Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology. Installation view at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. January 9-May 18, 2014.
Photography by Brian Forrest.
Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology is the first large-scale exhibition to focus on the intersection of two vitally important genres of contemporary art: appropriation (taking and recasting existing images, forms, and styles from mass-media and fine art sources) and institutional critique (scrutinizing and confronting the structures and practices of our social, cultural, and political institutions). The exhibition brings together works by thirty-six American artists who came to prominence between the late 1970s and the early 1990s.
The majority of the works on view are from the 1980s and 1990s, a groundbreaking period that was shaped by the feminist and civil rights movements of the previous decades. Conscious of the profound impact on society of mass media such as television, newspapers, and film, artists examined critical questions of identity and representation via politically and socially engaged practices. This era witnessed a number of significant events that reverberated in the art world: the AIDS crisis; Ronald Reagan’s “trickle-down” economics and the subsequent recession; the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War; among others.