January 26, 2018 – July 1, 2018
do it began in Paris in 1993 as a conversation between curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and artists Christian Boltanski and Bertrand Lavier. They were curious to see what would happen if they started an exhibition that could constantly generate new versions of itself. To test the idea, they invited 12 artists to propose artworks based on written “scores” or instructions that can be openly interpreted every time they are presented. The instructions were then translated into 9 different languages and circulated internationally as a book.
Since then, hundreds of artists have been invited to submit instructions, and do it has taken place all over the world from Austria to Australia, from Thailand to Uruguay, from Canada to Iceland giving new meaning to the concept of an exhibition in progress. Each do it exhibition is uniquely site-specific because it engages the local community in a dialogue that responds to a set of instructions. As a result do it is less concerned with copies, images, or reproductions of artworks, than with human interpretation. No two iterations of the same instructions are ever identical.
For MMofA, mounting do it means engaging the local creative community. We are enlisting artists, individuals, and community groups to interpret and complete selected works out of 250+ possible instructions. This is a huge opportunity not only for local artists, but also for our museum to show works originating from contemporary art’s master class. The educational and programmatic value of do it is limitless in its inclusiveness and artistic caliber.
The exhibition do it is able to bridge the gaps between past, present and future by sustaining an ongoing open dialog. Aside from the opportunities within the creative process, the exhibition itself is a meditation on the nuances of human interpretation and the passage of meaning through multiple hands. Almost none of the work in the exhibition is static, each work changes or evolves over time and so the exhibition itself is heavily interactive, giving new meaning to an “Exhibition in Progress.”
do it is an exhibition conceived and curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, and organized by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. do it and the accompanying publication, do it: the compendium, were made possible, in part, by grants from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and with the generous support from Project Perpetual and ICI’s International Forum and Board of Trustees.