press release

Andrea Zittel: Critical Space is the first comprehensive solo exhibition of Zittel’s work in North America. One of the most influential American artists to emerge in the last fifteen years, Zittel investigates contemporary life in Western societies. Her three-dimensional work draws on architecture and geography to explore the psychological, biological, and economic aspects of domestic and urban existence. Zittel researches, designs, and models her own domestic settings that serve as test cases for her experimental living structures. Her home environments and handcrafted “uniforms,” produced under the name “A-Z Administrative Services,” emphasize the ways in which personal needs such as security, self-empowerment, intimacy, and comfort are fulfilled. Her recent work, developed at A-Z West, her desert studio outside Los Angeles, alters prevailing conceptions in art and culture about the desert environment, including myths and stereotypes of the frontier, autonomy, and freedom. The exhibition will include Living Units and Comfort Units, collapsing living stations that challenge ideas about personal, professional and domestic space; the complete line of Zittel’s handmade clothing series Uniform; and new work from A-Z West. Andrea Zittel: Critical Space is conceived by Contemporary Arts Museum Houston Curator Paola Morsiani, and co-organized by the Museum and The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, for both institutions and a North American tour. It is co-curated by Morsiani and Trevor Smith of the New Museum. The exhibition will be accompanied by a major catalogue containing essays by Morsiani, Smith, and other scholars; an interview with Zittel; more than 300 color reproductions of Zittel’s work to date; and complete documentation on the artist’s career. The catalogue is co-published by the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, and Prestel Verlag. The exhibition is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Federal agency, Washington, D.C., and the Peter Norton Family Foundation. The catalogue has been made possible by a grant from The Brown Foundation, Inc. Additional support for the publication has been provided by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.


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Andrea Zittel: Critical Space