Between Critique and Absorption Contemporary Art and Consumer Culture

January 22 May 18, 2014

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The six contemporary artists included in this exhibition—Kota Ezawa, Gabriel Kuri, Josephine Meckseper, Kaz Oshiro, Dan Peterman, and Shinique Smith—employ a range of visual and conceptual strategies to interrogate consumerism. The works on display explore various facets of commerce and exchange: they draw attention to the labor that generates goods for sale and the global networks created for commodity distribution; examine the social systems constructed to support consumer behaviors; address notions of value, specifically the disconnect between our inflated desire to own things and the ease and frequency of product disposal; and highlight the myriad ways the public is seduced by an economic structure that begets insatiable buying. As the title Between Critique and Absorption suggests, these artists offer nuanced commentary on the subject matter. Rather than criticizing the compulsion to consume on a superficial level, they dismantle this insistent cultural phenomenon from the inside out. This approach requires direct appropriation of the vocabularies and methodologies of the market forces they target, hence the use of source material like post-consumer plastic waste, discarded clothing, receipts, advertising and marketing campaigns, window displays, and common household goods. The resulting artworks expose consumption as a flawed but enduring societal impulse.

Programs for Between Critique and Absorption: Contemporary Art and Consumer Culture


Wednesday, January 22, 6 p.m.

Echibition Opens

All programs take place at the Haggerty unless otherwise noted.