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Daniel Buren in
Always Being Relation

30 January—3 March 2024
Group Exhibition at Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, USA

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There is a tradition at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery of celebrating anniversaries with exhibitions that reflect on the legacy of Wesleyan alumni artists. For Always Being Relation, the gallery’s 50th anniversary exhibition, the notion of "alumni” expands beyond its conventional definition of University graduates, putting in dialogue work by artists who studied at Wesleyan with visiting artists who have exhibited in the gallery since its opening in 1973.

The title of the exhibition is a quote from Gertrude Stein’s Lectures in America (1935). In her talk “Plays,” Stein speaks about the function of relationality within landscape in the theater. Even without moving, the individual aspects of the landscape are always in relation to one another, “the trees to the hills the hills to the fields the trees to each other.” In Stein’s treatment everything is contingent except for the presence of relationality itself.

For the past 50 years, the gallery has presented the works of both students and visiting artists. Though these exhibitions are usually not at the same time, they have always been in relation. This exhibition will bring both together amidst ephemera and images from the gallery’s archives, examining the multifarious histories of the space and its role in bringing contemporary art into conversation with the liberal arts at Wesleyan for the last five decades.

Although it is not an exhaustive survey, the exhibition helps us to consider many different narratives that have transpired or are transpiring in the gallery, looking at how relationships between the gallery’s walls and the artists/artworks presented within them have formed. As Stein put it, “the story is only of importance if you like to tell or like to hear a story but the relation is there anyway.”

Artists include Janet Biggs, Daniel Buren, Julien Creuzet, Anthony Discenza ‘90, Vincent Fecteau ‘92, Tony Feher, Ariadne Fish, Renée Green ’81, Salim Green ’20, Lyle Ashton Harris ‘88, Rachel Harrison ‘89, Elana Herzog, Dana Hoey ’89, Kahlil Robert Irving, Karrabing Film Collective, Sol LeWitt, Glenn Ligon ’82, Hon. ’12, Alvin Lucier, Melissa Marks ’87, P ’23, Nick Raffel, Cameron Rowland ’11, Fred Sandback, Aki Sasamoto ’04, Beverly Semmes, Cindy Sherman, Diane Simpson, Jessica Stockholder, virgil b/g taylor ’15, Franz Erhard Walther, Andrew Witkin ’00, and Carrie Yamaoka ’79.