Silence and Time
Dallas Museum of Art
May 29 through August 28, 2011
Inspired by American artist John Cage’s 1952 composition 4’33”, Silence and Time explores the work of contemporary artists who have addressed issues of absence, presence, and temporality through their creative process. Drawn primarily from the holdings of the Dallas Museum of Art and local collections, this new exhibition—on view May 29–August 28, 2011, and installed in the Museum’s Barrel Vault and Quadrant Galleries—reflects on these themes through a presentation of work in all media.
Cage’s controversial work comprises three movements, all of which are performed without a single note being played. The content of this composition is meant to be perceived as the sound of the environment that the listener hears while it is performed, rather than as four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence. By insisting that we pay attention to both what is and is not present in a work of art, Cage asked audiences to take note of conditions that engage our senses in different ways; measures of time, silence, and sound take on new and different meaning.
Likewise, the twenty-six works included in this exhibition, which were produced between 1958 and 2010 by a broad range of international artists, propose direct and indirect connections to the many different ways we experience solitude, reflection, and the passing and recording of time—both literally and conceptually—in a work of art, and in our daily life. “This exhibition offers visitors an opportunity to slow down and engage with an astonishing group of artworks,” said Bonnie Pitman, The Eugene McDermott Director. “Its thematic presentation draws beautifully upon works in the DMA’s collection, and others in the community, and offers us a range of ways to experience how artists have considered silence and time in recent decades.”
The exhibition is anchored in the Barrel Vault by three sculptures by James Lee Byars: the colossal Figure of Death, 1986, a twenty-three-foot tower of basalt; Is, 1989, a gilded marble orb; and Eros, 1992, two suggestive slabs of conjoined Thassos marble. Also on view will be a newly acquired work by the Bosnian-French artist Bojan Šarčević, She, a 1.7-ton onyx sculpture with one side carved and polished and the other left in its natural state. One of the Quadrant Galleries will be devoted to video installations by Anri Sala and Paul Pfeiffer, while another will link the processes of painting in monumental canvasses by Larry Poons, Morris Louis, and Sterling Ruby. Other artists in the exhibition include Reinhard Mucha, Lee Ufan, Mario Merz, Roman Opalka, Félix González-Torres, and many others.
“From James Lee Byars elegiac sculptural investigations of timelessness and the cycle of life, to Lee Ufan’s poignant recording of the passing of time, reified in his painting, the radically diverse works in Silence and Time share a very simple, yet profound, set of sensibilities,” noted Jeffrey Grove, The Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art. “Each work in the exhibition is a powerful meditation on the central importance contemporary artists place on the consideration of universal ideals in their work.”
Silence and Time is organized by the Dallas Museum of Art and curated by Dr. Grove, who will discuss his installation in an upcoming gallery talk. Additional programs will be scheduled throughout the run of the exhibition. For dates and details, visit DallasMuseumofArt.org.
The presentation is made possible by TWO X TWO for AIDS and Art, an annual fundraising event that jointly benefits amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research and the Dallas Museum of Art. Additional support is provided by the Contemporary Art Fund through the gifts of an anonymous donor, Arlene and John Dayton, Jennifer and John Eagle, Laura and Walter Elcock, Amy and Vernon Faulconer, Kenny Goss and George Michael, Nancy and Tim Hanley, Marguerite Steed Hoffman, Janelle and Alden Pinnell, Allen and Kelli Questrom, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Deedie and Rusty Rose, Gayle and Paul Stoffel, and Sharon and Michael Young. Air transportation is provided by American Airlines.
About the Dallas Museum of Art
Located in the vibrant Arts District of downtown Dallas, Texas, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) ranks among the leading art institutions in the country and is distinguished by its innovative exhibitions and groundbreaking educational programs. At the heart of the Museum and its programs is its global collection, which encompasses more than 24,000 works and spans 5,000 years of history, representing a full range of world cultures. Established in 1903, the Museum today welcomes more than 600,000 visitors annually and acts as a catalyst for community creativity, engaging people of all ages and backgrounds with a diverse spectrum of programming, from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, literary readings, and dramatic and dance presentations.
The Dallas Museum of Art is supported in part by the generosity of Museum members and donors and by the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas/Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts.