Nobody needs to know the price of your Saab. Kuri focuses our attention on contemporary consumer culture and the way money mediates almost all our human relationships and daily transactions. Approximately 25 sculptures and 10 collages will be on view, including Untitled (Superama), one of three towering tapestries ranging from 8 to over 12 feet in height, each intricately hand-woven in Mexico to replicate Wal-mart receipts.
On Feb. 2, 2011, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston opens Gabriel Kuri: Nobody needs to know the price of your Saab, the first solo museum exhibition of the artist’s work in the U.S. Using familiar materials such as receipts, newspaper or plastic bags, Kuri focuses our attention on contemporary consumer culture and the way money mediates almost all our human relationships and daily transactions. Approximately 25 sculptures and 10 collages will be on view, including Untitled (Superama), one of three towering tapestries ranging from 8 to over 12 feet in height, each intricately hand-woven in Mexico to replicate Wal-mart receipts.
“Gabriel Kuri’s sculptures and photographs capture daily rituals, commerce, and how the passage and marks of time are reflected in overlooked objects,” said Jill Medvedow, director of the ICA. “Along with Dr. Lakra and Damián Ortega—whose work we recently introduced at the ICA—Kuri was part of an informal collective of brilliant artists that gathered at the Mexico City studio of sculptor Gabriel Orozco. This exhibition provides Boston audiences the opportunity to discover yet another powerful voice from this hub of artistic innovation."
"What we see as merely the residue of daily life—receipts, crushed cans, slivers of soap—Gabriel Kuri sees as the stuff of sculpture, objects that track our movements through systems of economics, politics, consumption, and production,” said ICA Associate Curator Randi Hopkins, who coordinated the exhibition at the ICA.
Alternatively described as a “unique accountant” and a “poetic activist,” Kuri raises questions about the ways we represent information and the objects to which we assign value. A conventional, color-coded pie chart is re-imagined as a series of three-dimensional, interlocking bins, literally stuffed with the materials it has been created to quantify. Disposable items are recast as bits of personal biography, as Kuri transforms rows of tiny hotel shampoo bottles into a visual tally of time spent on the road. Other works explore the relationship between consumerism and the art world, such as a lowly grocery store receipt elevated into an exquisite, hand-woven tapestry of monumental scale. In the artist’s hands, works that borrow from the quantifying languages of charts, graphs, and numbers seem to become sentimental measures of time, space, and memory.
Gabriel Kuri was born in Mexico in 1970, and studied at Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas, Mexico City, and Goldsmiths College of Art, London. Kuri gained international recognition as part of a circle of influential artists—including Abraham Cruzvillegas, Dr. Lakra, and Damián Ortega—who met regularly in the Mexico City studio of Gabriel Orozco in the late 80s and early 90s. Recent solo shows include Gabriel Kuri: Soft Information in Your Hard Facts at Museion, Bolzano (2010) and Join the Dots and Make a Point at Kunstverein Freiburg, Freiburg and Bielefelder Kunstverein, Bielefeld (2010). He has contributed to numerous international group shows, including the 5th Berlin Biennal in 2008; Brave New Worlds, Colección Jumex, Ecatepec, Mexico, 2008, and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2007; and Unmonumental, New Museum, New York, 2007. Organized by the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston, Gabriel Kuri: Nobody needs to know the price of your Saab is the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the U.S. Kuri lives and works in Mexico City, Mexico and Brussels, Belgium.
The exhibition and publication are made possible, in part, by the Eleanor and Frank Freed Foundation, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Consulate General of Mexico in Houston, the George and Mary Josephine Hammam Foundation, and Bank of America.
About the ICA
An influential forum for multi-disciplinary arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art has been at the leading edge of art in Boston for more than 70 years. Like its iconic building on Boston's waterfront, the ICA offers new ways of engaging with the world around us. Its exhibitions and programs provide access to contemporary art, artists, and the creative process, inviting audiences of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the excitement of new art and ideas.
Accompanied by a fully- illustrated catalogue, the exhibition is on view at the ICA through July 4, 2011. Gabriel Kuri: Nobody needs to know the price of your Saab is organized by the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston.
Image: Sin título / Untitled (Diario económico) (detail), 2004. Courtesy of the artist and kurimanzutto, Mexico City.
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