The Wadsworth Atheneum celebrates its collection of conceptual art with new exhibition
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The Wadsworth Atheneum celebrates its collection of conceptual art with new exhibition
Byron Kim, Emmett at Twelve Months, 1994. Egg tempera on wood panels. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund. © Byron Kim, 2023. Courtesy the artist and James Cohan, New York.

HARTFORD, CONN.- The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art presents works by pioneering conceptual artists of the 1960s and ‘70s alongside more recent acquisitions in Rules & Repetition: Conceptual Art at the Wadsworth Atheneum. The exhibition highlights the role played by the Wadsworth in supporting conceptual art and its legacy over the past 50 years. Rules & Repetition is on view October 26, 2023–February 18, 2024 at the Wadsworth.

“This exhibition highlights the Wadsworth Atheneum’s long history of engaging with challenging, cutting-edge art thanks to often visionary curators. In the 1970s Andrea Miller-Keller, curator of contemporary art, laid the foundation for the museum’s embrace of conceptual art, with support from Hartford-native Sol LeWitt,” says Matthew Hargraves, Director of the Wadsworth. “It’s a moment of the museum’s history that should be celebrated and much better known, and one that we hope will resonate with today’s visitors.”

Rules & Repetition features artists who embraced serial repetition, instruction-based artmaking, and other key conceptualist strategies in their creative practices. Countering the perception that conceptual art is cool or difficult to access, Rules & Repetition offers an approachable introduction through key works from the Wadsworth’s collection. Presented as art made by real people with urgent concerns about their world and the role that art can and should play within it, Rules & Repetition expands notions about conceptual art and its continuing relevance to contemporary art and life.

“This exhibition highlights an important and underrecognized strength in the Wadsworth’s permanent collection,” said Jared Quinton, Emily Hall Tremaine Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the Wadsworth. “It’s a chance to put well known collection works in dialogue with artworks that haven’t been shown recently and artists that aren’t always associated with conceptual art and its legacy.”

Works in the exhibition include photography and sculpture by Sol LeWitt, all eleven paintings from Lee Lozano’s Wave Series, serial photographs by Ana Mendieta, and Louise Lawler’s sound work, Birdcalls, on loan from the LeWitt collection. Taken as a whole, the nearly 40 works in the exhibition suggest how our experiences are shaped by patterns, structures, and systems, celebrating the ability of art to help us understand how we relate to the world in new ways.

Featured artists: Vito Acconci, Francis Alÿs, Carl Andre, Arakawa, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Gene Beery, Peggy Diggs, Spencer Finch, Charles Gaines, Alfred Jensen, Byron Kim, Louise Lawler, Sol LeWitt, Lee Lozano, Ana Mendieta, Matt Mullican, Doug Ohlson, Jeffrey Perrott, Robert Rohm, Lorna Simpson, Christopher Williams.

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