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Question the Wall Itself

November 20, 2016–May 21, 2017
Walker Art Center








Question the Wall Itself examines ways that interior spaces and décor can be fundamental to the understanding of cultural identity. The multimedia exhibition showcases work by 23 international, multigenerational artists who explore the political and social dimensions of interior architecture as well as its complicated relationship to history and their own backgrounds. The show presents a breadth of pieces conceived as rooms—from the anteroom, prison cell, and living room to the library, showroom, and garden. Through the artists’ examinations of such spaces—both public and private—the contexts of these environments are revealed. Featured in the exhibition, which includes several new commissions, are works by Jonathas de Andrade, Uri Aran, Nina Beier, Marcel Broodthaers, Tom Burr, Alejandro Cesarco, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Theaster Gates, Ull Hohn, Janette Laverrière/Nairy Baghramian, Louise Lawler, Nick Mauss, Park McArthur, Lucy McKenzie, Shahryar Nashat, Walid Raad, Seth Siegelaub, Paul Sietsema, Florine Stettheimer, Rosemarie Trockel, Cerith Wyn Evans, Danh Vo, and Akram Zaatari.

The exhibition takes as its guiding principal what Belgian artist and poet Marcel Broodthaers termed “esprit décor,” a critique of ideas of nationality, the effects of globalization, and the space of the institution through constructed interior scenes. Recasting our conception of interior space and design, the works on view exist between artwork, prop, and set or stage.


Exhibition Catalogue


Question the Wall Itself, designed by Mark Ownens, features an extensive photographic walk-through of the installations, and essays by Jordan Carter, Adrienne Edwards, Isla Leaver-Yap, Fionn Meade, and Robert Wiesenberger, as well as contributions from participating artists Jonathas de Andrade, Uri Aran, Nina Beier, Marcel Broodthaers, Tom Burr, Alejandro Cesarco, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Theaster Gates, Ull Hohn, Janette Laverrière, Louise Lawler, Nick Mauss, Park McArthur, Lucy McKenzie, Shahryar Nashat, Walid Raad, Seth Siegelaub, Paul Sietsema, Florine Stettheimer, Rosemarie Trockel, Cerith Wyn Evans, Danh Vo and Akram Zaatari.

See feature on the catalouge design here


Zigzagging Between Public and Private: Tom Burr on Philip Johnson, Sexuality and Architecture

artist interview feature video on Tom Burr's sculpture commission for Question the Wall Itself.
Watch here:



Additional Events Associated with the Exhibition:
Avant Museology, a two-day symposium (November 20–21) was co-presented by the Walker Art Center, e-flux, and the University of Minnesota Press. The symposium was presented at the Walker Art Center and the Brooklyn Museum.




Taking its cue from the recently published book Avant-Garde Museology, edited by Arseny Zhilyaev, the symposium addresses the memory machine of the contemporary museum vis-à-vis its relationship to the contemporary artistic practices, sociopolitical contexts, and theoretical legacies that shape and animate it. Where the museum may have once been a mere container for objects and ephemera, the mutability of the contemporary museum has facilitated the apparently seamless absorption of its own complex histories, paradoxical political and socioeconomic functions and ideas. It begs the question: can contemporary museology be invested with the energy of the visionary and political projects contained in the works that it circulates and remembers?

Speakers: Jonathas de Andrade in conversation with Adrienne Edwards; Boris Groys; Ane Hjort Guttu in conversation with Nisa Mackie; Wayne Koestenbaum; Sohrab Mohebbi; Timothy Morton and Cary Wolfe in conversation; Elizabeth Povinelli; Walid Raad in conversation with Fionn Meade; Hito Steyerl; Anton Vidokle; and Arseny Zhilyaev.



Video documentation from Brooklyn Museum

Exhibition Reviews

Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Here and There, 1978, onstallation view, Inverleith House, Edinburgh, 2010. Courtesy: the artist and Inverleith House, Edinburgh


Question the Wall Itself, Frieze by Jonathan Griffin

Artforum "Critic's Pick" by Christina Schmid

"Against the Wall," The Architect's Newspaper by Camille Lefevre


"Question the Wall Itself" Minneapolis Tribune by Gregory Scott




See also:
Question the Wall Itself: Blinky Palermo at the Sculpture Center May 18, 2011
Wayne Koestenbaum Lounge Act at Thek Lounge, Walker Art Center, November 20, 2016 

Copryright Fionn Meade unless otherwise stated