This wall was curated in a group effort by graduate students from the University of Chicago’s Department of Visual Arts under the auspices of Smart Museum curator Stephanie Smith.

We approached the project by establishing a set of criteria and themes gleaned from a critical discussion of recently acquired work by Michael Rakowitz, which is also on view in this gallery. From this starting point, we came up with the following:

PAPER: as material and subject;
CIRCULATION: alternative modes of exchange and movement;
POLITICS: contemporary culture and events as subject; and
RECONTEXTUALIZATION: items that have attained the status of art through changes in context.

With these notions in mind, we each culled through the Smart Museum’s database and selected artworks that spoke to the group’s concepts and our own aesthetic sensibilities. Through a process of debate and discussion we arrived at the works you now see. We also collectively designed the display.

As practicing artists, we also sought to engage this project with our own work: pieces were chosen or created in response to the themes and works selected. This allowed us to interact with the history of art in a deeper way, literally situating ourselves in the conversations.

“You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain ...and an athlete … and a basket case …a princess …and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, …”

Matthew Metzger
Kimmy Noonen
Danielle Paz
Vanessa Ruiz
Michal Stawarz
Marilyn Volkman
Erik Wenzel