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Special Exhibition Showcases the Work of 11 Contemporary Artists
Peter Fischli and David Weiss, still from Der Lauf der Dinge (The Way Things Go), 1987. 16 mm film transferred to DVD; 30-minute loop. © Peter Fischli David Weiss, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery, New York

NEW HAVEN, CT.- Continuous Present features a selection of work by 11 of today’s most compelling contemporary artists working in a broad array of media, including film, video, photography, painting, and sculpture. The artists chosen for the show are Francis Alÿs, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Rodney Graham, Roni Horn, On Kawara, Thomas Nozkowski, Gabriel Orozco, Laura Owens, Dieter Roth, and Franz West. Jennifer Gross, the Seymour H. Knox, Jr., Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, organized the exhibition, which will be on view at the Yale University Art Gallery from October 6, 2009–January 10, 2010.

While these artists work in disparate media, “their works all challenge conceptions of time and invite viewers to think about how artists use traditional and innovative methods to convey their ideas,” according to Jock Reynolds, the Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery. From On Kawara’s paintings, comprised only of the date of execution painted in white letters on a flat background, to Francis Alÿs’s animated loop of a woman pouring water back and forth between two glasses, the works in the exhibition speak to the fact that in art, as in life, the essential struggle is the effort to seize the moment—again, and again, and again.

The artists in the exhibition each present works that reflect upon the capacity of art to heighten our sensory awareness. Franz West, for instance, makes sculptures for viewers to connect with through close looking. One such work is West’s brightly colored aluminum Laokoon (2002), which will be on view in the sculpture garden outside the Gallery. Roni Horn, m.f.a. 1978, creates a series of photographs that were exposed for over a minute to produce hazy impressions of a clown’s face, slowing us down to reveal the moving complexity found in the gathering of small gestures and shifts in observation. Gabriel Orozco creates abstract drawings by placing his pencil down and moving it to the rhythm of his breath.

These works, along with the others in the exhibition, remind us of the capacity of art to profoundly reposition our physical and intellectual engagement with the world around us. Jennifer Gross explains, “Artistic inquiry is often motivated by a singular aspiration—a relentless curiosity for knowledge, an acute focus of perception, the address of a haunting concern, or the desire for the mastery of craft. The artist doggedly revisits, repositions, and reapproaches this question or vision in his or her studio. The resulting works yield a refraction of the artist’s experience for the viewer and offer the opportunity to live in the ‘continuous present.’”

Continuous Present is organized by Jennifer Gross, the Seymour H. Knox, Jr., Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. Made possible by the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund, with additional support provided by the Carol and Sol LeWitt Fund and Allen Grover Fund for Contemporary Art.

Yale University Art Gallery | Thomas Nozkowski | Gabriel Orozco | Jennifer Gross |

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