Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s

Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s

Montclair Art Museum

Alex Bag, Untitled Fall ’95, 1995. Video, 57 minutes, color, sound. Courtesy of Team Gallery and Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York. © Alex Bag.
February 5, 2015

February 8–May 17, 2015

Montclair Art Museum
3 South Mountain Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07042

Beginning February 8, the Montclair Art Museum will present Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s, the first major museum survey to examine the art of this pivotal decade in its historical context. The exhibition showcases approximately 65 works by 45 artists born or practicing in the United States—including Doug Aitken, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Glenn Ligon, Julie Mehretu, Prema Murthy, Shirin Neshat, Catherine Opie, Gabriel Orozco, Diana Thater, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Kara Walker—and will comprise installations, paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photography, video, and digital art. Come as You Are will focus on three principal themes: the “identity politics” debates; the digital revolution; and globalization; and will explore a range of geopolitical milestones and social issues from 1989 to 2001—from the fall of the Berlin Wall to 9/11—through the perspective of artists working at that time. It will be on view at MAM through May 17, and will then travel to Telfair Museums in Savannah, GA; the University of Michigan Museum of Art; and the Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin.

Come as You Are is the largest and most ambitious exhibition presented by the Montclair Art Museum’s Contemporary Art program since it was established in 2010, and is organized by Alexandra Schwartz, the first curator of contemporary art at MAM. MAM is developing a fully illustrated catalogue for Come as You Are, co-published by the University of California Press. It will be the first comprehensive publication on the art of the 1990s to date and will lay groundwork for future research and study of both the works included in the exhibition and the period as a whole.

“The Montclair Art Museum is thrilled to present this unprecedented exhibition, which so powerfully brings into focus the role of contemporary art in reflecting the tremendous societal shifts of the 1990s,” said the Museum’s director, Lora Urbanelli. “Come as You Are will underscore the interplay between MAM’s historical and contemporary collections, and the growth of our Contemporary Art program.” 

Come as You Are writes a history of the ’90s through the lens of the visual arts,” said Schwartz. “Where we are today as a culture was, in many ways, defined by the 1990s, and the issues these artists confronted then are still very much in play now. We hope to ignite a conversation about the 1990s—about the art, about the social and political concerns that these artists faced and addressed, about where technology is leading us. Visitors should emerge from this exhibition with a better understanding of why this was such a watershed decade.”

MAM will offer a wide variety of public and family programs for all ages in connection with the exhibition, including scholarly panel discussions, artist talks, and 1990s-themed events. For more information, please visit the website

Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s is made possible with generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.   Corporate support provided by Chase and J.P. Morgan.   Major funding provided by the Susan V. Bershad Charitable Fund, Inc., Patti and Jimmy Elliott, Holly English and Fred Smagorinsky, Tracy Higgins and James Leitner, Karen G. Mandelbaum, Robert Nossa and Jennifer Odell, Sarah Peter, Ann and Mel Schaffer, Denise and Ira Wagner, Margo and Frank Walter, as well as a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund, and the Judith Targan Endowment Fund for Museum Publications. Additional support is provided by the exhibition Leadership Committee: James Cohan Gallery, New York/Shanghai; Eileen and Michael Cohen; Barbara Lee Family Foundation; Metro Pictures, New York; Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York; and an anonymous donor.   All museum programs are made possible, in part, by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, Carol and Terry Wall/The Vance Wall Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and Museum members.

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Montclair Art Museum
February 5, 2015

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