Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, October 12, 2012–February 3, 2013

Co-curated by Andrea Andersson and Nora Burnett Abrams

The show will feature a real Pianola playing UN COUP DE DÉS JAMAIS NABOLIRA LE HASARD (MUSIQUE)
A big thank you goes to Dick Kroeckel, member of AMICA (Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors' Association) for lending his Pianola for the whole duration of the show.


Postscript explores the intersection of conceptual writing and contemporary

art, presenting a collection of text-based works that reflect on the form and

function of language at the beginning of the 21st century.

The exhibition

itself serves as postscript to the seminal language shows held at the Dwan

Gallery between 1967 and 1970 in New York City. With his title for the first

show, “Language to be Looked at and/or Things to be Read,” Robert Smithson

articulated a deep-rooted equivocation about the purpose of language in

conceptual art. Postscript revisits this foundational ambivalence, presenting

recent works alongside a selection of historical examples to consider the

differences between reading and looking at, hearing and listening – to



About the Exhibition

The works in Postscript propose that the legacy of conceptual art lies not in

dematerialized art objects but rather in rematerialized language. Literature,

from the poetry of Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein to the prose of Samuel

Beckett and Alain Robbe-Grillet, served as inspiration for many conceptual

artists of the 1960s and figured alongside artist-writings in period-defining

journals including 0 to 9 and Aspen. Artists like Dan Graham and Carl Andre

wrote poetry, Robert Smithson penned fictocritical prose and Sol LeWitt

distinguished between sentences and paragraphs in his manifestos. Yet, while

text-based work proliferated in early conceptual art, the term “conceptual

writing,” only entered popular discourse with Craig Dworkin’s 2003

Anthology of Conceptual Writing on the avant-garde archive Ubuweb. Culling

historical works by artists, writers, and composers, Dworkin assembled a

collection of texts that demonstrated, in his own words, that “a work of art

might look indistinguishable from a poem.” If conceptual art of the 1960s

challenged how art is made, then conceptual writing in the 21st century

challenges how language is read.


Postscript calls attention to the parallel processes by which artists and

writers marshal language in contemporary work. Both use similar linguistic

strategies and procedures such as translation, repetition, quotation, and

appropriation, extending Smithson’s earlier proposition to explore,

specifically, how information is processed, absorbed, and made meaningful in

our information-saturated, contemporary environment. Postscript corrals work

by artists and writers to examine the differences between language as object

and language as vehicle for information, memory and narrative. Presenting a

range of media from painting to performance, sculpture, digital art and works

on paper, Postscript reflects not only on the abundance of writing in

contemporary culture, but also on the variety of sources through which it is

transmitted. Copying and cutting, sampling and reframing are the common

practices of artists and conceptual writers, bloggers and socialnetworkers

alike. Ultimately, Postscript attests to the contiguous concerns of artists

and writers from the breakthrough experiments in language of the 1960s to

contemporary negotiations between print and digital culture.



Artists and writers featured in the exhibition include: Mark Amerika & Chad Mossholder, Carl Andre, Fiona Banner, Erica Baum, Derek Beaulieu, Caroline Bergvall, Jen Bervin, Jimbo Blachly & Lytle Shaw, Christian Bök, Marcel Broodthaers, Pavel Buchler, Luis Camnitzer, Ricardo Cuevas, Tim Davis & Robert Fitterman, Monica de la Torre, Craig Dworkin, Tim Etchells, Ryan Gander, Michelle Gay, Kenneth Goldsmith, Dan Graham, Alexandra Grant, James Hoff, Seth Kim-Cohen, Sol LeWitt, Glenn Ligon, Tan Lin, Gareth Long, Michael Maranda, Helen Mirra, Jonathan Monk, Simon Morris, João Onofre, Michalis Pichler, Paolo Piscitelli, Vanessa Place, Kristina Lee Podesva, Seth Price, Kay Rosen, Joe Scanlan, Dexter Sinister, Frances Stark, Joel Swanson, Nick Thurston, Triple Canopy, Andy Warhol, Darren Wershler, and Eric Zboya.

Postscript will be accompanied by a major catalogue presenting both scholarly

essays and contributions by select writers and artists featured in the

exhibition. Contributors to date include Craig Dworkin, Kenneth Goldsmith,

Patrick Greaney and Marjorie Perloff, among others.

About the Curators

Andrea Andersson teaches at Barnard College in New York, where she works on

the history of the avant-garde with a focus on the relationship between

innovative writing and visual art. She is currently developing an exhibition

on New York’s Anarchitecture group of the 1970s and a collaborative series

on structuralist films and conceptual writing. She is a graduate of Stanford

University and completed her dissertation on poetry and conceptual art at

Columbia University.


Nora Burnett Abrams is Associate Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art

Denver where she has organized solo exhibitions of Isca Greenfield-Sanders,

Dario Robleto, Allison Smith and cocurated the forthcoming Another Victory

Over the Sun. She has contributed to several publications at the Grey Art

Gallery at NYU and MCA Denver. She is a graduate of Stanford University and is

finishing her PhD at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.