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Multiple Strategies

November 04, 2004 through August 21, 2005

Multiple Strategies

Curated by Matt Distel and guest curator Peter Huttinger

Multiple Strategies represents a bit of unfinished business. This exhibition is an open-ended look at the artists and projects that have engaged multiples (editioned art objects) as a means of accessing and addressing wider audiences. Many influential artists of the 20th century have produced multiples as a central component of their artistic practice.

In the 1960s the term "artists' multiple" was first used to describe three-dimensional objects by artists produced in limited editions. The term was deployed as a catchall phrase for certain artist-conceived, mass-produced, mass-distributed or editioned objects that did not fall into pre-existing categories such as painting, drawing, sculpture, or installation. The multiple can, however, be viewed as an extension of the established tradition of printmaking. Additionally these artists have used emergent forms of manufacturing technology in pursuit of a socially relevant artistic process and an affordable product. This in-turn has motivated a number of artists to investigate the interrelationship between artist (manufacturer), audience (consumer) and artwork (product).

Artists' multiples are often seen as secondary, or less significant when considering an artist's entire body of work. For many artists, however, published works are not only images or objects duplicated for commercial distribution, but are created to advance a specific social agenda.

The artists in Multiple Strategies simultaneously question the relevance of, and expand traditional artistic practices. In many cases they integrate unlikely means of production and distribution as a component of their art in order to explore new social forms, usurp existing means of commercial distribution, and engage a larger audience. Multiple Strategies is not the final appraisal of the genre of artists' multiples, rather it is a proposition that asks the question, "where is all of this going?"

This exhibition is divided into six sub-sections: Art for All, a democratic impulse; Artist, Action, Object; Artist as Publisher; Do-It-Yourself (DIY); Like Life, Pranks and Interventions; Multiple as Alternative Space. Multiple Strategies is on view through August 21, 2005. Over 200 artists are represented by more than 300 works that date from 1941 to 2004. The extended duration of the exhibition is designed to provide historical context for the exhibitions presented at the CAC throughout the year.

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