Objects Like Us, a group exhibition featuring more than seventy tabletop art objects by fifty-six artists, will open at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in May. This exhibition explores the relational behavior of intimately scaled objects that personify or embody a human condition or attribute. The objects will span nearly sixty years and feature works conceived specifically for the exhibition, including a site-specific floor installation by artist/co-curator David Adamo. The overall experience will underscore the efficacy of the works’ relativity and illuminate the interconnectedness of audience and objects. Objects Like Us, is organized by Amy Smith-Stewart, curator at The Aldrich, and Adamo; it will be on view at The Aldrich from May 20, 2018, to January 13, 2019.
Small objects of symbolic prominence exert a special hold. Some purport to possess healing powers, channel spirit gods, or speak to us; others perform for us, mime our mannerisms, or impart notable narratives. Even with the dramatic dematerialization of objects in this hyperkinetic moment, tangible objects of small stature and symptomatic value command sizeable importance in our everyday lives, as they have for tens of thousands of years. We obsessively cram our homes, offices, museums, and galleries with these diminutive objects—whether objects of art, historical worth, ceremony, or of individual accomplishment, all are expressions of us, and thus of broader culture.
In Objects Like Us each work affects or exposes a circumstance, attribute, or manner that is notably human and transmits a potentiality, aura, or agency demonstrative of being. This exhibition brings together art objects that not only parrot human behavior or gestures, but that unequivocally “interrelate.” It has been conjured as a performative arrangement, with the objects installed in an intentional frontal method of display, positioned on a long shelf that extends over three walls of a rectilinear gallery. Its design combines two common yet neutralized display formats, the table and the shelf, suspending the visitor within a situation that evokes both the home and the museum. Another distinguishing feature of this exhibition is co-curator and artist David Adamo’s (b. 1979) eleven-hundred-square-foot, site-specific floor installation, Bâtons Rompus (2012), comprised entirely of rectangular sticks of white school chalk laid out in a herringbone pattern that mimics vintage parquet. Like all ephemeral works, its vulnerability will be apparent as the chalk inescapably succumbs to day-to-day wear and tear, fracturing and eventually disintegrating under the scores of shuffling feet, enhancing the visitor’s sensitivity to site and context while tracking their introspective travels within the gallery.
Artists confirmed for the exhibition: David Adamo (b. 1979), Yuji Agematsu (b. 1956), Sam Anderson (b. 1982), Janine Antoni (b. 1964), Robert Arneson (1930‒1992), Jonathan Baldock (b. 1980), Mary Bauermeister (b. 1934), Genesis Belanger (b. 1978), Brian Belott (b. 1973), Daniel Bozhkov (b. 1959), Eugene Von Bruenchenhein (1910‒1983), James Lee Byars (1932‒1997), Pia Camil (b. 1980), Jennifer Paige Cohen (b. 1972), Jeff Davis (b. 1967), Rainer Ganahl (b. 1961), Liz Glynn (b. 1981), Ben Gocker (b. 1979), David Hammons (b. 1943), K8 Hardy (b. 1977), Lynn Hershman Leeson (b. 1941), Christian Holstad (b. 1972), Matt Hoyt (b. 1975), Jessica Jackson Hutchins (b. 1971), Jamie Isenstein (b. 1975), Lisa Kirk (b. 1967), Tetsumi Kudo (1935‒1990), Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt (b. 1948), Hanna Liden (b. 1976); Pam Lins (b. 1957), Nicolas Lobo (b. 1979), Alice Mackler (b. 1931), Joanna Malinowska (b. 1972), Tony Matelli (b. 1971), Ruby Neri (b. 1970), Sheila Pepe (b. 1959), Mai-Thu Perret (b. 1976), Sarah Peters (b. 1973), Michael Portnoy (b. 1971), Mika Rottenberg (b. 1976); Vanessa Safavi (b. 1980), Lucas Samaras (b. 1936), Aki Sasamoto (b. 1980), Sally Saul (b. 1946); Katy Schimert (b. 1963), Michelle Segre (b. 1965), Rudy Shepherd (b. 1975), Bruce M. Sherman (b. 1942), Diane Simpson (b. 1935), Luke Stettner (b. 1979), Alina Szapocznikow (1926‒1973), Francis Upritchard (b. 1976), Marianne Vitale (b. 1973), Nari Ward (b. 1963), Hannah Wilke (1940‒1993), and Rosha Yaghmai (b. 1979).
Objects Like Us is one chapter in a series of concurrent exhibitions at The Aldrich brought together under the title The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects, all of which explore the nature of small objects and our relationship to them.