- Daniel Birnbaum
- Hans Ulrich Obrist
- Gunnar Kvaran
On Saturday, June 24, 2006 the Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS) at Bard College will present its most ambitious and far-reaching exhibition to date, Uncertain States of America: American Art in the 3rd Millennium. This survey of recent developments in American contemporary art is organized by three of Europe’s leading curators: Daniel Birnbaum, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Gunnar Kvaran. In contrast to the recent Whitney Biennial, which sought to expand its program beyond the United States to incorporate many artists from Europe and elsewhere, including artists from many generations, Uncertain States is decidedly American in scope and youthful in outlook. In fact, of the more than 40 artists represented, over 90 percent were born after 1970 and most are in their early to mid 30s. First shown at the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in Oslo last October, the exhibition comprises a remarkably succinct compilation of recent evolutions in painting, sculpture, and video that, in the context of the recent Whitney Biennial, seems particularly prescient and compelling.
Uncertain States offers an expanded look at a series of major installations by an emerging generation of artists whose source material derives from a media-saturated world and a canny knowledge of new art-historical references (from Richard Prince and Christopher Wool, among others) in an age of political dissonance and free-form use of material innovations and juxtapositions. Arthur Danto, reviewing the show in Norway for Artforum, suggested that a propensity for surrealism pervades this work, but that a raw sense of experimentation and a tangibly alternative outlook, both politically and qualitatively, also resounds throughout the exhibition.
Uncertain States is the result of an extensive, two-year, research project by the curators, who conducted more than 500 studio visits throughout the United States, compiling over 2000 files on young American artists. Their selections reflect an astute, yet contentious, assessment of the current state of American art and culture. “The exhibition is not entirely American—influences come from everywhere,” state Birnbaum, Kvaran, and Obrist. “In a period where the official political culture of the United States is viewed with great skepticism on the other side of the Atlantic, it seems important to remind ourselves of this complexity. The ‘Uncertain States of America’ are not only uncertain, they are many.”
For the Center for Curatorial Studies, the exhibition will be completely reconfigured to include new works by the selected artists, a survey of contemporary independent cultural and art publications, specially commissioned performances, new outdoor installations, and public discussions.
The exhibition is on view from Saturday, June 24, through Sunday, September 10. The museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. The opening reception is on Saturday, June 24, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Both the reception and exhibition are free and open to the public.
The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard is the only venue in the United States for this exhibition. In the fall, the exhibit will travel to the Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland, and the video works will be on view at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. In 2007, the exhibit will travel to The Herning Art Museum in Herning, Denmark.
The Artists Presented in the Exhibition
Allora & Calzadilla; Edgar Arceneaux/Rodney McMillian; Devendra Banhart; Frank Benson; Mike Bouchet; Matthew Brannon; Anthony Burdin; Paul Chan; Sean Dack; Trisha Donnelly; Jim Drain; Piero Golia; Hannah Greely; Taft Green; Guyton\Walker; Karl Haendel; Christian Holstad; Shane Huffman; Jiae Hwang; Matthew Day Jackson; Matt Johnson; Miranda July; Nate Lowman; Daria Martin; Matt McCormick; Ohad Meromi; Kori Newkirk; Seth Price; Adam Putnam; Cristina Lei Rodriguez; Matthew Ronay; Mika Rottenberg; Aïda Ruilova; Paul Sietsema; Josh Smith; Mika Tajima; TM Sisters; Jordan Wolfson; Mario Ybarra Jr.; Aaron Young.
About the Curators
Daniel Birnbaumis rector of the Städelschule Art Academy and director of Portikus, both in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Gunnar B. Kvaranis director of the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in Oslo, Norway.
Hans Ulrich Obristis codirector of exhibitions and programs and director of international projects at the Serpentine Gallery in London, and has curated exhibitions at Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Kunsthalle in Vienna, Deichtor-Hallen in Hamburg, and other institutions.