This February, The Blanton Museum of Art
at The University of Texas at Austin investigates the notion of desire in an exhibition of the same name. Curated by Annette DiMeo Carlozzi, Blanton curator of American and contemporary art and director of curatorial affairs, the exhibition features over fifty works from an international group of contemporary artists working in all media, including Glenn Ligon, Marilyn Minter, Petah Coyne, Bill Viola, Tracey Emin, Isaac Julien and many others. The accompanying illustrated catalogue will contain texts by art critics, fiction writers, poets, performing and visual artists, all written in direct response to the works of art in the exhibition.
Carlozzi states, "Desire" is a complex human emotion and a driving force in our lives from childhood through old age. We all can recall examples of literature, film, and music that are rife with expressions of physical desire, but how do contemporary visual artists portray it, and all its attendant psychological statesanticipation, arousal, longing, regret, and so on? "Desire" assembles a really broad range of compelling works that together present a surprisingly diverse portrait of the experience.
One provocative aspect of the exhibition is not its imagery, per se, but the manner by which many of the works translate intimate experiences into art a public expression. Marilyn Minters "Crystal Swallow" would seem to capture a private moment of visceral response, yet in such detail and exaggerated scale that it becomes a grotesque advertisement for arousal. Glenn Ligons series, "Lest We Forget", commemorates those flickers of romantic fantasy that sometimes occur while people watching. And Tracey Emins "You Should Have Loved Me" is an accusation from a lover scorned, created with the neon light of public signage as if to broadcast raw feeling to an uncaring world.
Works by Kalup Linzy, William Villalongo, Olaf Breuning, James Drake, Petah Coyne, Gajin Fugita, Georganne Deen, Adam Pendleton, Peter Saul, Valeska Soares, Danica Phelps, Miguel Angel Rojas, Mads Lynnerup, Rochelle Feinstein, Richard Prince, Laurel Nakadate, Jesse Amado, Isabell Heimerdinger, Alejandro Cesarco, Eve Sussman, Robert Kushner, Luisa Lambri, Chris Doyle, and a dozen others, provide an engaging multi-generational exploration of desire. In addition, an informed selection of works of art from The Blantons print collection will add a historic counterpoint to the contemporary works on view.