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World Chess Hall of Fame exhibition explores relationship between art and chess
Yoko Ono, Play It By Trust (Roskilde Version), 2002. Chairs: Wood, Table: Wood, Chess Pieces: Wood. Edition 3/6. Collection of Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield.

SAINT LOUIS, MO.- The World Chess Hall of Fame, a cultural institution that showcases art, history, science and sports through the lens of chess, is exhibiting OUT OF THE BOX: Artists Play Chess, which explores artworks that consider chess both at the formal level and at the level of actual play.

This exhibition features the work of the following artists:
• Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Do you feel comfortable losing?), 2006

• Tom Friedman, Untitled, 2005

• Liliya Lifánova, Anatomy is Destiny, The Wardrobe: Game in Waiting, 2009

• Yoko Ono, Play It By Trust (Roskilde Version), 2002

• Diana Thater. Georges Koltanowski vs. Marcel Duchamp, Paris, 1929 (Played by Ellen Simon and Cybelle Tondu), 2010

• Gavin Turk, The Mechanical Turk, 2008

• Guido van der Werve, Number Twelve: variations on a theme, The King’s gambit accepted, The number of stars in the sky, And why a piano can’t be tuned, Or waiting for an earthquake, 2009

Comprising a wide breadth of media, these artworks demonstrate an integration of chess that goes beyond the visual, incorporating elements of play or strategy that invite the viewer to reflect on the game’s intricate operations. The theme of this exhibition is reminiscent of the chess-inspired strategic maneuvers of one of the twentieth century’s most respected and controversial artists, Marcel Duchamp, whose intellectual depth, ironic wit, and playful spirit are echoed in the similarly challenging, irreverent, and quixotic works in this collection.

“This exhibition is an example of how art can bring a broader understanding to the game of chess and shows the importance of the game in our culture,” said Susan Barrett, director of the World Chess Hall of Fame.

Dutch visual artist van der Werve’s will conduct a live performance of Number Twelve: Chess Piano Concert in Three Movements on Sept. 13 at the WCHOF. This unique concert will be only the second time the piece has been performed in the United States. The WCHOF is collaborating with the St. Louis Symphony and the Saint Louis Art Museum for this event.

OUT OF THE BOX: Artists Play Chess is curated by Bradley Bailey. Bailey is assistant professor of modern and contemporary art history at Saint Louis University and coauthor of the book Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess (Readymade Press; Distributed Art Publishers). In 2009 he curated the exhibition “Marcel Duchamp: Chess Master” for the Saint Louis University Museum of Art, and was co-curator of “Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess” at Francis M. Naumann Fine Art in New York.

“These artworks demonstrate how the nature of the game complicates and enriches static media such as sculpture, or time-based media such as video, and draws the spectator into the work in a way that is truly inimitable to chess,” said Bailey.

The WCHOF relocated from Miami to Saint Louis, opening in its new home on Sept. 9. The institution presents exhibitions of artistic and historical significance from collectors and nationally and internationally recognized artists. It also offers interpretive programs in areas such as dance, music and art that lend context and meaning to chess. Its exhibitions feature diverse items of historical and artistic significance and help visitors understand the game of chess as well as how it has impacted global culture.

The WCHOF displays rotating exhibitions featuring items from its permanent collection, which comprises more than 3,000 pieces, as well as four temporary exhibitions per year.

World Chess Hall of Fame | OUT OF THE BOX | Barbara Kruger |

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