Life During Wartime
May 14 – September 4, 2011
From May 14 through September 4, 2011, the Rochester Art Center will present Tony Tasset: Life During Wartime, one of the largest exhibitions dedicated to the artist to date. Featuring a range of media including installation, sculpture, photography, and video, the exhibition will offer a representative insight into a highly regarded and innovative conceptual practice begun in the 1980s. Conceived and developed in close collaboration with the artist, the exhibition will utilize over 6000 square feet of gallery space, and will include work created specifically for this presentation. This exhibition, the artists‚ first in Minnesota, will introduce Tasset’s work to a broader audience and shed new light on this highly prolific and influential artist. A comprehensive catalog will be produced in association with the exhibition, featuring essays by Kris Douglas, Chief Curator, Rochester Art Center, Hamza Walker, Director of Education and Associate Curator, The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, and an interview with the artist by Philippe Vergne, Director, Dia Art Foundation, New York.
The title of the exhibition, taken from a song by the Talking Heads, at once acts to define the artist's age and place in an artistic generation, while literally describing the period in which the work was made. Life During Wartime brings together for the first time a group of works made during the years following 9/11 and America’s subsequent involvement in two wars. Work made by Tasset prior fundamentally confronted “the self” in relationship to other artists and artistic movements. These works acted in a responsorial capacity, simultaneously challenging and paying homage to a previous generation of artists. At the same time, Tasset made work that examined more personal aspects of family, sincerity and love. After 9/11, Tasset’s work has become decidedly more cynical, confronting notions of humanity and becoming increasingly and blatantly critical of zealotry in its many forms. Still, as is true of Tasset’s artistic practice over time, there are glimpses of satire, humility and hope.