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Walking Sculpture 1967–2015 considers the history and practice of walking as a means for questioning social, political, economic, and artistic hierarchies.
Featured artists include Francis Alÿs, Hannah Barco, Stanley Brouwn, André Cadere, Tyler Coburn, Kate Colby and Todd Shalom, Catherine D’Ignazio, Simon Faithfull, Shilpa Gupta, Sharon Hayes, Wendy Jacob, Joachim Koester, Melanie Manchot, Helen Mirra, Bruce Nauman, Paulo Nazareth, Michelangelo Pistoletto, and William Pope.L.
Inspired by Michelangelo Pistoletto’s 1967 performance Walking Sculpture, in which the artist rolled a newspaper sphere through city streets in Turin, Italy, Walking Sculpture 1967–2015 features an international selection of artists who engage in walking as an autonomous form of art, as cartography, as an exploration of physical experience, and as social practice. Pistoletto’s walking performance was an act of dissonance against both traditional methods of art-making and behavioral norms. In the same spirit, Walking Sculpture 1967–2015 considers artists’ use of this elemental and often overlooked act as a poetic means for questioning established conventions of seeing and thinking.
Sculpture, video, photography, and performance converge in this exhibition to address the multi-disciplinary practice of ambulation through the cityscape and the countryside. Walking Sculpture 1967–2015 is accompanied by a robust slate of public programming, including commissioned and artist-led walks in deCordova’s own Sculpture Park and in surrounding conservation lands in Lincoln and Concord, Massachusetts.
The exhibition is organized by Assistant Curator Lexi Lee Sullivan and is accompanied by a catalogue distributed by Yale University Press. Available for purchase at deCordova | Store.
This exhibition is supported in part by generous grants from the Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne, the Goldhirsh Foundation with special thanks to Donald and Jeanne Stanton, the Nathaniel Saltonstall Arts Fund, the Art Dealers Association of America Foundation (ADAA), and the Association of Museum Curators (AAMC). Additional support for this exhibition has been provided by an anonymous donor, Joyce Linde, and The Meredyth Hyatt Moses Fund.
Integrated Vision is an exhibition of permanent collection work that brings together highly textured, luminously pigmented paintings by György Kepes and bold, graphic screen prints of the moon’s surface by Len Gittleman to create a dialogue about science, nature, and art.
Writing about people’s inability to fully grasp the infinite knowledge available in the world–particularly in light of modern scientific advances–Kepes called for an “integrated vision” that assimilated the rational and the emotional experience. Presented together in Integrated Vision, works by Kepes and Gittleman create a conversation about the artist’s role in examining and interpreting empirical knowledge of science and nature through the lens of art.
Gittleman’s Lunar Transformation is a series of ten vividly colored serigraphs created from black and white photographs taken during the Apollo 15 mission to the moon in 1971. Gittleman uses bright color to transform the craters and crevices of the lunar surface into vibrant abstractions which recall Abstract Expressionist painting. The strong graphic prints reflect the awe-inspiring nature of their source material.
Best known for his photography, design, and writings about the marriage of art and science, Kepes was also a prolific painter. His paintings served as a vehicle for exploration of the relationship between structural and gestural marks, terrestrial and celestial allusions, and physical and metaphysical experiences. While abstract, the earthy texture and biomorphic shapes in Kepes’ paintings hint at landscapes, cosmic bodies, or amoebic forms.
Photographs by each artist will also be included to provide context for the serigraphs and paintings in relationship to the artists’ larger practices. Gittleman’s Polaroid photograms, like his serigraphs, use color and light to render abstract forms. Striking illusions of three-dimensionality appear in these images, which present a strong formal arrangement of shape, color, and shadow. Kepes’ photographs reveal a clear correlation with his paintings: both combine expressive lines and atmospheric lighting effects, reflecting his study of the intersection of science, art, and nature.
Presented at a time when the compulsion to digitally document and share human activity has increased exponentially, this exhibition features works from deCordova’s permanent collection that prefigure and inform current trends in social photography, as well as recent work by contemporary artists who utilize smartphones and social media to record the world around them. The Social Medium features work spanning from the mid-twentieth century to the present, and includes multiple photographic genres such as social documentary, street, society/celebrity, and portrait photography.
