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General Ideas: Rethinking Conceptual Art 1987-2005
Jamie Isenstein, ‘Magic Lamps’ (detail), 2005, Digital C-print. Courtesy of the artist and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA.-The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts presents General Ideas: Rethinking Conceptual Art 1987–2005, an exhibition that seeks to track and evaluate the legacy of conceptual art in works produced by a generation of artists born during, or close to, the first phase of conceptual art production (1965–1975). Conceived by Matthew Higgs during his tenure as CCA Wattis Institute Curator, General Ideas is on view from September 15 to November 13.

Focusing on works that at least in part engage with, consist of, or actively disrupt everyday procedures, processes, routines, and actions, General Ideas seeks to explore the entanglements between (conceptual) art and the everyday, with a particular emphasis on works that embrace emotion, humor, and pathos.

"Like their Conceptualist precursors, the works in General Ideas employ the 'language, actions, processes, and existing cultural forms' of quotidian life to, in LeWitt's words, 'leap to conclusions that logic cannot reach,'" writes Higgs in an essay about the exhibition.

Works in the show range from paintings, photographs, and lithographs, to mixed media installations, video, and new media works. Examples include Adam Chodzko's The God Look-Alike Contest (1992–93), a series of images generated in response to a classified advertisement he placed in a London newspaper long before the ubiquity of the internet and reality television; Andrea Fraser's video work Little Frank and His Carp (2001), depicting an unauthorized intervention in the newly opened Guggenheim Bilbao (designed by Frank Gehry) that follows the sexually suggestive subtext of the museum's audio-tour guide to its logical denouement; and Five Coloured Words in Neon (2003), in which through the cool glamour of neon, Ron Terada restages post 9/11 hysteria while making a sly historical nod to the artist Joseph Kosuth.

Featured artists: Francis Alÿs, Jennifer Bornstein, Adam Chodzko, Martin Creed, Andrea Fraser, Liam Gillick, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Jamie Isenstein, Emily Jacir, Emma Kay, Adam McEwen, Jonathan Monk, Gabriel Orozco, Rob Pruitt, Kay Rosen, Josh Shaddock, Santiago Sierra, Ron Terada, and Rirkrit Tiravanija.

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