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Do It & Do It (Archive) at the Napa Valley Museum

Today from our partners at Art Practical, we bring you Glen Helfand‘s review of Do It & Do It (Archive), a survey of relational aesthetics now on view at the Napa Valley Museum. The author notes that this iteration of the exhibition “…seems a bit more community-minded, offering an entertaining and edifying entry to conceptualism for locals and adventurous, well-heeled visitors who have a little time to kill before their dinner reservation at the French Laundry.” This article was originally published on July 14, 2015.

Alison Knowles. Homage to Each Red Thing, 1996. Photo: Glen Helfand.

Alison Knowles. Homage to Each Red Thing, 1996. Photo: Glen Helfand.

The kicky collage video presented at the beginning of this Hans Ulrich Obrist-curated, Independent Curators International-distributed exhibition is a condensed introduction to relational aesthetics. But it also makes an intriguing boast: Do It is the longest touring art exhibition, ever. For twenty years, in various variable forms, this cleverly packaged survey of instructional art has been appearing in museums and galleries around the globe. It’s hard to resist placing it in the framework of other world-record-holding cultural artifacts such as, say, long-running Broadway musicals (Cats! Phantom! Les Mis!). But the exhibition’s endurance raises built-in questions about its premise: Do once-challenging conceptual, interactive projects grow stale or more democratic the longer they float through culture?

For those who haven’t encountered the exhibition (its last local appearance was at the Palo Alto Cultural Center back in 1997), the premise and process are self-generating. The presenting institution chooses 25 classic and more recent instructional works from the 250 provided in the exhibition publication—in a sense “branding” these works as Do It pieces—and creates them onsite with locally sourced materials and makers. It’s an economical way for small museums to have major names on their walls, as well as a means to engage audiences in a more direct way through creation of the works on view.

Read the full article here.

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