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In the Séance Room: Acquisition Highlights from 2003-2013

Thursday, Nov 14, 2013 to Sunday, Feb 23, 2014

In the Séance Room presents a selection of objects acquired over the past decade. The exhibition takes its name from the last phrase in the title of Jeremy Blake’s multi-canvas painting which was acquired in 2003. The piece is part of a body of work that takes as its subject the legendary (and supposedly haunted) Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California, as well as the legacy of 1960s Color Field painting. If Blake invokes hauntings and legacies, a number of other artists in the exhibition are likewise concerned with otherworldly communications and histories that linger. Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s untitled “dateline” piece summons political events and collective memories, while Christian Boltanski’s elegiac installation serves as a monument and memorial. Anne Collier’s aura portraits and Hany Armanious’s Untitled Snake Oil suggest pseudo-scientific and alchemical processes, alongside works by Alice Aycock, Matt Mullican, and Russell Crotty that seem to transcribe supernatural messages, cosmological systems, and the patterns of the night sky, respectively. The small central gallery features works that hybridize photography, video, and sculpture. Figures in these works occupy an uncertain space between visibility and invisibility.
The exhibition offers a look at some of the artists who have defined contemporary art practice in recent years, as well as a recent chapter in MCASD’s collection-building, as it seeks to preserve the past and to write the art history of the future. Artists in the exhibition include Jeremy Blake, Anne Collier, Nan Goldin, Felix Gonzales-Torres, Matt Mullican, Catherine Opie, Joel Otterson, Steve Roden, Taryn Simon, and Andrea Zittel, among others.
In the Séance Room: Acquisition Highlights from 2003-2013 is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Institutional support for MCASD is provided, in part, by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.