Oscar Murillo’s peripatetic practice actively engages with the notion of cultural exchange. This work is the latest in his manifestation series. Here, he uses fragments of earlier works from his catalyst series, which employ an energetic full-body mark-making process, and then sews them together with other canvases to create a collage effect.
Murillo then applies paint on top in various motifs such as repeated letters that are painted and then obliterated, almost without trace. Characterized by dense, aggressive bursts of color—notably, fiery red in this example—the manifestation works represent a play between gesture and signification.
“Marking, dyeing, cutting, and stitching canvas comprise the physical activity needed to reflect on the notion of work, its place and displacement in the world.”
—Emma Enderby, chief curator of The Shed
Juan Muñoz was among the most significant artists to rise to international prominence in the mid-1980s and 1990s. In his formally inventive works, which range from isolated architectural elements that suggest a human presence to evocative large-scale installations comprising figures arranged in groups, Muñoz sought to foreground the relationship between the art object, architectural space, and the viewer.
This sculpture depicts a drumming figure as if caught in stasis on a wooden pedestal. Sound is an important element of Muñoz’s work, which he evoked in different ways in his ongoing effort to expand the parameters of sculpture, in particular exploring the paradoxical relationship between silence and sound in works such as this one. Drums are a recurring motif in the artist’s work and in 1995 Muñoz took a photograph of himself cast as a humble drummer in Self-Portrait.
Installation view, Program, David Zwirner, Paris, 2021, featuring works, from left, by Juan Muñoz and Oscar Murillo
Diane Arbus’s photographs span the breadth of the postwar American social sphere and constitute a diverse and singularly compelling portrait of humanity. This work, among her most iconic, was taken in 1963 during her visit to a family nudist camp in New Jersey. The setting and the individuals at the camp naturally appealed to Arbus’s interest in the tension between revelation and concealment.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, acquired a print of this image in 1965, one of the earliest works by Arbus to enter the collection. Arbus selected the image for inclusion in A box of ten photographs, her only portfolio, which she began work on in 1969, two years before her death. This photograph was printed by the artist sometime between 1969 and 1971.
Diane Arbus, Four people at a gallery opening, N.Y.C. 1968
Jason Rhoades emerged in the 1990s as one of the most formally and conceptually rigorous artists of his time. Chandelier 21 is a unique work that was originally included in Tijuanatanjierchandelier—one of several significant installations the artist made during the latter part of his career.
Composed of neon lights and found materials, the chandelier-like sculpture addresses the conditions of consumerism and global tourism that have come to dramatically shape the physical environment. These glowing neon expressions (slang for female genitalia in Spanish and English) reflect the artist’s constant engagement with language and taboo.
“A perfect work of art, I believe, uses things in it and feeds on things and runs on its own momentum. It’s able to have the capacity to grab other things out of culture and use them.… It is important that each piece creates a territory for me to go in.… I am interested in situations which open things up.”
Isa Genzken’s radically inventive practice probes the shifting boundaries between art, design, architecture, media, technology, and the individual, incorporating seemingly disparate materials to create complex works.
Nefertiti is part of Genzken’s series of replicas of the bust of the Egyptian queen, begun in 2012, each resting on a wooden plinth. The original bust embodies the ancient icon’s majestic beauty and power, and in these works, Genzken builds on this legacy of beauty and femininity in art history, often adorning the sculptures with sunglasses, commercial items, and personal objects.
Installation view, Isa Genzken, Nefertiti, 2014, in Isa Genzken: Mach Dich hübsch!, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 2015
Installation view, Program, David Zwirner, Paris, 2021, featuring works, from left, by Thomas Ruff and Isa Genzken
Thomas Ruff’s distinct approach to conceptual photography utilizes a variety of strategies, including the purposeful manipulation of source imagery, which is often derived from archival or preexisting materials, the use of color, and the enlargement of the photographic print to the scale of monumental painting.
Ruff’s tableaux chinois series arose out of his long-standing interest in the genre of propaganda photography. Ruff begins by scanning imagery from publications produced by the Chinese Communist Party that depicts smiling soldiers, scenic views, and Chairman Mao, which he then manipulates through multiple processes to reveal both twentieth- and twenty-first-century photographic techniques for the creation of propaganda images.
Thomas Ruff, tableau chinois_20, 2020 (detail)
Deeply political and historical, Christopher Williams’s work addresses the visual and informational structures that define everyday life. These hand-painted signs relate to his interest in how meaning and information are structured through the process of adaptation and restaging.
As their titles suggest, the signs are provisional and meant to be adapted for use. When situated near works that match the descriptors on the individual signs, they function almost like a caption. In spaces devoid of the elements referenced in the signs, the panels become more deeply conceptual, recalling the exploration of language and meaning in the works of artists such as Marcel Broodthaers.
Installation view, Program, David Zwirner, Paris, 2021, featuring works, from left, by Christopher Williams and Jason Rhoades