Clown Torture in the Ando Gallery

Saturday, Sep 18 – Oct 30, 2021

1709 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

Clown Torture in the Ando Gallery is a sculpture by Jason Pickleman that proposes the exhibition of Bruce Nauman’s seminal 1987 video installation Clown Torture (a work belonging to the permanant collection of the Art Institute of Chicago) in the museum’s Gallery 109, the first space in the United States to be designed by revered Japanese architect Tadao Ando.

In suggesting this marriage of both a foundational institutional venue and artwork, Pickleman examines the interplay of their shared qualities, while also initiating a dialogue concerned with collecting institutions’ approach to exhibiting the works they hold, and the line between curatorial responsibility and curatorial taste.

Of the exhibition, Pickleman says,

“The Art Institute is no stranger to exhibition juxtapositions. In 1979, the conceptual artist Michael Asher relocated a 1917 cast of French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon’s 1788 original marble statue of George Washington which had been on display at the Museum’s Michigan Avenue entrance. Asher re-installed G.W. in Gallery 219 with other eighteenth-century European works: George being reunited with the Europe from which he sought to part company. Right now, Barbara Kruger is exhibiting her 1997 fiberglass statue Justice in the repository for The Art Institute’s 19th Century holdings: the sculpture court of the American Wing. Justice depicts two right wing mid-20th Century zealots, J Edgar Hoover and Roy Cohn, embracing and kissing. The location of the installation is unexpected and certain to titillate or startle, depending on one’s predisposition to such things. Of course this proposal may be construed by some as architectural sacrilege. So be it. It is undeniable that the geometry of Clown Torture, it’s pedestals and monitors and it’s perpendicular projections, marry quite conveniently with Ando’s exhibition space. Depending on your proclivities, this proposal is either about the elasticity of an institution’s collection and venue, or it is an exercise in judgement: bad, poor or punk.”