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Walker Art Center Presents The Paradox of Stillness: Art, Object, and Performance

Goshka Macuga, Death of Marxism, Women of All Lands Unite, 2013. Courtesy the artist and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York.


Presenting works from the early 20th century to today, The Paradox of Stillness: Art, Object, and Performance examines the notion of stillness as both a performative and visual gesture. This major Walker-organized exhibition features pieces by an international roster of artists testing the boundaries between stillness and motion, mortality and aliveness, the still life and the living picture. The Paradox of Stillness is on view from May 15, 2021–August 8, 2021.

Stillness and permanence are common qualities of painting and sculpture. Consider, for example, the frozen gestures of a historical tableau, the timelessness of a still life painting, or the unyielding bronze or marble figure. Translating these traditional mediums into actions, artists use performance to investigate the interplay between the fixed image and the live body.

The Paradox of Stillness showcases more than 100 works by some 60 artists, including up to 15 live performances activated in the Walker’s galleries or public spaces at intervals throughout the presentation. Works on view range from object-based art and pictures that subtly come to life or shift outside the frame to actions staged by live performers that slowly unfold or unexpectedly reappear. Across the exhibition, puppets and automatons dance through space, while burning candles and rotting fruit mark time’s passing.

The presentation features works by Marina Abramović, Francesco Arena, Vanessa Beecroft, Larry Bell, Robert Breer, Trisha Brown, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Elliot Caplan, Paul Chan, Merce Cunningham, Giorgio de Chirico, Fortunato Depero, VALIE EXPORT, Lara Favaretto, T. Lux Feininger, Urs Fischer, Simone Forti, Gilbert & George, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Anthea Hamilton, David Hammons, Philip Haas, Maria Hassabi, Pierre Huyghe, Anne Imhof, Joan Jonas, Yves Klein, Paul Kos, David Lamelas, Fernand Léger, Goshka Macuga, Maruja Mallo, Piero Manzoni, Fabio Mauri, Robert Morris, Dudley Murphy, Senga Nengudi, Paulina Olowska, Roman Ondak, Dennis Oppenheim, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Pope.L, Charles Ray, Pietro Roccasalva, Anri Sala, Xanti Schawinsky, Oskar Schlemmer, Kurt Schmidt, Cindy Sherman, Roman Signer, Laurie Simmons, Avery Singer, Cally Spooner, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Franco Vaccari, Franz Erhard Walther, Franz West, Jordan Wolfson, and Haegue Yang.

The exhibition is accompanied by the most comprehensive publication to date on this subject, with contributions by Vincenzo de Bellis and Jadine Collingwood, Walker Art Center; Manuel Cirauqui, Guggenheim Bilbao; Hendrik Folkerts, Art Institute of Chicago; Emma Lavigne, Palais de Tokyo, Paris; and Catherine Wood, Tate Modern, London. Produced by the Walker, the catalogue includes more than 400 illustrations, from spectacular color images to rare archival documentation. Now available in the Walker Shop.

As a part of the museum’s safety protocols, all performers will wear masks and other personal protection items. Face coverings or masks are also required for visitors during this time.

Curators: Vincenzo de Bellis, curator and associate director of programs, Visual Arts; with Jadine Collingwood, former curatorial assistant, Visual Arts; and William Hernández Luege, curatorial fellow, Visual Arts

Note: This exhibition has been rescheduled from Spring 2020 (April 18–July 26, 2020).



A Think & A Drink: The Paradox of Stillness
June 25, 7 pm

Walker members can join us on a virtual “tour” of the new exhibition Paradox of Stillness: Art, Object, and Performance. Guests are welcome to mingle with fellow members in the chat box, ask questions throughout the presentation, and kick off their weekend with a celebratory drink. It’s the Walker you know and love, brought right to your own home.
Visit http://walkerart.org/memberevents for more information.


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