A great exhibition–Lots of Things Like This–organized by Dave Eggers and currently on view at apexart through May 10th, features a huge range of exceptional artists. Here’s an excerpt from an Eggers-penned essay discussing the show’s concept:
This show, titled Lots of Things Like This, came about when apexart asked for an idea for a show. The first thought that occurred to us was an exhibit that would highlight work that included these three elements:
1. An image
2. Some words (usually referring to the image)
3. A sense of humor
The show never got much more complicated than that. We started with the artists we knew we had to include: Raymond Pettibon, Tucker Nichols, Maira Kalman and David Shrigley. All four of them had found a place in the fine art world, even though in many cases their work was both narrative and funny, a combination that’s historically been rare in galleries and museums. For the most part, artists who use text in their work don’t write punchlines – the text is usually abstract or oblique, open to interpretation. But the rise of comics-based art, and of Pettibon in particular, had opened the doors to new hybrids of words and images, thank god.
In any case, being loathe to draw conclusions about the artists’ motivations or methods, because, again, so many of these people are dead, we’re instead going to list some questions that occurred to us and might occur to you and might help the show blow your mind completely:
Why is it that so many of these artists aren’t so great at spelling? And why is it that when they screw up one of their words, instead of starting over, they just cross the word out and write it again? Many people would choose to start over.
Why is it important to many of the artists that the drawings appear casual, even rushed? Is the loose draftsmanship part of its appeal, in that it seems more intimate and disarming? Is absurdity more appealing when it comes across as humble?
What is the line between a doodle, a cartoon, a gag, a work of fine art, and will there ever be a time when someone doesn’t insist on writing a similar kind of silly and rhetorical sentence in an art catalog?
Read the whole essay here and make sure to catch this unique show before it comes down.
Lots of Things Like This
organized by Dave Eggers
April 2 – May 10, 2008
291 Church Street
(between Walker and White)
New York, NY 10013 USA