Mel Chin

Mel Chin

New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA)

Mel Chin, Portrait with HOME y SEW 9, 1994. Photo: Helen Nagge.

February 14, 2014

Mel Chin: Rematch
February 21–May 25, 2014

New Orleans Museum of Art
1 Collins Diboll Circle
New Orleans, LA 70124
Hours: Fridays, 10am–9pm; Tuesdays,
Wednesdays, and Thursdays 10am–6pm;
Saturdays–Sundays 11am–5pm

T +1 504 658 4100

The most expansive presentation of conceptual artist Mel Chin’s work to date, Mel Chin: Rematch, organized by the New Orleans Museum of Art, features the artist’s sculptures, video, drawings, paintings, land, and performance art, as well as rarely seen materials from the last four decades. The exhibition explores the themes that connect Chin’s diverse artistic practice, including violence, alchemy, memory, and empathy, and for the first time contextualizes his major site-specific installations within his broader oeuvre. On view from February 21 to May 25, Mel Chin: Rematch emphasizes Chin’s artistic process and conceptual approach and reveals how his engagement with social justice and community collaborations manifest in a complex and highly varied body of work.  

An outgrowth of extensive research on, and archiving of, Chin’s work—following his work on Operation Paydirt in New Orleans—the exhibition stresses the collaborative and viral nature of many of Chin’s endeavors, highlighting the ways in which he challenges traditional definitions of ownership and authorship through his engagement of other artists and community members. Mel Chin: Rematch features approximately 70 works and documents relating to his collective interventions and public works and is organized by recurrent themes and concepts from over the last 40 years. 

The objects in the exhibition will be presented around thematic strands that underscore Chin’s broad range of subject matter, materials, and formal approaches. The exhibition includes major installations such as Operation of the Sun though the Cult of the Hand, 1987, which features a variety of materials through which Chin explored the origins of Eastern and Western alchemy; as well as the more recent installation: The Funk & Wag from A to Z, 2012, a surrealist large-scale arrangement of 524 collages culled from the Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedia. The exhibition also includes documentation of his major land-based projects, from early works such as The Earthworks: See/Saw, 1976, to later ecological, science-based projects like Revival Field, begun in 1990. For this exhibition Chin will also create a new work, a 2013 conceptual diorama for Revival Field, an updated take on this artwork which played a seminal role in promoting the field of phytoremediation, or the use of plants in treating toxic soil. 

His recent venture Operation Paydirt, which was conceived from his 2008 research in New Orleans, is an interdisciplinary project that is continuing to generate thousands of children’s drawings in an effort to garner funding and support for the development of an effective nation-wide method for the prevention of childhood lead poisoning. The project has led to collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency, and a major grant in 2011 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to scientists who are testing soil remediation methods in New Orleans. 

The exhibition will also feature seminal examples of Chin’s intersections into the realm of popular culture and politics, including In the Name of the Place: GALA Committee, 1995–1997, for which Chin collaborated with the TV series Melrose Place to insert socially engaged content into the show’s sets and props, and KNOWMAD, a video-game in which players can simulate the experience of driving through the designs of Kurdish rugs. 

Mel Chin: Rematch is organized by Miranda Lash, the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the New Orleans Museum of Art.  

Works from the permanent collection, along with continuously changing temporary exhibitions, are on view in the museum’s 46 galleries Fridays from 10am to 9pm; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10am to 6pm; and Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 5pm. For more information about NOMA, call +1 504 658 4100 or visit


Mel Chin at New Orleans Museum of Art
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New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA)
February 14, 2014

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