The Social Medium was largely inspired by a recent gift of one of Andy Warhol’s Little Red Books, which contains a set of color Polaroids. With his camera, Warhol documented the events of his life—from glamorous celebrity parties to mundane occurrences. The arrival of these photographs, which record Warhol’s artistic and social milieu (or environment), created an opportunity to examine the work of other artists who also photograph social experience.
Together, the work in this exhibition speaks to the continued relevance of the photographic medium’s singular power to capture and preserve personal and societal histories, and provides a selective history of the camera’s role as an extension of memory and a tool that is at once a witness to and participant in human social activity.
This exhibition features the work of Jules Aarons, Elsa Dorfman, Larry Fink, Charles “Teenie” Harris, Lotte Jacobi, Rodger Kingston, Phillip Maisel, Nicholas Nixon, Tod Papageorge, Bill Ravanesi, Eugene Richards, Michal Ronnen Safdie, Greg Schmigel, Neal Slavin, and Andy Warhol. The Social Medium has been generously funded by an anonymous donor.
Walden, revisited features works by contemporary artists inspired by Walden–the pond; the book published in 1854 by natural history philosopher, social critic, and early environmentalist Henry David Thoreau; and the connection and disconnection between the two. In 1845, Thoreau (1817–1862) embarked on a now-legendary two-year, two-month, and two-day venture into the Concord woods to write and live “Spartan-like.” He immortalized his experiment in Walden; or Life in the Woods, which extols the virtues of a life simplified to “only the essential facts,” spent in a self-built, one-room cabin near the shores of Walden Pond.
Today, 160 years after its first publication, Walden is firmly ensconced in the canon of great American literature. It remains the foundational text for American nature writing, and its message of living simply, economically, and intentionally has resonated throughout subsequent generations. In the wake of the Great Recession and the growing urgency of climate change, Walden emerges again as a home-grown American handbook dedicated to self-reliance and a life lived with, not against, nature.
These same topics loom large as contemporary artists rethink their relationship to society, the environment, and the role of art within culture. Walden, revisited brings fifteen artists to deCordova, the pond’s neighbor, to contemplate and review the less explored legacies of this great American memoir through and in contemporary art practices.
Walden, revisited features sculpture, installation, performance, painting, drawing, and video, alongside new commissions. Artists include James Benning, David Brooks, William Cordova, Spencer Finch, Futurefarmers, William Lamson, Ana María Gómez López and Pamela Jordan, Jane D. Marsching, Michael Mercil, Oscar Palacio, Gina Siepel, Lisa Sigal, Jennifer Sullivan, Deb Todd Wheeler, and Hilary Wilder.
Want more Walden?
Visit our collaborators: Walden Pond State Reservation, Concord Museum, Concord Free Public Library, Lincoln Conservation Trails, The Thoreau Society Shop at Walden Pond, and The Walden Woods Project.
This exhibition has been supported in part by the generosity of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Nathaniel Saltonstall Arts Fund, and the Artist's Resource Trust. Additional support for this exhibition has been provided in part by an anonymous donor and Joyce Linde. Funding for Walden, revisited programming has been partially provided by the Ogden Codman Trust.
Tim de Christopher’s The Fruit of Our Labors is an evolving work that explores the life and labors of one man. Synthesizing the traditional practice of stone carving with more contemporary modes of sculpture making, de Christopher’s most recent version of this installation at deCordova is a large, timber-framed structure that houses artist’s stone sculptures as well as weathered found objects.
Evocative of an ancient Greek temple, the structure acts as a monument; its items metaphorically pay tribute to a life lived, representing ideas that are both deeply personal and universally experienced. De Christopher connects these elements visually through a system of lines in space—ropes strung through pulleys, wood beams and shelving, and metal rods—affirming the interrelatedness of all things. Through his composition of accumulated elements, the artist comments on the manner in which we collect things throughout our lives, be they physical objects or intangible memories, prompting questions about what we choose to keep and what we leave behind.
The Fruit of Our Labors was previously installed at the Oxbow Gallery, in Northampton, MA in December of 2010.
This exhibition has been generously funded by an anonymous donor.