Past Futures: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas accompanies an exhibition of the same name on view at the Museum from March 5 to June 7, 2015. The show offers a groundbreaking examination of how avant-garde artists from the United States and several Latin American countries interpreted notions of conquest, discovery, and crossing into new territories-both terrestrial and celestial. Edited by Sarah J. Montross, Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Curatorial Fellow, Past Futures shines new light on the work of many U.S. and Latin American artists inspired by the achievements of the space age in the context Cold War political and cultural relationships.
Past Futures showcases work by over twenty artists, including the biomorphic cosmic spaces and hybrid alien-totemic figures painted by the Chilean artist Roberto Matta (1911-2002); the utopian Hydrospatial City envisioned by Argentine Gyula Kosice (born 1924) and Incidents of Mirror-Travel in the Yucatan, in which Robert Smithson (1938-1973) layered tropes of time travel atop Mayan ruins. The artists respond to science fiction in film and literature and the media coverage of the space race; link myths of Europeans’ first encounters with the New World to contemporary space exploration; and project futures both idealized and dystopian.
Co-published by the Museum and the The MIT Press, this beautifully-illustrated catalogue includes essays by Montross, as well as Rodrigo Alonso, independent scholar and curator; science fiction scholar Miguel Angel Fernandez Delgado; and Rory O’Dea, an expert on the work of Robert Smithson.
aka Marcel Duchamp: Meditations on the Identities of an Artist is edited by Anne Collins Goodyear, co-director of the Museum and James W. McManus, professor emeritus at California State University-Chico. One of the most influential artists of the twentieth-century, Marcel Duchamp delighted in tinkering with our most basic assumptions about identity. Born in France, the artist, who would eventually become an American citizen, first arrived in the United States in 1915, on the heels of the uproarious reception of his painting The Nude Descending a Staircase at the 1913 Armory Show. The inventor of the readymade, an artwork fashioned by renaming and thereby re-conceptualizing a mass-produced object, Duchamp also played with his own identity, recognizing that we ourselves may be “readymades” that can be transformed by our own ingenuity. The artist most famously took on the moniker of Rrose Selavy, a multi-layered pun which provided him with a female alter-ego, with whom he co-signed numerous artworks, including the Monte Carlo Bond, recently acquired by the Museum, and on view in Collaborations and Collusions: Artists’ Networks from the Nineteenth Century to the Present, until February 8, 2015.
The anthology, aka Marcel Duchamp: Meditations on the Identities of an Artist, features essays by leading experts that explore the artist’s numerous manipulations of his own persona. The agency he exerted in fashioning himself in various guises rings particularly prescient in our own era of social media.
Both volumes are available for purchase at the Museum Shop at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.