If you lived here, you’d be home by now presents a number of works on loan from Marieluise Hessel’s private collection—works which she has lived with over a number of years—including paintings and sculpture by Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Agnes Martin, Louise Bourgeois, Carl Andre, and Dan Flavin. Hessel’s engagement with contemporary art began in the mid-Sixties in Munich, Germany, where she first encountered (and collected) the work of Blinky Palermo and his contemporaries. A number of these early acquisitions are on public view here for the first time. Also included in the exhibition are a series of recent additions to the Hessel Collection, which is housed at the Center for Curatorial Studies. These works by Chantal Ackerman, RH Quaytman, Moyra Davey, Saul Fletcher, Jason Simon, Michel Auder and others, highlight notions of intimacy and raise issues of privacy, obsession, and how we experience both interior spaces and our inner lives.
If you lived here, you’d be home by now is also an investigation of how an exhibition contextualizes objects within a given space, and how new meanings for objects are produced by the vantage points from which we experience them. The exhibition is based on a series of inversions and infiltrations: from transposing how the work of art is viewed in a collector’s private home into a public space to physically shifting and personalizing the sometimes passive viewing experience of a museum; from recreating aspects of the domestic interior to choosing artworks that speak about the psychic interior to new works that intentionally blur the relationship between abstraction and décor. In this vein, the Hessel Museum’s architecture has been reconfigured to echo a series of domestic settings; various galleries have been converted into spaces that suggest a living room, bedroom, dining room, hallway, vestibule, and library or study.
For this exhibition, McElheny participates not only as curatorial collaborator, but also as an artist. He stages a number of interventions in the galleries, wall paintings and drawings that investigate ways of “remembering” or perhaps even “collaborating” with Blinky Palermo. In the process of creating these works, McElheny has attempted to inhabit the working methods of Palermo—as he has done earlier with the work of Allan Kaprow— responding to space, place, and cultural situation today, all the while interpreting the logic of specific, historic temporary wall works executed by Palermo from the late Sixties and early Seventies.
Cross-referencing, both explicit and implicit, is also present in the exhibition’s title. The title of the exhibition makes reference to Martha Rosler’s ground- breaking three-part project for the Dia Art Foundation in 1989 (If you lived here), which, in a different vein, addressed homelessness and housing, as well as architecture and planning, in New York City and elsewhere.