“Who should room together in the world of contemporary art? Can a Russ Meyer photograph go to sleep in the same gallery as an Yves Klein blue chip masterpiece?” Pop culture provocateur John Waters raises a host of questions in Absentee Landlord, his devious and sometimes irreverent curatorial intervention in the exhibition Event Horizon. Imagining the galleries as rental apartments, Waters sets up relationships among nearly 80 “roommate” artworks that may be friendly or belligerent, unruly or reserved, supportive or indifferent. In exploring the tensions and connections among disparate works in the Walker’s wide-ranging collection, Waters imbues his new role as curator with his trademark blend of subversion and insight.
Absentee Landlord features works from the Walker collection by Mike Kelley, Carolee Schneeman, Robert Gober, Richard Artshwager, Jack Pierson, Willem de Kooning, Cindy Sherman, Wolfgang Tillmans, Cameron Jamie, Sturtevant, and John Currin, coexisting with several pieces by Waters, a widely exhibited visual artist himself, and works by some of his favorite artists such as Gregory Green, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, and Karlheinz Weinberger. Additional interventions by Waters throughout the museum incorporate surprises into activities like parking the car, checking in at the visitors’ desk, or ordering food in the café.