Delirious: Art at the Limits of Reason, 1950–1980, Modern and Contemporary Art | Met Exhibitions

Delirious: Art at the Limits of Reason, 1950–1980, Modern and Contemporary Art | Met Exhibitions


(din of crowd) (single piano note) KELLY BAUM:
The exhibition is titled “Delirious: Art at the
Limits of Reason, 1950 to 1980,” including 100 works of art
by 62 different artists. About 30% of the works
are in The Met’s collection. Several of them
have never before been seen, and these are artists
who would not normally share space together
in a gallery. Instead, it surveys a vast and
very disparate group of artists grappling with a similar set
of concerns, realizing them
in very different ways. The premise of the exhibition
is that delirious times demand delirious art. Delirium is a word that I apply
to works of art that are alternately absurd or hilarious or disorienting– in a word, irrational. I wanted to focus on the period defined by the fallout
of the second World War, but I also wanted to capture much of the social and political
unrest of the 1960s and 1970s. The exhibition is divided
into four sections: Vertigo, Excess, Nonsense,
and Twisted. And each section
is meant to demonstrate a different engagement
with the idea of irrationality. And the delirium certainly
accelerates as viewers move
through the galleries. Among the works of art
is a series of 13 photographs by the Cuban American artist,
Ana Mendieta, in which she took
a pane of glass and pressed it, hard,
against her face. Another is
Yayoi Kusama’s ladder. Kusama took an ordinary ladder and then covered it
with women’s high-heel shoes, and also these appendages, and they proliferate and
eventually consume the ladder. I think the experience
of seeing the exhibition will be not only cerebral
or intellectual, but also deeply visceral, and I think this exhibition
provides a window, not only onto the past, but also onto the present. (urgent piano music)

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