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Krannert Art Museum's Spring exhibitions explore contemporary life and process
Cao Guimarães and Carolina Cordeiro, Campo Cego (Blind Field), 2008. C-print. Courtesy Galeria Nara Roesler© Cao Guimarães and Carolina Cordeiro.

CHAMPAIGN, IL.- Krannert Art Museum opened four new exhibitions that highlight different aspects of how we understand and interact within our daily lives.

Blind Field (January 25 through March 31, 2013) features twenty emerging and mid-career artists working in Brazil who offer a critical perspective on processes of transition within contemporary society, be it from the public space of the street to the virtual zone of the computer screen, or the scale of local communities to the structure of large-scale political action. Brazil has long been called "the country of the future." From the dramatic construction of the ultramodern capital of Brasília in the late 1950s to the country's status as an emerging economic powerhouse in the 21st century, Brazilian national identity is inextricably intertwined with the idea of its potentiality. Yet the Brazilian saying from which the idea for this exhibition derives is more complex, for it suggests that the notion of potentiality is itself something of a mirage, an illusion that blinds its citizens to the reality of the present day. This exhibition takes up blindness as a critical category, a metaphor for the way in which the obstruction of perception can illuminate alternate modes of knowledge and experience.

Exhibiting artist Graziela Kunsch will present the artist talk “The Refusal of the Artwork” on February 14. Blind Field, curated by KAM curator of Contemporary Art Tumelo Mosaka and Irene V. Small, professor of Art History and Archaeology, Princeton University, will travel to the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University where it will open on June 7.

KAM invited internationally acclaimed South African artist Moshekwa Langa to create an installation in dialogue with Encounters: The Arts of Africa, KAM’s new gallery dedicated to its African collection. By using the idea of the biography or life history of African objects as a point of departure, Counterpoints: Moshekwa Langa, In and Out of Africa (January 25 through May 12, 2013), draws on material(s) from the many places he has called home and from his journeys in between. Through portraiture, color, script-strewn images, collage-like maps, and imaginary vistas comprised of everyday objects, Langa’s work resists category and loosens the grip that conventional understandings of culture, origin, and place have had on art made by Africans. Counterpoints, organized by KAM curator of African Art Allyson Purpura, will feature a talk with the artist on February 21.

On loan from the Amistad Research Center, Tulane University, Jacob Lawrence: Toussaint L’Ouverture Series (January 25 through April 28, 2013) showcases the 41 paintings on the life of Toussaint L’Ouverture, the revolutionary who helped former slaves establish the republic of Haiti in 1804. Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000) was one of the most influential and compelling painters of the twentieth century whose work focused on the struggles of historical and contemporary black culture. The exhibition is also part of the University of Illinois’s celebration of the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Barry Gaither, executive director of the Museum of the National Center for Afro-American Artists in Boston, will present his talk “Jacob Lawrence’s Toussaint L’Ouverture Series: Historical & Art/Historical Contexts” on January 24.

Processing the Everyday (January 25 through April 28, 2013) highlights works from the museum’s permanent collection. On a daily basis, we encounter a variety of stimuli that we consciously and unconsciously digest—a limitless combination of mass media imagery, banal and mundane objects, and other elements within our immediate physical surroundings. The works in this exhibition explore the different ways we navigate these occurrences of the everyday by highlighting both subtle and deliberate processes of art making, directly calling attention to particular aspects while, at other times, slowly revealing them. It is the close examination of the artwork’s process that grants us a way into understanding and perceiving our own everyday life. Focused on the latter half of the twentieth century, Processing the Everyday features works by William Anastasi, Sam Jury, Ed Ruscha, and Andy Warhol, among others. Kathryn Koca Polite, KAM curatorial assistant, curated the exhibition.

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