The power of an artwork is often amplified when in dialogue or debate with another. It Takes 2: Unexpected Pairings explores the resonances and dissonances that arise when unrelated objects are set side by side. These unlikely companions, drawn from the HRM collection, loans from Art Bridges, and private collections, span different centuries, cultures, and media. Their juxtaposition may reveal overlapping frames of reference, draw out previously unnoticed dimensions, or challenge preconceived notions of universality.
In the eight pairings featured here, each explored under a different theme, the artworks stand on their own and also hold a mirror to one another. One poignant pairing reveals two striking explorations of love. Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s “Untitled” (L.A.), 1991, is installed near an ornate wedding platter from the 1870s. Gonzalez-Torres’s candy-spill work dates from the same year he lost his beloved partner to an AIDS-related illness and is a testament to their relationship. The ceramic dish, produced by W. T. Copeland & Sons, features wedding vows as part of its decoration, including “in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.” The platter was made to hold food for wedding guests, just as Gonzalez-Torres meant for visitors to consume the commemorative candy.
In other juxtapositions, works by Georgia O’Keeffe and Andy Warhol invite us to consider organic forms we can encounter everyday from a fresh perspective, and Winslow Homer’s watercolor of a Florida coastal scene and Catherine Latson’s sculptural dress made of shells suggest changing relationships to nature. Finally, the fantasy realm of children’s play provides a vehicle for artists JooYoung Choi and Mark O’Banks to rewrite history, to upend social injustices through invented worlds and very different artistic sensibilities.
As we continue our commitment to presenting the Museum’s collection in new and exciting ways, these comparisons provide opportunities to extract new readings and perspectives on art and artists, past and present.
Mark Bradford • JooYoung Choi • Felix Gonzalez-Torres • Winslow Homer • Donald Judd • Catherine Latson • Paul Manship • Mark O’Banks • Georgia O’Keeffe • Joe Overstreet • Shizu Saldamando • Joan Snyder • Rigoberto Torres • Andy Warhol • W.T. Copeland & Sons