Wallace and Donahue
February 1 – March 30 1986
This window exhibition expanded beyond the Window on Mercer space, to encompass the stairwell and lower level of New Museum’s 583 Broadway location. There was a collaborative sense to the work of Wallace and Donahue, not only in that they were made by two people, but also that they seemed to harbor an internal dialogue. Their discursive character was reflected in their incongruous juxtaposition of formal painting, and such eccentric attachments as a rearview mirror or a swimming pool ladder, as well as in their humor and their refusal of a specific signature style.
While the paintings were not site-specific, they did draw a large measure of their meaning from the viewer’s involvement in the context and the conditions of their exhibition. In this respect, they constituted less of a critique of the specific facts of exhibition, than an attentiveness to the awkwardness of displaying and viewing art. Articulate critics themselves, Wallace and Donahue recognized that “You can control the appearance of something,” but at the same time they asked, “how do you control meaning?”