Rooted in the found-text theories of such American conceptual heavyhitters of the ’60s and ’70s as Sol LeWitt, Carl Andre and Andy Warhol, the huge exhibit Postscript: Writing After Conceptual Art, which opens tonight at MCA Denver, will fill several spaces in the museum, including a freight elevator and the main stairway, with an array of works in many mediums by more than fifty artists and authors. “It speaks to the fact that language is something that’s obviously so basic to all of us in regard to how we function and how much information we receive,” says Nora Burnett Abrams, who co-curated the ambitious show — the most comprehensive in the MCA’s history — with colleague Andrea Andersson. “And that’s not limited to a gallery. It’s in everything that we do, and we found that keeping works solely in the galleries didn’t really work for us in getting that point across.”
Though the concept of text in art has been explored before, Postscript is the first major show to really integrate the idea of conceptual writing into an exhibit. “The idea was to bring together works of literature and works of contemporary art that look and feel very similar to one another, both using as material found text,” she explains. To that end, it blends works by the aforementioned with those of Colorado-based artists Mark Amerika and Joel Swanson, British installation artist Fiona Banner, Frances Stark, Glenn Ligon and Alexandra Grant, among others; on the writer’s side, Kenneth Goldsmith, Christian Bök and Craig Dworkin lead the pack. Because it traverses such a wide cultural swath, the meaning of language is used “loosely,” according to Abrams, who notes that one artist in the show bases a musical work on appropriated computer code.
Postscript continues through February 3 at MCA, 1485 Delgany Street, For information, go to www.mcadenver.org or call 303-298-7554.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Oct. 12. Continues through Feb. 3, 2012