The Housatonic Museum of Art has curated “It’s for you,” Conceptual Art and the Telephone, an exhibit that is, in part about the big way students at HCC — everywhere, really — just love love love talking on the phone.
So art that use the phone as an artistic medium or mediator are brought together in an original exhibition curated by Terri C. Smith.
Artists in the exhibition include T. Foley, Lukas Geronimas, Jeremy LeClair, Christian Marclay, Yoko Ono, Rachel Perry Welty, Robert Peters, Pietro Pellini, and Hannah Wilke. Yes, you did see Yoko Ono’s name buried in that list. More on her later.
Students will work with T Foley, creating their own ring tones as part of her Locally Toned project. Archival materials are also included as a way to represent ephemeral works from the past as with Robert Peters’ Naming Others: Manufacturing Yourself (1993) where the artist asked people to call an 800 number from pay phones and choose which stereotyping phrase described them best.
“It’s for You” harnesses the familiarity of the telephone as a way of introducing audiences to a variety of conceptual art practices, which often include a mix of art theory and social critique. The exhibition, consequently, endeavors to connect concerns found in contemporary art with the objects, communication habits, and changing technologies in our daily lives. In that spirit, visitors and students will be encouraged to comment on the exhibition using telephone-friendly interfaces such as Twitter.
In writing about the show, Smith points out that “many of the artists in the exhibition aim to democratize the artist/audience relationship, a quality that is intricately woven into the history of conceptual art.”
Yoko Ono created a piece especially for the show. Her “Telephone Piece” consists of a black push-button telephone that sits on a large yellow box. Next to it is a note: “Telephone Piece for Bridgeport. Pick up the phone when it rings.” Ono may or may not call the gallery during the run of the show.
“Will she or won’t she call — that’s part of the tension,” Smith told the Connecticut Post.
The show opened Thursday, Feb. 24, and a reception 5-8 p.m. Thursday, March 3. It closes Friday, March 25.