This year, there are two prominent exhibitions of note taking place on the East Coast that feature works by Dara Birnbaum. At Bard College's Hessel Museum of Art, Reaction, a retrospective of Birnbaum’s work, her first in the United States, illuminates a groundbreaking artistic practice based in deep study and deconstruction of technological context, message, and medium. This retrospective accompanies a significant thematic survey of Birnbaum’s works at the Miller ICA at Carnegie Mellon University, titled Journey. Together, the two complementary exhibitions provide a moment to consider Birnbaum’s pertinence to the present moment in art, culture, and society.
Dara Birnbaum: Reaction at the Hessel Museum of Art at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College presents a wide and in-depth view of Birnbaum’s extraordinary practice, charting the indelible contributions she has made to the global histories of video, Conceptual, performance, and appropriation art. The exhibition’s title, Reaction, echoes Birnbaum’s career-long position toward mass media: across form and method, she has persistently elaborated a vision of art as an empowering force to disrupt quiet acquiescence to authority. Including works from 1975 to 2011, Reaction focuses on major installations, many not seen in the US for years, as well as key single-channel videos and archival materials that expand on her singular approach to artmaking.
Organized by Lauren Cornell, chief curator of the Hessel Museum and director of the graduate program at the Center for Curatorial Studies, the retrospective illuminates a groundbreaking artistic practice based in deep study and deconstruction of technological context, message, and medium.
Dara Birnbaum: Journey, is a survey of Dara Birnbaum’s influential practice. This exhibition reviews the trajectory of Birnbaum’s penetrative interrogations of mass media during a period of time when technological transformations enabled seismic shifts in the mass consumption of information and entertainment. Over the past 45 years, Birnbaum’s work has consistently reclaimed power within and against dominant media paradigms that control access to information and transmit encoded ideologies.
Curated by Elizabeth Chodos, Director of the Miller ICA, Dara Birnbaum: Journey traces the artist’s evolving examinations of media throughout her career and will include the premiere of a new work commissioned by the Miller ICA, Journey: Shadow of the American Dream.