Unmonumental: The Object in the 21st Century
December 1 2007 – March 30 2008
“Unmonumental” is an exhibition about fragmented forms, torn pictures and clashing sounds. Investigating the nature of collage in contemporary art practices, “Unmonumental” also describes the present as an age of crumbling symbols and broken icons. Inspired by the art it presents, “Unmonumental” grows over time like an assemblage. It starts as a survey of recent sculpture, and morphs as layers of images, sounds, and Internet-based art are added in three subsequent parts. The first exhibition in the cycle, “Unmonumental: The Object in the 21st Century” (December 1, 2007 – March 30, 2008), explores the reemergence of sculptural assemblage. This exhibition focuses on a specific form of contemporary sculpture that juxtaposes disparate elements for suggestive effect. These sculptures display an additive quality that gives them a distinct informality: conversational, provisional, at times even corroded and corrupted, they are un-heroic and manifestly unmonumental.
In the second part of the exhibition, “Collage: The Unmonumental Picture” (January 16, 2008 – March 30, 2008), two-dimensional works by eleven artists take over the museum walls and surround the sculptures. Historically collage tends to appear in times of trauma and social change. The artists in “The Unmonumental Picture” exploit the power of found images to communicate the unease, displacement, and anger peculiar to our times.
The third part, “The Sound of Things: Unmonumental Audio” (February 13, 2008 – March 30, 2008), carries the theme of unmonumentality into the realm of sound. Audio collages by thirteen artists, reflecting diverse techniques including found recording, spoken text, and manipulated noise, will play throughout three of the Museum’s galleries. The compositions are broadcast at three-minute intervals, transforming the experience of “Unmonumental” into one in which sounds and images dramatically mix and overlap. The final addition to the exhibition, “Montage: Unmonumental Online” (February 15, 2008 – March 30, 2008), occurs on the Web at rhizome.org/montage and introduces works by an international group of artists who use appropriation to create Internet-based assemblages. The artists in “Montage: Unmonumental Online” extend the radical practice of collage to the Internet: using digital images, sounds, and code, they interpret fictions and fantasies found online.