HYBRID IN-PERSON AND ONLINE PROGRAM
Known But Unknown: Sarah Sze: Building the Ephemeral
Valerie Fletcher, emeritus senior curator, Hirshhorn Museum
(Reception 1 – 1:30 pm)
Known But Unknown is a series on four contemporary artists (three of whom are working today) curated by Kristen Hileman.
The contemporary artists that will be addressed in this series are well-known but also challenging and difficult. The Walker Art Center’s statement on exhibiting and looking at contemporary art is informative: “Contemporary art is art made today by living artists. As such, it reflects the complex issues that shape our diverse, global, and rapidly changing world. Through their work, many contemporary artists explore personal or cultural identity, offer critiques of social and institutional structures, and even attempt to redefine art itself. In the process, they often raise difficult or thought-provoking questions without providing easy answers. These works often challenge our ideas about what art should look like or how it should behave. Curiosity, an open mind, and a commitment to dialogue and debate are the best tools with which to approach a work of contemporary art. Whether you are surprised, perplexed, or thrilled with the contemporary art that you see, remember, every artwork was once contemporary.”
The first lecture in the series – led by Valerie Fletcher – focuses on the work of Sarah Sze. For more than two decades the New York-based artist Sarah Sze has been using humdrum objects from daily life—such as paper clips, string, toothpicks, construction paper, and torn photographs—to construct complex installations that require patience and focus to appreciate. This lecture by Valerie Fletcher, Emeritus Senior Curator of the Hirshhorn Museum, tracks the artist’s evolution from single-work niche compositions to larger assemblages incorporating photography and video. Dr Fletcher will offer a detailed analysis of individual works to articulate how Sze transforms our perceptions of unremarkable items into intriguing, even wondrous, environments. Sze’s accumulations of objects in delicate structures suggest imaginary worlds, often perilously fragile. The lecture includes images from Sze’s 2023 retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum and situates her aesthetics in the context of historical modern art and other contemporary artists.
$15 fee for guests and subscribers (no fee for members)Learn More