Our Mission:

FRCC Museum & Gallery Studies
Fourth Annual Exhibition

Exploring the evolving definition of sculpture
through objects, conceptual ideas and social media

Curatorial Statements

Object/No Object:  Sculpture of Ideas
Exhibition Statement by Alnasl, curator

Our class, the majority of which are former Contemporary Art Appreciation students, is grappling with two major movements currently being felt in the field of art.  The first is the dematerialization of the object, as expressed by Lucy Lippard.  Contemporary art has shifted from a focus on the object, to focus on the thinking process which creates a work of art.  The object can then be recreated in mass production.  Alternatively, it can be captured in media and then distributed through the World Wide Web, or similar media.  The need for an object comes into question, and we wondered what might be lost in the process for our culture.

Object/No Object:  Sculpture of Ideas
Exhibition Statement by Aimee Andrews, curator

The purpose of this exhibition is to explore the conceptual shift of meaning and value in regards to objects, specifically contemporary sculpture. The value and importance of the object has historically shifted in museums and the art world as a whole, from valued physical object to the experience, meaning, concept, process, or thought behind it. Lucy Lippard was the self-proclaimed first to speak on the subject, which she called dematerialization, in 1967. She identified a trend of “ultra-conceptual art that emphasizes the thinking process almost exclusively”, and foresaw that, “if it continues to prevail, it may result in the object’s becoming wholly obsolete”.

Joseph Beuys worked within the realm of what he titled social sculpture, with the belief that every human is a sculptor based on the innate ability to mold thoughts. Beuys said of his work, “My objects are to be seen as stimulants for the transformation of the idea of sculpture...or of art in general. They should provoke thoughts about what sculpture can be and how the concept of sculpting can be extended to the invisible materials used by everyone”. This molding of thoughts or sculpture of ideas has been created by the ongoing dialogue and theory that has inspired this exhibition—perhaps becoming an object in itself. It is our intent to create an exhibition coupled with elements of social experimentation that informs the art work, while alluding to the more ephemeral and intangible direction art is heading in the technological age. The work displayed was created with this intention in mind. In viewing Object, No Object: A Sculpture of Ideas, ask yourself what resonates with you, the object or the experience? Has the experience now become the object?

You decide.

Object/No Object:  Sculpture of Ideas
Exhibition Statement by Laura Brent, curator     

The past 50-60 years are marked by a rampant consumerism that has pervaded our capitalistic society.  We are surrounded by our things.  The mass collecting of objects may lead one to wonder why they are so important, what is it about these items that generate such profound feelings in an individual?  Is it the object itself, or the related constructs surrounding the object, the conceptual ideas of, and the intellectual or emotional response to objects and the perceived identities that go along with the ownership of such items?

What is Art?  Does it have to be something we can hold?  Where does the artwork end?  At the surface of the object, or does it continue with the personal aesthetic judgments in the mind of the viewer?  Kant’s theory of aesthetics involves a two-step process to attain the true experience, or knowledge of an object.  There is first, the visual perception, the light bouncing off the object, hitting the eye, called the “concept of form”, secondly, there is a processing in the brain, a reaction to what is being seen, the “play of the faculties”. (Esser, 2007, pg. 180)  Only once both steps are complete can an individual make an aesthetic judgment of the object.  Art is created through a form of symbols, and it is only through this aesthetic reasoning that meaning can to deduced from these forms.

Duchamp challenged the question of how we perceive objects, with his ‘readymade’ entry of Fountain, a common urinal, into the art exhibit held by the Society of Independent Artists in 1917.  It was an open and non-juried exhibition; he entered the work anonymously, and challenged the curators by testing them to see how it would be presented.  The details surrounding the loss of the object are unclear, but it was not presented at the exhibition and was not included in the catalogue.  The effects generated by this object, even with its non-appearance, forever changed the art world.  But was this art?  Without a doubt, now, everyone would agree that in fact it was, and Duchamp has forced us to think about the concept of the art object and how we define it. 

Henri-Pierre Roche summed up the Independents’ show by stating “For the public, this exhibition will make it possible to form an idea of the state of contemporary art.” (De Duve, 1996, footnote 27, pg. 106)  The cultural environment of the early 20th century is not unlike our current times.  A major conceptual shift is occurring spurred on by the technological advances and the wired world in which we live.  Object/No Object:  Sculpture of Ideas is an exhibition that will explore these ideas, and the relevance of a physical sculptural art object, the energies that surround these objects, and document the experiment in the form of our media presence. 

  1. Esser, Andrea. “Symbolizing Permanent Desire:  Kant’s Aesthetic Judgment and Duchamp’s ‘Painting of Precision’.”  In 200 Years of Immanuel Kant.  Reason, Morality and Beauty:  Essays on the Philosophy of Immanuel Kant, edited by Bindu Puri and Heiko Sievers.  India:  Oxford University Press, 2007.
  1. De Duve, Thierry.  Kant After Duchamp.  Cambridge:  The MIT press, 1996.
Object/No Object:  Sculpture of Ideas
Exhibition Statement by Kathy Webb, curator

“The wonder of it all is that what looked for all the world like a diminishing horizon - the art-object's becoming so ephemeral as to threaten to disappear altogether - has, like some marvelous philosophical riddle, turned itself inside out to reveal its opposite. What appeared to be a question of object/non-object has turned out to be a question of seeing and not seeing, of how it is we actually perceive or fail to perceive "things" in their real contexts. Now we are presented and challenged with the infinite, everyday richness... which seeks to discover and value the potential for experiencing beauty in everything.”

~ Epilogue from: Being and Circumstance, Notes Toward a Conditional Art by Robert Irwin, The Lapis Press, Larkspur Landing, CA.

The fourth annual Front Range Museum/Gallery Studies exhibit entitled Object, No Object; Sculpture of Ideas aims to explore the evolving definition of sculpture through the use of objects, conceptual ideas and social media. The exhibit aims to challenge preconceived notions of sculpture through concurrent on-line and site/time specific installations but also facilitate a public dialogue about the very nature of contemporary art, it's direction, and the commentary it makes on a digitally enhanced, hyper-modern society.

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