Models and Prototypes
Distributed for Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum
As a preparatory step, models have always occupied a special place in the context of artistic production. This changed in the twentieth century when many artists set out to redefine the parameters of art and artistic production. With new artistic objectives, structural and conceptual models emerged as complete and viable works of art in and of themselves. Beginning in the 1910s, the model – conceived as a system defined by a set of rules – became increasingly important, as did boxes, model-scale display cases, and architectural maquettes. Marcel Duchamp and many Conceptual artists of the 1960s radically challenged existing definitions of the artwork with the help of structural and conceptual models and the emergence of an emphasis on multiples. The centrality of models for contemporary artists, many of whom are also interested in social and historical issues, presses the question of why they became and remain such a compelling subject and tool.
Models and Prototypes includes artwork by Mark Bennett, Joseph Beuys, Daniel Buren, Thomas Demand, Marcel Duchamp, Isa Genzken, Jenny Holzer, Wassily Kandinsky, Claus Oldenburg, Edward Ruscha, and Katrin Sigurdadottir, among others.
Essay by curator Catharina Manchanda, Ph.D., Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.