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Eye on Design: Andrea Zittel’s Aggregated Stacks and the Collection of Palm Springs Art Museum

March 14th – July 26th, 2015

Working with museum curators, Daniell Cornell and Sidney Williams, Andrea Zittel has created this commissioned installation for the Palm Springs Art Museum, that combines Native American and modern textiles from the museum's permanent collection together with original works produced in her Joshua Tree studio. Responding to the rigorous grid of the building’s architecture, Zittel's sculptural works, titled A-Z Aggregated Stacks,fill the majority of the Trina Turk Gallery. The stacks play off of the geometry of the Williams building, while simultaneously evolving the regularity of the mid-century grid toward a more fractured or decomposing state.

Working with museum curators, Daniell Cornell and Sidney Williams, Andrea Zittel has created this commissioned installation for the Palm Springs Art Museum, that combines Native American and modern textiles from the museum's permanent collection together with original works produced in her Joshua Tree studio. Responding to the rigorous grid of the building’s architecture, Zittel's sculptural works, titled A-Z Aggregated Stacks,fill the majority of the Trina Turk Gallery. The stacks play off of the geometry of the Williams building, while simultaneously evolving the regularity of the mid-century grid toward a more fractured or decomposing state.

Interspersed among the sculptural groupings of Stacks, Zittel has organized textiles from the museum’s collection along with weavings from her own studio into large flat horizontal works that sit on the floor as “fields” that offer yet another exploration of the grid. The interplay of rugs and wall hangings result in layers of history, content and function - as a commentary on Native American, midcentury modern, and contemporary aesthetics. These works serve as part of Zittel’s ongoing investigation into subtle shifts between spatial orientation and perception as she explores how a work’s placement in space prompts us to define it both in terms of social hierarchy and practical function

Zittel’s Aggregated Stacks are fabricated from recycled mailing cartons, which inevitably accumulate as the result of the online orders required by the artist’s life in rural Joshua Tree. They serve both as wall-mounted reliefs, and as freestanding sculptures. Created by wrapping cardboard boxes in the same plaster materials as a traditional body cast, they form complex, integrated compositions that deconstruct the modernist grid by being simultaneously random in their arrangements, yet ordered by their inherent geometry. Zittel believes that if the grid is representative of human aspiration or idealism, then the fractured or decomposing grid represents the reality of the human condition. Additionally, the vertical positions of her freestanding works recall architectural elements. The wall-mounted works resemble shelving units, a purpose for which the artist intends they be used. They suggest one of the ways that she deploys the irregular circumstances of everyday life to explore the human desire to create order and organize basic needs.

Within wall fragments suggesting rooms, Zittel orchestrates hand woven textiles, rugs, industrially produced commercial carpets, and other panel elements into configurations that effectively function as collages. These layered compositions combine works from the museum’s holdings, mass-produced products, and objects created in the artist's studio specifically to complete the groupings. Intended to be both functional and decorative, the objects in these arrangements are layered in ways that break down cultural distinctions of hierarchical value. Ordering these components into surprising juxtapositions questions normative categories and attendant assumptions about creativity, skills, and worth based on designations such as fine art, craft, fabrication, construction, and manufacture.

The A-Z team of Vanesa Zendejas, Kelly Gazlay, Alexa Conrad, Dean Schimmel, Grant LaValley, Brian Crook, Miles Votek, Tara Grayson, and Nora Rolf worked with Andrea Zittel to create the Aggregated Stacks and studio weavings.

Andrea Zittel discusses her approach to design in this episode from the ART21Exclusive series: 

http://www.art21.org/videos/short-andrea-zittel-art-design 

CREDITS: Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producers: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Ian Forster. Camera: Zach Voytas. Sound: Ian Forster. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Andrea Zittel. Special Thanks: Grant Earl Lavalley, Jennifer Morris, and Vanesa Zendejas. Theme Music: Peter Foley (c) 2015 ART21, Inc.

This exhibition is organized by Palm Springs Art Museum and funded in part by the museum's Contemporary Art Council, Myrna Kaplan, the museum's Architecture and Design Council, Donna MacMillan, and Maggie and Tom Headrick. It is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Exhibition Season Sponsors are Dorothy and her late husband Harold J. Meyerman and Arlene Schnitzer.

To find out more about how NEA grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.