The Mitchell Algus Gallery presents Concept, Performance, Documentation, Language, a group show of work that employs photography, performance, surveillance, data acquisition and participatory intervention to make art that is narrative, analytical, speculative, critical and documentary.
With over 50 artists, most of whom worked–and continue to work–in New York, Concept, Performance, Documentation, Language illustrates the shared interests and common endeavor that animated a loosely defined community of artists from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. The exhibition is a meditation on what history gets written and, provided context and equanimity, how that perceived history can be comprehensively and cohesively revised. History is a process.
Interestingly, the current show parallels in part, Jeffrey Deitch’s first curatorial outing in 1975, Lives: Artists who deal with peoples’ lives (including their own) as the subject and/or medium of their work. Many of the participants in Lives were younger conceptual artists engaged in the openly aesthetic practice of vernacular sociology, behavioral psychology, and local ethnography. Unlike first-generation conceptualists such as Sol LeWitt, Joseph Kosuth or Lawrence Weiner whose work was rigorously formal and to a degree academic, these new artists set out to consider real life, their life, and produce some edifying, playful, acerbic, or confounding analysis and documentation of it. Many of the artists also began to broach trenchant questions of personal and group identity, igniting concerns that continue to preoccupy much recent art.