JAMES COHAN New York
48 & 52 Walker Street
NY 10013 New York
artists & participants
By Proxy is an exhibition of the instances when an idea needs more than just an artist to take form.
Marcel Duchamp called it "aesthetic osmosis", the process by which an artist, through an artwork, transfers responsibility and agency to a viewer. A viewer's position — where they're coming from — shaped the final meaning of many of Duchamp's works. His revolutionary idea gave viewers authority to complete the process he had started. His objects, "through the change from inert matter into a work of art", were evidence of the strength of this shared enterprise.
In the century since, production, outsourcing, interaction and appropriation have become mainstream modes of artistic expression; the shared enterprise has become a fragmented contract between the artist and other factors, not simply between the artist and the viewer. An artwork's form and meaning take shape outside the artist's hands in countless ways: in context, fabrication, tools, reproduction.
By Proxy is an exhibition in which technology, other artisans, context, chance and culture have a role in the making of the work. The exhibition takes an interest in the primacy of an idea, the possibilities of that idea as it moves through its making, and the resulting object. It pays tribute to the purity of good ideas and the inherent peculiarity and magic of every collaboration, with the proof in the pudding.
The exhibition will include 10 to 12 artists incorporating work from the past century to the present day. Confirmed artists include Alighiero Boetti, John Cage, Marcel Duchamp, Lee Mingwei, Sol Lewitt, Oliver Laric, Jon Rafman, and Xu Zhen.