January 26, 2013 – April 14, 2012
Significant Ordinaries features the work of contemporary artists Louise Lawler, Jeffrey Vallance, William Leavitt, Mark Wyse, and David Horvitz. Using methods associated with the curatorial process of arrangement and display, these artists explore, redefine, and extend the act of presentation as a form of media. The exhibition expands on the discourse of Conceptual Art and the subsequent genre of Institutional Critique and examines the influence of appropriation and archival methods involved in how we come to understand and classify the role of authorship.
Through examining appropriation and archival methods as a process for acquiring objects, Significant Ordinaries focuses on the choice and display of objects as acts of artistic creation. Here, the artist is more than a maker of objects that are collected in turn. By appropriating administrative methods of arrangement and display from museums and institutions these artists, who deploy practices of collecting and curating, explore not only basic ideas of creativity, but issues of ownership and attitudes of viewing.
The approach of artists in Significant Ordinaries expands on the oppositional attitude of early Institutional Critique. By engaging broadly and deeply with institutions, these artists appropriate institutional methods and their meanings in ways that range from subversion to displacement and cooperation. As a corollary, the idea of “institution” is opened up to create alternative dialogues with diverse spaces of display.
The authoritative position of arranging and organizing objects is apparent in the artwork of Lawler, Vallance, Leavitt, Wyse, and Horvitz. Lawler’s photographs of artworks in institutions and private collections opens a dialogue about the collecting and displaying of objects while Vallance uses the symbolic display platform of religious reliquaries to examine the importance placed on objects. Leavitt’s domestic interiors create a theatrical space for viewers to contemplate their existence amongst its ordinary aesthetics. Wyse’s arrangement of photographic reproductions of other artists’ work and Horvitz’s archival folder, including artworks by 27 different artists, problematizes how we understand and classify the role of authorship. In its entirety, Significant Ordinaries expands on the concepts and acts associated with “curating,” providing a glance into the continued legacy of Institutional Critique.
Under the direction of Dr. Kendall Brown and Nizan Shaked, subsequent Directors of the CSULB Graduate Program in Museum and Curatorial Studies, Significant Ordinaries was curated and organized by David De Boer, Eamonn Fox, and Mary Grace Sanchez in partial requirement for the CSULB Graduate Program in Museum and Curatorial Studies. Significant Ordinaries is made possible by generous funding provided by Instructional Related Activities, California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) and Associated Students, Inc., CSULB. The staff of the University Art Museum deserves special thanks for their support and advice throughout the process.