Exhibitions

The exhibition Uncertain States of America has been prepared as a survey of recent developments in American contemporary art by three of Europe’s leading curators: Daniel Birnbaum, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Gunnar B. Kvaran. First shown at The Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in Oslo (October 2005), this project comprises a remarkably succinct compilation of recent evolutions in painting, sculptures, video and other artistic forms used by the new generation of American artists. Uncertain States of America offers an expanded look at a series of major installations by an emerging generation of artists (most of them were born after 1970). Their source material derives not only from today’s media-saturated world, free-form use of new materials, techniques and procedures which permeate each other and are juxtaposed, but also a canny knowledge of new art-historical references and an ability to respond in a complex and sophisticated way with a various extent of personal commitment as well as a certain distance in an age of political and social dissonances. Uncertain States of America is the result of an extensive, two-year, research project by the curators, who conducted more than 500 studio visits throughout the United States, compiling over 2000 files on young American artists. Their selections reflect an astute, yet contentious, assessment of the current state of American art and culture. “The exhibition is not entirely American—influences come from everywhere,” state the curators. “In a period where the official political culture of the United States is viewed with great skepticism on the other side of the Atlantic, it seems important to remind ourselves of the complexity and at the same time the variety of the American artistic scene. The ‘Uncertain States of America’ are not only uncertain, they are many.”

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