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I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while, and while I have a little tiny bit of down time, I thought I’d do my best to write a short summary of the  Tara Donovan exhibit at the ICA in Boston:

Straight-up kick ass.

If I am at all pressured to extrapolate, let it be known that I shall never again view the mundane objects of my consumerist environment in the same manner. Donovan’s own words:

“The breadth and diversity of the consumer landscape has expanded to such a degree that the materials which can be adapted to the artistic context are in seemingly limitless supply.

“The idea that art can be manufactured or that art can radically complicate notions of value attached to mass-produced objects is no longer a point of serious contention in contemporary debates.

“I think the new fertile territory encompasses a range of practices that capitalize on the iconic identities of commercial and industrial materials by pressing them further into the realm of seduction.”  ¹


Donovan’s work has enormous presence. The pieces are quite large, filling up the museum’s rooms; our common knowledge of the weight of one styrofoam cup is compounded by the sheer amount of cups being used – possibly thousands of almost-weightless items collected into a mass of enormity – hanging above our heads. It’s precarious. In particular, the cups held an almost “fleshy” approach; their undulations read “femininity” while through the contrast of the unaltered materials nullified any political statements and left me in sheer awe of the experience. Truly lovely.

¹ Stender, Oriane. “Material Seduction” artnet. 2 April, 2006. 2 Dec 2008. link.