Agitated Histories @ Contemporary Museum

By Holly Bynoe Saturday, March 26th, 2011 Categories: Updates

Contemporary Museum, Baltimore
February 11, 2011 – May 1, 2011

SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico
September 2011 – January 2012

  • Michael Cataldi, New York
  • Lorraine O’Grady, New York
  • Geof Oppenheimer, Chicago
  • Rodney McMillian, Los Angeles
  • Ulrike Müller, New York/Berlin
  • Mark Tribe, New York

In January 2010, the Contemporary Museum launched an exhibition series to mark the Contemporary’s 20th anniversary. These exhibitions feature twenty artists from all over the globe, working in all media, and representing some of the most promising talent in contemporary art. Each Project 20 artist has been selected by one of twenty guest curators, each of whom has played a significant role in shaping the Contemporary Museum’s dynamic twenty–year history. Guest curators have included past directors, former curators, and artists who exhibited in Contemporary Museum exhibitions. By inviting the Contemporary’s prominent alumni to each select one artist for these exhibitions, Project 20 celebrates the museum’s experimental past while looking ahead to the future of contemporary art.

“Agitated Histories”, the fourth and final part of the Project 20 exhibition series, includes artists selected by Teresita Fernandez, Joseph Grigely, Irene Hofmann, David Reed, Alison Saar, and the Baltimore Development Cooperative.

“Agitated Histories” brings together an international and intergenerational group of artists whose works in a range of media create a dialogue with history. For some of the artists in this exhibition, history is a subject to be challenged and even re-written, while for others it is a source of inspiration and creative energy.

Rodney McMillian has created a body of work that re-contextualizes figures and events that have been neglected by history or forgotten with the passage of time. Geof Oppenheimer focuses his artistic practice on the language, conventions, and histories of the aesthetics of politics. Works presented here deconstruct and reframe politics’ visual and textual rhetoric. Prominent speeches of the civil rights movement are the source of inspiration for Mark Tribe whose public reenactments of influential protests and rallies examine the legacy of political discourse in the 1960s and 1970s. Exploring aspects of personal history and identity are artists Lorraine O’Grady and Ulrike Müller. As a first generation feminist, O’Grady has had a distinguished career addressing such issues as female subjectivity, the African diaspora, and the media’s framing of the African-American subject. Responding to the legacy of the feminist movement, Ulrike Müller has created a body of work that mines the history of feminism by exploring the slogans, images, and tactics of the generation of women artists who came before her. With a new work that turns its attention to Baltimore and the history of North Avenue, Michael Cataldi has created a work that explores the past, present, and future of development in Baltimore’s bourgeoning Station North Arts District.

“Agitated Histories” is curated by the Contemporary Museum’s former Executive Director, Irene Hofmann who is currently the Phillips Director and Chief Curator of SITE Santa Fe.

Holly Bynoe
Holly Bynoe

Holly Bynoe is a curator, visual artist and writer based in the Caribbean. She is the Executive Director of ARC Magazine, and a graduate of Bard College International Center of Photography (2010) where she earned her M.F.A. in Advanced Photographic Studies. She currently holds the position of Chief Curator at the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, and is co-director of the annual arts conference Tilting Axis and Caribbean Linked Residency Program.