press release

Sept. 21, 2006 -- Artists, architects and designers have long employed sketches, notes and sculptural maquettes as part of their basic vocabulary. Yet since the early 20th century, as Western art has moved away from straightforward depictions of the natural universe, models and prototypes have evolved from preparatory steps in the creative process to become increasingly autonomous works of art, redefining artistic practice. Models and Prototypes, which will inaugurate the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum's new "Focus" series Oct. 25 to Dec. 31, investigates the ways in which artists working in a variety of media have expanded use of the model as a new visual force.

Drawn predominantly from the permanent collection, the exhibition is curated by Catharina Manchanda, who joined the Kemper Art Museum last spring, and organized into three distinct yet related sections: Conceptual Models, The Multiple as Model and Structural Models. In all it features 34 works by 25 artists, ranging from modernist pioneers such as Le Corbusier, Marcel Duchamp and Wassily Kandinsky to major contemporary figures such as Daniel Buren, Isa Genzken, Jenny Holzer, Joseph Kosuth and Edward Ruscha.

Conceptual models, which emerged as an outgrowth of abstraction, are typically characterized by the use of ordering systems, often derived from mathematics, language or other visual signs. For example, Alfred Jensen's Great Mystery I: The Origin of the Chinese Decimal System (1960) is based on the "divine" Lo Shu diagram, while Hannah Weiner's Signal Flag Poems (1968) draw on the communication system for ships at sea.

The Multiple as Model highlights works by artists who questioned the validity of the original artwork. Examples include Duchamp's Pocket Chess Set (1944), one of a series of editioned pieces that followed his influential readymade objects; and Joseph Beuys' Noiseless Blackboard Eraser (1974), an editioned readymade from his famous "Energy Plan for the Western Man" lecture tour.


Models and Prototypes
Exhibition exploring artistic significance of models since the early 20th century to inaugurate museum's new "Focus" series
Kurator: Catharina Manchanda

mit Mark Bennett, Joseph Beuys, Max Bill, Daniel Buren,  Christo , William N. Copley, Le Corbusier, Joseph Cornell, Thomas Demand, Marcel Duchamp, Wassily Kandinsky, Daniel Buren, Isa Genzken, Candida Höfer, Jenny Holzer, Alfred Jensen, Wassily Kandinsky, Joseph Kosuth, Man Ray, Claes Oldenburg, On Kawara , Ed Ruscha, Katrin Sigurdardottir, Hannah Weiner ...