert Wiesenberger, as well as contributions in the form of writing and visual essays from participating artists—creating new, related material that does not simply represent the exhibition but expands it in the form of a book-as-exhibition.
Sunday, November 20 – Monday, November 21, 2016
Walker Art Center
Held in conjunction with Question the Wall Itself, Avant Museology is a two-day symposium exploring the practices and sociopolitical implications of contemporary museology copresented by the Walker, e-flux, and the University of Minnesota Press.
Lounge Act at the Thek Lounge
Sunday, November 20, 8-10 pm
For his Lounge Act at the Thek Lounge, poet, critic, and artist Wayne Koestenbaum performs piano miniatures (Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Schumann, Albéniz, Fauré, Antheil, Poulenc, and others), while incanting spontaneous Sprechstimmestyle soliloquies. Koestenbaum’s words—improvised on the spot for the occasion— will stream in correspondence with the musical phrases in the score. Nietzsche might have called this nervy practice a gay science; at the Thek Lounge, its called confessional Socratic cabaret or stand-up-comic séance pianism. With cocktails and other distractions.
Thek Lounge is presented by Bureau des Services sans Spécificité, Geneva, with Adam Linder, Shahryar Nashat, and Sohrab Mohebbi.
“…I’m not a filmmaker.”: The Films of Marcel Broodthaers
Thursday, February 23 – Saturday, February 25, 2017
Walker Art Center
“…I’m not a filmmaker”: The Films of Marcel Broodthaers is a three-day event exploring Broodthaers’ films and their relationship to the exhibition Question The Wall Itself. In addition to the exhibition catalogue launch, the program includes talks by Bruce Jenkins, Christophe Wall-Romana, and local scholars, as well as a screening of rare 16mm films from the Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection and a gallery walk through of Question the Wall Itself. This program is a part of Walker Moving Image department’s annual Academic Partnership Program with the University of Minnesota.
GALLERY HOURS AND ADMISSION
$14 adults; $12 seniors (65+); $9 students (with ID)
Free to Walker members and children ages 18 and under.
Free with a paid event ticket within one week of performance or screening.
Free to all every Thursday evening (5–8 pm) and on the first Saturday of each month (11 am–6 pm).
Enjoy free gallery admission on Thursday nights from 4 to 8 pm.
Tuesday, Wednesday, 11 am–5 pm
Thursday, 11 am–8 pm
Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 11 am–6 pm
Question the Wall Itself is organized by the Walker Art Center. Major support for the exhibition is provided by the Prospect Creek Foundation, Elizabeth Redleaf, and Audrey and Zygi Wilf. Additional support is provided by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner. Support for the exhibition catalogue is provided by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of Walker Art Center publications. Shahryar Nashat’s commission is supported by the Bentson Foundation and the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.