Meta-Monumental Garage Sale
November 17–30, 2012
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
11 West 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019
T 212 708 9400
New York-based artist Martha Rosler presents her Meta-Monumental Garage Sale, a large-scale version of the classic American garage sale, at The Museum of Modern Art. Museum visitors will be able to browse and buy second-hand goods organized, displayed, and sold by the artist.
Rosler first staged this work in 1973, as the Monumental Garage Sale, in the art gallery of the University of California, San Diego. The sale was advertised to the art and university community, and to the general public in local free newspapers. Clothes, shoes, books, records, toys, costume jewelry, tools, personal letters, artworks, mementos—even soft-core pornographic magazines and empty food containers—were displayed on racks and tables for visitors to browse and buy, often after bargaining over the price.
Meta-Monumental Garage Sale transforms the Museum’s Marron Atrium into an informal cash economy—a space for the exchange of goods, narratives, and ideas—as it implicates visitors in face-to-face transactions. Rosler oversees the sale daily and engages with visitors. A slide show and an audio meditation on the role of commodities in everyday life, both artifacts from the work’s early performances, are included in this newest installation. Some items accumulated during previous versions of the work are also for sale or on display, as traces from the project’s past locales. Photographs of visitors at earlier sales are displayed alongside photographs (taken by a professional wedding photographer) of MoMA visitors posing with their new acquisitions.
The current sale brings together a large treasure trove of material from Rosler herself, but also from friends and family, local Brooklyn art communities, and MoMA staff. The Meta-Monumental Garage Sale is open daily, November 17–30, 2012, from 12pm until the Museum closes. Public programs are scheduled for November 19 and 29 at 6pm.
Organized by Sabine Breitwieser, Chief Curator, and Ana Janevski, Associate Curator, with Jill A. Samuels, Performance Producer, Department of Media and Performance Art.
The exhibition is supported in part by The Modern Women’s Fund.
Martha Rosler’s Garage Sale has traveled extensively. In 1999–2000 it was included at several venues of the artist’s traveling retrospective: at the Institute d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne-Lyon; the Generali Foundation, Vienna; Museu d’Art Contemporani, Barcelona (MACBA); the Nederlands Foto Instituut, Rotterdam; and the New Museum, New York. Rosler also staged the work in 2002 at Moderna Museet, Stockholm; in 2004 at the Project Arts Centre, Dublin; in 2005 at the Sprengel Museum, Hanover, and at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; and in 2007 at the United Nations Plaza School, Berlin. In 2010, the project became the Fair Trade Garage Sale at Basel’s Museum of Cultural History as part of the Art Parcours program held during the Art Basel art fair.