Barbara Mathes Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of “According to Plan”, a group exhibition that explores the multivalent role that plans – whether building plans or pre-determined conceptual schema – play in determining artistic outcomes. From architectural models, to project proposals and conceptual systems, this exhibition casts a wide net, illuminating the myriad ways in which planning informs practice in contemporary art.
For Conceptual artists the artwork is based on an underlying concept or plan, but retains its material specificity. Mel Bochner distances his role in composition by listing the numbers zero through fifty, yet accidents of the hand and brush testify to the artist’s individuality. Similarly, a multi-part stripe piece by Daniel Buren is scaled according to a pre-determined relationship to the supporting wall, ensuring that each installation will be site-specific.
The exhibition pairs a yarn sculpture by Fred Sandback with a precisely rendered axonometric plan for his 1968 installation at the epoch-defining Heiner Friedrich Gallery in Munich. Claes Oldenburg’s soft alphabet sculptures are presented with their drawn counterpart, itself derived from a predetermined lexicon. A similar conceit underlies the drawings of Los Carpinteros, who imagine whimsically anthropomorphic architectural structures that interfere with prefabricated design.
Guillermo Kuitca’s paintings and drawings frequently include building plans, seating charts, maps, and genealogical charts, densely layering the organizational mechanisms that structure everyday life. Vik Muniz’s images depart from preexisting artworks, yet alter their meanings through the use of non-art materials and digital photography. Wim Delvoye’s study drawing and scale 3-D printed model parody the desire to rationalize the body through technology, questioning our ability to control our surroundings.
Things that go “according to plan” are typically rational and predictable in nature. These artists defy that expectation, treating the plan as a point of departure for invention.