“The dwelling, the walls, the windows, the roof, the furniture, the pictures, the ornaments, the dress, the fence or hedge-all act constantly upon the imagination and determine its contents.”
— Charles Henderson
In 1990, Asher, armed with his characteristic incisive wit and critical intellect, set out to dig through the historical foundations of the Renaissance Society’s Bergman Gallery at the University of Chicago. This exhibition marks Asher’s shift from physically altering gallery spaces to using text and documentation as a manifestation of the ideological backgrounds for exhibitions. Revealing the underlying intellectual and social coordinates of the Society by juxtaposing writings from early University of Chicago scholars of the American Arts and Crafts Movement with the U.S. patent numbers for various gallery fixtures, Asher’s exhibition was a brilliant contribution to the movement of institutional critique.
With detailed and thorough reproductions of the installation alongside scholarly essays by Birgit Pelzer and Anne Rorimer, this publication offers an intensive analysis of Asher’s project for the Renaissance Society. It is an essential addition to the library of anyone with an interest in museum studies or site-specific art practices.
- Michael Asher - The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago January 21-March 4, 1990
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