Dependent Objects: Possibilities of Sculpture

, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums
Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums

When is an object a sculpture? The works in this exhibition by German artists from the 1960s onward reveal their ambivalence toward sculpture: when the concept of an object includes manipulation by an artist, a collaborator, a viewer, or even an object’s environment, process takes precedence over end product. On one hand, the works in Dependent Objects suggest the rejection of the precious sculptural object, which had already become a symbol for the commodification of art and the power of cultural institutions such as the museum. Alternatively, they represent a continuing commitment to the medium of sculpture, suggesting that some aspects of art, even conceptually based art, can be accessed only through the material quality of the object.

The exhibition, with loans from Europe and the United States, features rarely seen works by Franz Erhard Walther, Hans Haacke, Charlotte Posenenske, Gerhard Richter, and Thomas Schütte and displays three-dimensional objects as well as two-dimensional objects in media such as printmaking and drawing.

Organized by Kirsten Weiss, 2003–2005 Michalke Curatorial Intern, Busch-Reisinger Museum, and Ph.D. candidate in History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

This exhibition and the brochure that accompanies it were made possible in part by the Friends of the Busch-Reisinger Museum.