do it, MMofA 2018
do it began in Paris in 1993 as a conversation betweencurator Hans Ulrich Obrist and artists Christian Boltanski and Bertrand Lavier.They were curious to see what would happen if they started an exhibition thatcould constantly generate new versions of itself. To test the idea, theyinvited 12 artists to propose artworks based on written “scores” orinstructions that can be openly interpreted every time they are presented. Theinstructions were then translated into 9 different languages and circulatedinternationally as a book.
Since then, hundreds of artists have been invited to submit instructions, and do it has taken place allover the world from Austria to Australia, giving new meaning to the concept of an exhibition in progress. Each do it exhibition is uniquely site-specific because it engages the local community in a dialogue that responds to a set of instructions. As a result do it is less concerned with copies, images, or reproductions of artworks, than with human interpretation. No two iterations of the same instructions are ever identical.
verb (used with object)
1. to give or provide the meaning of;explain; explicate; elucidate.
2. to construe or understand in aparticular way.
3. to bring out the meaning of (adramatic work, music, etc.) by performance or execution.
4. to perform or render (a song, rolein a play, etc.) according to one's own understanding or sensitivity.
From Dictionary.com, retrieved January 21,2018.
Art evolves constantly. It reinterprets, edits, and augmentsthe modes and methodologies of previous generations in order to mark ourcurrent moment. It updates and diversifies its own dogma. Part of the job ofart is to expand ideas.
Normally in an art exhibition we take things like authorshipand permanence for granted. do ituses temporality as a vehicle for multiplicity. In the temporary we assessideas rather than objects. This is an opportunity to see artists of this timeand place in direct conversation with the canon of artists that came before, ifonly a minute before; to lean into the very nature of art as an ever-changingidea machine.
My goal in organizing this iteration of do it was to find room for the personal. The compendium presents 250 instructions thatrun the gamut of ideas, materials, subject matter and possibility. Exhibitionslike this can be very esoteric; our goal was to use the artistic canon asrepresented in the compendium, as a stage for something very specific to thistime and place.
Each of the artists participating was given a short list ofinstructions to choose from. These were instructions specifically chosen to tieinto the material or subjective quality of their usual work. Each of theartists had to interpret the ideas of another artist into something that theycould relate to. I tried to pair artists with an instruction that both madesense to their practice but would also constitute a departure, and tangent offthe beaten path that they normally trod. For some this consisted of a whole newmedium or subject, for others it was as simple as a thought or approach.
The outcome is intended to be an exhibition that is playful,irreverent at times, and solemn occasionally. It represents a riotous dialoguebetween eras. The work here represents both a respect and healthy skepticismfor the past, and reinfuses the ideas of a previous generation with newmeaning. Most of all it marks this time, and this place in relationship to whathas come before.
-elizabet elliott, Curator of Record, Mobile Museum of Art2018
Participating Artists Include:
Adam R. Forrester
Brock Bernard Larsen
Amanda Solley Wilson
AIDS Alabama South
Alabama Contemporary Art Center
Alabama School of Math and Science
Mobile Arts Council
Spring Hill College
The Salvation Army
University of Mobile
University of South Alabama