September 3, 2009

Chance Aesthetics at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum

Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis
Ellsworth Kelly
Spectrum Colors Arranged by Chance V, 1951
Collage on paper, 39 x 39″
Collection of Ellsworth Kelly
Sept. 18, 2009, to Jan. 4, 2010
Major loan exhibition to explore use of chance, randomness and probability in modern art

Chance AestheticsChance Aesthetics

At the exhibition’s heart is a central paradox involving the tension between chance and choice. While many artists have championed the creative possibilities of the arbitrary and the accidental — both as an attack on reason and logic and as a counterpoint to officially sanctioned aesthetic tastes — artistic subjectivity is never entirely ceded. The controlled and the arbitrary variously interplayed throughout the 20th century, stimulating new forms of creative invention that challenged longstanding assumptions about what might constitute a work of art and the role of the artist as autonomous creator.

A fully illustrated color catalog — distributed by the University of Chicago Press — accompanies the exhibition. Essays by Susan Laxton, Meredith Malone and Janine Mileaf draw connections across media and disciplines while linking the genesis and meaning of artistic production through chance to larger socio-cultural, historical and theoretical contexts. The catalog also features extended entries on all works in the exhibition, focusing on the processes employed and the rhetoric used to describe and theorize them.

Public Opening Celebration
Friday, September 18, 7-9 pm

Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum
The Kemper Art Museum features cutting-edge special exhibitions, exceptional educational resources, and an outstanding collection of 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century European and American art. A stimulating and unique site to experience art, culture, and education in St. Louis, located on Washington University’s Danforth campus. FREE and open to the public 11-6 every day except Tuesday, open 11-8 on Friday.

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