October 4, 2019 - Wexner Center for the Arts - Ann Hamilton, Jenny Holzer, Maya Lin: HERE
October 4, 2019

Wexner Center for the Arts

[1] Ann Hamilton, when an object reaches for your hand, The Ohio State University, Health Sciences Library, Medical Heritage Center, Wexner Center for the Arts and Thompson Library, 2019/20. Courtesy of the Ann Hamilton Studio. [2] Jenny Holzer, from Inflammatory Essays (1979-82), 1982. Offset posters on colored paper, 17 x 17 in. each. © 1979 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. [3] Maya Lin, Pin River-Hudson Watershed, 2018 (detail). Stainless steel pins, 8' x 14' 8" x 1 1/2". Courtesy of Maya Lin and Pace Gallery. Photo: Kris Graves. 

 

Ann Hamilton, Jenny Holzer, Maya Lin
HERE
September 21–December 29, 2019

Wexner Center for the Arts
1871 N. High Street
The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio 43210
USA

wexarts.org
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HERE: Ann Hamilton, Jenny Holzer, Maya Lin marks the 30th anniversary of the Wexner Center for the Arts by celebrating the work of three artists who have helped define the very contours of contemporary art. Through contemplative yet distinct formal vocabularies, the featured works cultivate new connections to our surroundings, filling the galleries while activating spaces beyond with components outdoors, across Ohio State’s campus, and around the community.

Though the works of Ann Hamilton, Jenny Holzer, and Maya Lin appear outwardly dissimilar, there are commonalities among the artists. All three were born in Ohio between 1950 and 1959. Each was formatively shaped by that time and place and has reflected on how these influences persist in the present. All have made spaces assembling some combination of materials, actions, or language, infusing them with resonance and memory, both collective and personal.

In Hamilton’s new work, when an object reaches for your hand, she considers the seemingly ineffable felt quality of objects and their agencies.

The core of the installation continues an ongoing project in which Hamilton “images” objects found in friends’ homes and in institutional collections. These appear in prints that are presented as book-form stacks on 60 tables throughout the gallery, as well as across campus at the Thompson Library. The shallow depth of field characteristic of the outmoded digital scanners with which Hamilton works give the images of these objects—clothing, ancient geological fragments, puppets, medical tools, and biological specimens—a spectral quality.

As in many of Hamilton’s projects, she has created a context in which an element of reciprocity can transpire. For HERE, she invites visitors to take and keep a sheet from one of the tables, or to select and mail one from the mailing station inside the galleries.

Holzer’s gallery walls are obscured by the dense saturation of two of her printed poster series, Truisms and Inflammatory Essays. Amid the Truisms, a circle of weighty marble benches recalls those used in public memorials and parks. Engraved into the marble are fragments of poems from Building the Barricade by Polish poet Anna Świrszczyńska (aka Anna Swir), detailing Swir’s memories of the resistance in Warsaw during World War II. Through their language of violence, oppression, power, war, and death, the benches serve as a cautionary tale for current and future generations. Atop the Inflammatory Essays, an LED work scrolls in blue, linking the galleries with the visual vocabulary of tickers and screens Holzer programmed throughout the city.

Language ties these projects to the concept of HERE. In her text-based artworks, Holzer provides a space for viewers to reflect on inspirational and challenging content. Her works are as vital and imperative as ever, resonating profoundly within our social media age.

Lin, whose Groundswell (1993) is the only permanent artwork installed outdoors at the Wex, points to place as one interpretive dimension of HERE, demonstrated by large-scale map installations based on Ohio waterways.

Pin River—Ohio Aquifers, installed in the more public space of the center’s lower lobby, was constructed by hammering 81,074 individual steel pins into the wall, defining the network of permeable deposits that collect and transmit groundwater throughout Ohio. While beautiful, the installation calls attention to the destruction of the state’s precious supply due to ongoing fracking.

In How Does A River Overflow Its Banks?, Lin recasts the footprint of a 2018 flood at the convergence of the Ohio and Wabash Rivers using hundreds of thousands of industrial glass marbles. Lin points to this example of the state’s long and terrible history of Ohio River Basin flooding to urge us to more fully grasp the true scale and power of the river system.

HERE provides a glimpse into the enduring histories and artistic practices of these three artists within the context of the Wexner Center, whose fundamental mandate, like that of Hamilton, Holzer, and Lin, has remained consistent: to actively respond to the world that surrounds it.

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