May 25, 2011 - Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst - Alex Bag
May 25, 2011

Alex Bag

Alex Bag, “Untitled Fall ’95,” 1995.
57 min, color, sound.

Alex Bag
28 May–14 August 2011

Friday, 27 May 2011, 6 pm

Albisriederstrasse 199a
CH-8047 Zürich /

Since the early 1990s, the artist Alex Bag (b. 1969, USA) has been one of the most interesting protagonists of video performance art. Today, an entire generation of younger artists regard her work as an important point of reference. She became known for her technically simple videos that address the entertainment industry and its various formats, but also the art system with its lingering romantic notions of the artist’s life, and subject these sources to humorous treatment. Bag articulates her social critique with impressive precision, expressing a profound unease with our contemporary culture; an extraordinarily versatile actress, she usually appears in her own work, playing a great variety of roles. The migros museum für gegenwartskunst is the first institution to present an exhibition offering a comprehensive survey of Bag’s oeuvre.

Two thematic fields that intersect at various points are central to the artist’s interests: on the one hand, Bag examines interactions between high and popular culture; on the other, she analyzes structural characteristics and economic laws governing the art world. Several works explore how authorities or authoritarian structures shape artistic careers: Untitled Fall ’95 (1995) examines art school, The Van (2001) is about the market, and Untitled (Project for the Whitney Museum) (2009) or The Artist’s Life (1996) finally looks at how neoliberalism has institutionalized the pressure to innovate, perform, produce, and succeed. The formal framework for Bag’s videos derives from a variety of formats of television culture—from documentaries, dating and talk shows across reality television to commercial breaks: everything is product, everything is market, everything lends itself to appropriation by the artist. Bag turns to the flood of images that fill the televised world and dissects them using various strategies of defamiliarization.

Exhibition’s curator: Raphael Gygax

EXHIBITION: In addition to a selection of video works, the exhibition will also include photographic works, a wall-sized collage, ephemera, and an installation presenting the television show Cash from Chaos / Unicorns & Rainbows (in collaboration with Patterson Beckwith, broadcast on a weekly schedule from 1994 to 1997). Alex Bag’s work has been on display at the Whitney Museum, New York (solo exhibition, 2009), the Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris (group exhibition, 2009), and at MoMA PS1, New York (group exhibition, 2008), and elsewhere.

PUBLICATION: A first comprehensive monograph documenting Alex Bag’s oeuvre, featuring contributions by Raphael Gygax, Bruce Hainley, and Glenn Phillips as well as a glossary compiled from statements Alex Bag has made in interviews and transcripts of selected videos, will be published by JRP|Ringier to coincide with the exhibition opening.

SPECIAL RECEPTION FOR ART BASEL VISITORS: On Saturday, 11th June 2011, 5-8pm

PRESS: Visual material and more information please contact:

Tue / Wed / Fri 12 noon–6pm, Thu 12 noon–8 pm, Sat / Sun 11 am–5 pm /
Free admission Thursdays 5 pm–8 pm.


migros museum für gegenwartskunst / Hubertus Exhibitions
Albisriederstrasse 199a
CH-8047 Zürich /

migros museum für gegenwartskunst
Postfach 1766
CH-8031 Zürich

Tel +41 44 277 20 50
Fax +41 44 277 62 86

Alex Bag
Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst
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