The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present Almost Everything on the Table: The Smallish Explanatory Sculptures of Tucker Nichols As Employed in the Pursuit of Understanding by Dakin Hart. Comprised of tabletop hybrid objects/models composed from mostly found items, Nichols employs a wide range of materials to query both broad and topical questions about the cosmos. Almost Everything on the Table will be on view at The Aldrich May 20, 2018, to January 13, 2019.
Even before the digital era, more or less everything you needed to understand about the universe fit on a kitchen table. Small models are a surprisingly powerful way to address big questions. The most unbelievable thing about an equation like E=mc2 is not how complex it is under the hood, but that anything as abstract and simply stated as a formula with only a few terms can have any relationship to a cosmic truth.
Organized in the anyone-can-be-a-natural-philosopher spirit of the Age of Enlightenment, this installation of epistemological apparatuses conceived by Tucker Nichols to answer questions propounded by Dakin Hart, explores the enterprise of curiosity that has produced the most absurd and ennobling understandings of man. With the right tools, you can hold infinity in the palm of your hand. Nichols employs found materials sourced from the beaches near his home in Northern California or those easily procured from his surroundings. Nichols, at his own and Hart’s request, transforms and repurposes man-made detritus culled from the ocean into vessels for pseudo-scientific inquiry.
All of the work in the Almost Everything on the Table is environmental, and with a nod to the inspirational sculptor Isamu Noguchi, explores how big and small forces influence our worldview, including gravity, chance, and electromagnetism. Under these terms, everyone has the capacity to observe how these forces interact. This installation encourages hands-on discovery and is predicated on physical contact with the material.
Tucker Nichols (b. 1970, Boston, MA) received his BA from Brown University and his MA from Yale University. His work has been included in group exhibitions nationally and internationally, at venues including the Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, ME; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh, NC; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; Denver Art Museum, Denver; and SFMOMA, San Francisco, among others.
Dakin Hart is the Senior Curator at The Noguchi Museum in Long Island City, NY.
Almost Everything on the Table 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.