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Indepth Arts News:

2000-07-01 until 2000-09-24
Saint Louis Art Museum
St. Louis, MO, USA

The Saint Louis Art Museum presents WONDERLAND, an exhibition of work by ten highly regarded contemporary artists who create and transform spaces for mental, physical and sensuous exploration. The premise of the exhibition is that inspiration, curiosity and marvel – the basic elements of wonder – may be derived from our experiences within various types of constructed environments. The exhibition is comprised of ten works of art installed at the Museum in the weeks immediately preceding the opening of the exhibition on July 1, 2000.

The ten artists participating in the exhibition – Janet Cardiff, Olafur Eliasson, Teresita Fernández, Stephen Hendee, Bill Klaila, Joep van Lieshout, Ernesto Neto, Pipilotti Rist, Gregor Schneider, and Jennifer Steinkamp – have created works of art whose constructed or alternate realities inspire, and in some cases rely on, our physical involvement with them. Exhibition curator Rochelle Steiner conceived WONDERLAND as an exhibition that would encourage interplay between viewers and the works of art in unexpected ways. We set out to create a ‘wonderland' through which individuals would travel and become engaged, says Steiner, who is the Museum's assistant curator of contemporary art, so we pursued artists whose work inspires a sense of movement and discovery. In essence, the exhibition is rooted in the belief that to wander is to wonder.

All of the pieces chosen for the exhibition focus on visitors' movements through environments that have been conceived for particular sites in and around the Museum. Many utilize new or non-traditional media, including video projection, audio recordings, as well as computer-generated sound and visual imagery, transforming high- and low-tech media into sublime works of art. Eight of the works of art are being created specifically for WONDERLAND.

The artists will transform spaces within and outside the Museum's historic Beaux Arts-style building designed by Cass Gilbert as the permanent, central core of a wondrous temporary structure built as the Palace of Fine Arts for the 1904 World's Fair. The site of the Fair is now an urban park, an environment where nature and culture merge.

The exhibition is accompanied by an innovative 192-page color catalogue designed by J. Abbott Miller of Pentagram and published by The Saint Louis Art Museum, available fr $49.95. The publication not only will serve as a permanent document of these artist-created installations, but also will provide new and interdisciplinary ways of understanding contemporary art, architecture, landscape, and the experience of these internal and external spaces. Interviews with the artists and the book's essays will consider the exhibition's themes and address larger aesthetic, cultural and social issues. The contributors are Giuliana Bruno, Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies, Harvard University; Beatriz Colomina, Associate Professor of Architecture, Princeton University; Terence Riley, Chief Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art; Margie Ruddick, landscape architect; and Rochelle Steiner, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at The Saint Louis Art Museum. A special color section documenting the installations on site at The Saint Louis Art Museum will be inserted later.

WONDERLAND has been made possible by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. and Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation, with additional assistance from McCarthy Construction Company and Millman Lumber Co.

Organized by
The Saint Louis Art Museum

Rochelle Steiner, assistant curator of contemporary art at The Saint Louis Art Museum

Joep van Lieshout
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, 1998.
Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
Photo: Glenn Halvorson.

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