Archived Exhibition

Art Of Its Own Making
February 3, 2014

The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts Explores Process, Materiality, and Environment In Art Of Its Own Making, Opening in February 2014

Exhibition Features Installations, Video, Sculpture, and Multimedia Works From Across the Last 50 Years by Artists Including Athanasios Argianas, Tony Conrad, Edith Dekyndt, Agnes Denes, Hans Haacke, Sam Lewitt, Len Lye, and Nam June Paik, Among Others 

St. Louis, MO (January 31, 2014)—The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts’ upcoming exhibition, Art of Its Own Making, explores the artistic process and the ways in which artworks evolve over time through interactions with people and their surroundings. The exhibition features sculpture, installation, film, video, and sound works by a dozen artists, who examine how elements outside their control impact the works of art they create. On view February 14 to August 20, 2014, Art of Its Own Making demonstrates the connections between artwork, audience, and environment. The exhibition, and variety of related programs, provide an opportunity for visitors to think about their own experience of art and the environment in which it exists.

Spanning the last fifty years, Art of Its Own Making features a diverse group of artists, including Athanasios Argianas, Tony Conrad, Edith Dekyndt, Agnes Denes, Hans Haacke, Sam Lewitt, Len Lye, Robert Morris, Nam June Paik, Keith Tyson, Meg Webster, and collaborative artists Melissa Dubbin and Aaron S. Davidson. Their works in the exhibition invite alternative encounters, encouraging audiences to consider their relationship to the works and their surroundings. The artists inspire viewers to move beyond just viewing the object itself, and instead to think about what it means for a work to continue “making” itself, through natural and synthetic materials such as river water, magnetic fields, moss, oil, and helium.

Most of the artists in the exhibition have had little or no recent exhibition history in the St. Louis community. Len Lye’s Wind Wands, a kinetic installation, composed of seven thin fiberglass tubes that move and respond to their open-air atmosphere, will be installed in the Pulitzer’s roof top bamboo court, giving the sculpture and the Tadao Ando-designed building new life.

“This exhibition asks audiences to consider how they and their environment impact a work of art, usually thought of as a distant and static entity,” said Kristina Van Dyke, Director of the Pulitzer. “As Edith Dekyndt’s piece illuminates the unseen connection between objects and individuals, Art of its Own Making as a whole asks us to consider the sensory experience of visiting an arts institution. Agnes Denes’s Pyramids remind us of our location on an even larger scale, as it presents the physical implications of St. Louis’s place on a major river.”

The exhibition also establishes new connections across generations of artists, linking conceptual works from the 1960s, such as Hans Haacke’s sculptural installations exploring biological cycles, with contemporary artists, such as Sam Lewitt, who deconstructs and examines the physical devices that make our digital world possible. In doing so, Art of Its Own Making establishes and reaffirms the intersections among these artists, who are usually not seen as part of a cohesive movement but work within parallel realms of inquiry.

Highlights from the exhibition include:
Agnes Denes’ Pyramids of Conscience is composed of four large Plexiglas pyramids. Three are filled with different liquids, including local tap water, oil, and collected water from the historic St. Louis riverfront at the Mississippi River. The fourth pyramid is lined with a reflective surface to capture the viewer’s presence among these forms.
Meg Webster presents viewers with an earthen mound situated on the floor of the gallery and covered in live moss in Moss Bed, Queen. The condition and the lifespan of the moss are dependent on the surrounding environment, so that over the course of the exhibition, the moss itself will continue to fluctuate as a living organism.
Edith Dekyndt’s Ground Control is a large, black sphere filled with helium that floats in the gallery and highlights forces that are not usually perceived. As viewers move throughout the space, the black sphere also moves, propelled by the presence of the visitors and flow of air surrounding it.
Nam June Paik’s movie Zen for Film is created by the mechanical interaction of the actual film and its projector, so that each viewing reveals a new change to the film and projected image. Paik’s work, along with that of Lewitt and Dekyndt, recognizes the powerful allure and danger of a disembodied digital landscape, where what one observes on the screen can be easily divorced from any material source.
Tony Conrad’s Yellow Movie is a large sheet of studio paper painted with clear gloss varnish and a black frame of latex house paint. Conrad envisioned this work as a long durational film that would continue “showing” with the yellowing of the varnish. Yellow Movie provides a different understanding of the medium’s physicality, as actual film could not run continuously for years like the aging varnish. The black frame marks the work’s edge, like film editors, and is the same ratio as a projected film.
Robert Morris’ Box with the Sound of Its Own Making is a wooden box with an internal speaker that plays a recording of the work’s entire three-and-a-half hour construction. The presentation of both the recording and the box emphasizes its evolution over time and distances Morris from the process.

The opening weekend will include an artist talk with Edith Dekyndt and Meg Webster. For the duration of the exhibition, a series of accompanying events and programs at the Pulitzer will explore related themes in the fields of science, philosophy, literature, and music to engage a diverse constellation of perspectives.

About the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts:

The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts provides an intimate space for exploring the arts, fosters community engagement, and inspires its audiences to think differently about art and its relationship to their lives. Founded in 2001 as a 501 (c)3 nonprofit, the Pulitzer is dedicated to utilizing its Tadao Ando-designed building to create multilayered, sensory experiences that link the visual arts with other cultural forms and heighten audience understanding and enjoyment. Its diverse public programming and extended exhibition presentations stimulate deeper public engagement and have made the institution an integral part of the Grand Center arts district and cultural landscape in St. Louis. The Pulitzer is open and free to the public Wednesdays from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit or call 314.754.1850.


For further information, please contact:

Megan Ardery
Resnicow Schroeder Associates

Katie Hasler
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts


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