48th Corcoran Biennial: Closer to Home
For most of its nearly century-long history, the Corcoran Biennial has, with a few exceptions, featured only American painting. With the 46th Biennial in 2000, this venerable tradition was altered as art in other media, including sculpture, photography, video, and computer-driven work, also became eligible for inclusion. That millennial exhibition, Media Metaphor, marked the beginning of what has since become in the context of this biennial series an extended dialogue on technology as medium in contemporary art.
The 48th Corcoran Biennial: Closer to Home is organized on the basis of a preference for work that reflects ideas or raises questions relevant to the biennial series as it has recently evolved. After two Biennials that highlighted a great deal of multi-media, interactive, and, at times, even raucous high-tech art, the organizing curators of Closer to Home decided to let the pendulum swing in the other direction.
This exhibition explores the work of artists who, for a variety of reasons, utilize primarily low-tech and traditional media. This conception was inspired by the belief that a significant amount of important contemporary art examines the flipside of the high-tech coin through earnest individual expression, historically resonant aesthetic dialogue involving, for example, portraiture and landscape, the reinvention or revival of “old-tech” methods, or the poetic use of prosaic materials. While not a guiding theme of the project, domestic issues do figure into some of the featured work, suggesting yet another interpretation of the exhibition’s title.
Advanced technology was never precluded from inclusion, and several of the artists finally selected for the exhibition do use video, digital media, or computers to create or present their work. Nonetheless, all of the work in this exhibition shows evidence of a strong relationship to more traditional modes of artmaking, evoking the familiar beginnings—or home—of visual art practice.
The 48th Corcoran Biennial: Closer to Home is organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art and generously supported by the Bedford Falls Foundation, Deane and Paul Shatz, the Anna E. Clark Fund, the William A. Clark Award Fund, the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation FUNd, Brian Aitken, and The President’s Exhibition Fund. Additional thanks are due to in-kind donor Kimpton Hotels.