HERE: Three Ohio-born artists have created works for the Wex, which is celebrating 30 years in Columbus with an abiding sense of place.
Around the time that Wexner Center for the Arts senior curator of exhibitions Michael Goodson was contemplating a show to toast the 30th anniversary of the arts center, he happened upon a set of benches by artist Jenny Holzer, a Gallipolis native. The benches were inscribed with lines by Polish poet Anna Swir, whose work, Goodson learned, was introduced to Holzer by a former professor at Ohio State.
The curator knew then that the exhibition had to revolve around artists from the Buckeye State. “I realized that somehow Ohio and the idea of Ohio had entered my thoughts sort of irrevocably,” Goodson says.
Holzer was a natural to be included in what would become the group show HERE (Sept. 21–Dec. 29, Wexner Center). But what about the other artists?Like what you’re reading? Subscribe to our weekly newsletters.
In the end, Holzer was joined by Lima native Ann Hamilton, who teaches at OSU, and Athens-born Maya Lin, whose “Groundswell” is already a permanent part of the Wex and who is best known for designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
“There was something about these three that seemed to make a kind of intrinsic sense,” Goodson says, pointing out that not only are they Ohioans, but they are roughly the same age.
For an exhibition preview on Sept. 20, Hamilton, Holzer and Lin will be on hand to participate in a conversation with Wex director Johanna Burton. The event is free and open to the public.
For the exhibition, the trio created pieces specific to the center. As visitors descend the stairs from the lobby, they will encounter the first work by Lin—a pin map with an environmental theme. “This particular pin map will be a map based on Ohio aquifers,” Goodson says. “She’s very concerned with the pollution of Ohio aquifers, mostly via fracking.”
Then, in Gallery A, visitors will encounter Holzer’s installation, including her “Truisms” posters that consist of politically charged platitudes (for instance: “Government is a burden on the people”). “It’s utterly immersive,” Goodson says. “Except for one wall, every wall in the gallery will have this language sort of coming at you.”
Gallery D will belong to Hamilton, who contributed scans of everything from geological fragments to puppet collections—prints of which will be given to gallery-goers. “It’s kind of like this idea of, ‘How do you share these things?’” Goodson says.
The exhibition may be prompted by an anniversary, but Goodson says that the three artists will help set the stage for the future. “This is just a moment of breath while we take a step into the next thing,” he says. wexarts.org