press release

Wadsworth’s Famed MATRIX Program Returns

HARTFORD, Conn., July 21, 2009 – The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art’s groundbreaking MATRIX program marks its much anticipated resurgence this month in a new exhibition entitled The Matrix Effect. Curated by Patricia Hickson, the museum’s new Emily Hall Tremaine Curator of Contemporary Art, the exhibition reviews the rich history of the MATRIX program as a primer to the series’ full launch this January. The Matrix Effect is on view July 25, 2009 - January 3, 2010.

The renowned MATRIX series, a changing exhibition of contemporary art, is a continuation of the Wadsworth’s legacy of presenting the work of living artists, an artistic tradition that extends from Thomas Cole and Frederic Church to Salvador Dalí and into the present day.

Since its inception in January 1975, MATRIX exhibitions have showcased more than one thousand works of art by more than 150 artists, providing many with their first solo museum exhibition in the United States. Most of the Wadsworth’s MATRIX artists attained prominence after MATRIX and have maintained significance in the contemporary art field to this day.

The first of its kind, MATRIX has since inspired more than fifty programs across the country, including: the MATRIX program at the UC Berkeley Art Museum, Directions at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. and Investigations at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania.

“The MATRIX program calls into question preconceptions about art and increases understanding of its many possible forms and subjects,” Hickson said. “The program’s flexibility and fearlessness in the interest of furthering contemporary art have created a strong platform from which to expand the series and explore new approaches.”

The Matrix Effect will center on Christian Jankowski’s video of the same name from his 2000 MATRIX show, which was commissioned during the 25th anniversary of the series. The 26-minute video playfully combines historical documentary with childhood fairytale in a charming, informative, and entertaining narrative that provides a broad overview of the diverse projects presented over the program’s 25-year history.

Jankowski culled the script from interviews with Jim Elliott and Andrea Miller-Keller, MATRIX’s founding director and curator, respectively, as well as from a diverse selection of eight MATRIX artists. In the video, Elliott, Miller-Keller, and the artists are played by children (not professional actors) who speak their words. The transformational “MATRIX effect” of fresh art and ideas materializes on film in the form of eternal youth and boundless creativity.

“Jankowski’s video brilliantly captures the magic of this program and is the perfect centerpiece for this exhibition as it highlights an amazing cross section of the various artists, media, subject matter and projects that MATRIX is known for,” said Hickson. “The Matrix Effect will remind those familiar with the series of its groundbreaking history and is an opportunity to introduce new audiences to the importance of MATRIX prior to the program’s re-launch in January.”

Drawn primarily from the Wadsworth’s contemporary art collection, The Matrix Effect includes works by past MATRIX artists from 1975 to 2000 including; Sol LeWitt (1975), John Baldessari (1977), Christo and Jeanne-Claude (1978), Adrian Piper (1980), Louise Lawler (1984), Glenn Ligon (1992), Janine Antoni (1996), Dawoud Bey (1997), and Christian Jankowski (2000).

The MATRIX Effect is made possible in part through the generous support of the Contemporary Coalition.

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The MATRIX Effect
MATRIX Gallery
Kurator: Patricia Hickson

Künstler: Janine Antoni, John Baldessari, Dawoud Bey,  Christo , Christo & Jeanne-Claude, Christian Jankowski, Louise Lawler, Sol Le Witt, Glenn Ligon, Adrian Piper