The Talent Show

The Talent Show

Walker Art Center

Chris Burden
Wiretap (1977)
Close Radio (KPFK-FM), Los Angeles, CA; January 17, 1977
Relic: Telephone, tape recorder, audiotape
Courtesy the artist

April 7, 2010

The Talent Show
April 10 – August 15, 2010

1750 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403

In recent years, television’s reality shows and talent competitions have offered people a conflicted chance at fame, while various kinds of Web-based social media have pioneered new forms of communication that people increasingly use to perform their private lives as public theater. During the same period, governments worldwide have asserted vast new powers of surveillance, placing unwitting “participants” on an entirely different kind of stage. Against this backdrop, The Talent Show, organized by Walker curator Peter Eleey, examines a range of relationships between artists, audiences, and participants that model the competing desires for notoriety and privacy marking our present moment. For almost half a century, artists have dramatized these aspirations and the complex dynamics that surround them, whether by performing themselves or by soliciting the collaboration of others, with and without their knowledge.

That distinction between willing and unwitting participants is highlighted in photographs documenting a landmark 1968 action by Graciela Carnevale, in which the artist quietly left her own exhibition opening and locked visitors inside the gallery. Challenging ethical questions are raised in various works, while others animate the combination of anonymity, desire and exhibitionism that undergirds today’s virtual social networks. Several pieces offer a stage to visitors, including David Lamelas’ Limit of a Projection I (1967), a simple theatrical spotlight illuminating a darkened gallery, which serves as an implicit and alluring invitation. Peter Campus’ Shadow Projection (1974) coerces visitors into the televisual realm, as they step into a spotlight, face a camera, and witness a sort of auto-eclipse of themselves. Through a simple construction, visitors’ spectacularized image on camera becomes visible only in the shadow of their real selves.

Expanding upon the questions begged by Campus’ installation, Hannah Wilke’s final work explores the space between our private lives and what we show to the world. Wilke, who died of lymphoma in 1993, recorded her life during its last two-and-a-half disease-ridden years, compiling more than 30 hours of tape that were assembled posthumously into a 16-channel installation. Partly anticipating the world of reality television to follow, Wilke’s moving work urgently asks us to consider why, and under what circumstances, we place or find ourselves on view.

The exhibition will include work by Stanley Brouwn, Chris Burden, Sophie Calle, Peter Campus, Graciela Carnevale, Phil Collins, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Tehching Hsieh, David Lamelas, Piero Manzoni, Adrian Piper, Amie Siegel, John Smith, Andy Warhol, Gillian Wearing, Hannah Wilke, Shizuka Yokomizo, and Carey Young.

The Talent Show is organized by the Walker Art Center. The exhibition is made possible by generous support from the David Teiger Foundation and Ann M. Hatch. Walker Art Center programming is made possible by its Premier Partners: General Mills, Target, and Star Tribune.

For press information, please contact Karen Gysin, or +1.612.375.7651.

Walker Art Center

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April 7, 2010

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