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Exhibition: Past DepictionJul 08–Aug 09, 2003


Exploring what art objects do in the world today, Depiction emphasizes the direct experience of objects in response to the spin, doublespeak, and blind rhetoric that are the norm not only in American politics, but also in artistic discourse. As an answer to the question of what can be found in an object, the exhibition isolates current works that re-focus on the necessity of the art experience—that is, making and seeing in form. Extending beyond formal play, the physical phenomena of making and seeing in these paintings, sculptures, and drawings point toward the relationship between art and the world.

Has the influence of conceptualism run amuck? How far can interpretation be extended? What makes meaning in artwork? In response to the practice of attaching any number of meanings to the simplest artistic gestures, Depiction proposes that meaning resides in art objects. The exhibition does not propose a reversion to the days of high Greenbergian formalism, but a necessary correction in a world ruled by rhetoric. In response to “the rhetorical,” the paintings, drawings, and sculptures in Depiction allegorize in their formal structures seeing, making, and conceptualizing.



Angela Altenhofen, Ben Butler, Pablo Vargas Lugo, Wilhelm Sasnal, and Rosy Winterer.


Depiction is supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the College of Architecture and the Arts, University of Illinois at Chicago; and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.