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IAIN BAXTER&: Works 1958–2011

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Iain Baxter legally changed his name to IAIN BAXTER& in 2005. He appended an ampersand to his name to underscore his belief that art is about connectivity, contingency, and collaboration with a viewer. A relentless emphasis on reaching out to the viewer, a core concern with ecology and the environment, and a belief that art must assume plural means and media, inform BAXTER&’s early credo: understanding that “art is all over.” This exhibition seeks to appraise the remarkable achievement of this artist, and to position his contribution in relation to mainstream histories of conceptual art, photography, and installation art.

Ron Terada: Being There

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Ron Terada is a Vancouver-based artist who has exhibited extensively in Canada and Europe over the past 15 years but has had relatively little exposure in the United States. Working in the high-tech and multicultural British Columbian city, where influences back and forth across the Pacific Rim are numerous and complex, as well as exploring his own Japanese Canadian identity, Terada has built a fascinating body of work that includes paintings, photographs, video, sound, books, and graphic design. Often using his position within the art world of Vancouver as the starting point for measuring his self-worth, self-esteem, and self-identification, he has used signage, advertising, and Hollywood films in unusual and inventive ways. This is his first solo exhibition in the United States.

The Language of Less (Then and Now) is inspired by the MCA’s rich holdings of work from the 1960s and seventies that typically rejects imagery, reveals little if any evidence of the artist’s hand, and embraces industrial materials. In doing so, this work—known broadly as Minimal art—directs the viewer without distraction to the subtle underpinnings of all form: line, plane, mass, and color.

The exhibition is divided into two distinct parts, the first of which presents a fresh reinstallation of this historical material, with work by artists such as Carl Andre, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, and Richard Serra. The second showcases a new generation of artists who have assimilated the lessons of their forebears but address a new range of concerns. These five contemporary artists—Leonor Antunes, Carol Bove, Jason Dodge, Gedi Sibony, and Oscar Tuazon—offer new insights into what is valuable and enduring in the historical work but also point us toward the pressing concerns of today.

Pandora’s Box: Joseph Cornell Unlocks the Collection puts Cornell’s work into direct dialogue with objects from the MCA Collection to illuminate the continued relevance of his pursuits while also grounding even very recent work within a historical continuum that yields surprises to this day. Spanning more than 60 years—and including media from painting and photography to sculpture and video—the exhibition relies on loose and playful juxtapositions to prompt new appreciations of his career and shows the work in a decidedly different and distinctively contemporary light.

Jim Nutt: Coming Into Character

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Since 1990, Jim Nutt has focused exclusively on female heads in spare-line drawings and rich, detailed paintings. This exhibition is a retrospective of Nutt’s work that emphasizes the development of these important paintings through their precedents in his own work. Acknowledging the groundswell in interest in this unique American artist’s work, this will be the first major presentation of Nutt in over a decade. Nutt’s history as an important artist dates to the mid-1960s where in Chicago he was a chief instigator of the irreverent “Hairy Who” group, now better known as the Chicago Imagists.

Further solidifying Jim Nutt’s stature as an internationally significant artist, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion provides an excellent opportunity to expand the artistic framework in which to consider his work beyond Chicago’s Hairy Who. While Jim Nutt: Coming Into Character offers a focused look at Nutt’s portrait busts of the last 20 years, revealing precedents in Nutt’s early works, this companion exhibition takes a much broader approach, delving into the rich and varied visual and cultural universe that has informed Nutt’s work and that of his peers.

The MCA’s Pamela Alper Associate Curator Julie Rodrigues Widholm, Paul Nudd, Diane Simpson and Gladys Nilsson provide insight into this companion exhibition to Jim Nutt: Coming Into Character.