Call and Response
Ann Hamilton (American, born 1956) Signal, 2010. Archival pigment print on newsprint and metal, 45 x 67 x 3 in. Museum collection, Purchased with funds from the Margo Ramsing Bequest, 2013: 41.1
Call and Response
February 20, 2016 to August 21, 2016
Call and Response brings together four recent acquisitions that invite viewers to consider our own role in artistic communication. The title is derived from a technique in music, where a melody sung by one person is echoed by another. The process is thus collaborative, and participants take turns as creator and audience. Call and Response was inspired by the JSMA’s recent acquisition of Ann Hamilton’s Signal (2010). Through her multi-media installations, Hamilton asks questions regarding place, identity, and the role of language, text and voice in human communication and ways of knowing. In her statement about her 2010 installation at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis, Missouri, stylus, a project for which Signal was originally intended, Hamilton wrote, “If the call is the origin of speech, then the hand—raised to touch, or signal at a distance—is its silent counterpart.” Hamilton’s signaling hand is thus a silent marker of the artist’s act of creation as well as an acknowledgement of the visitor’s presence. Other works on view engage the viewer through sound and sight. Nina Katchadourian’s Acca Dacca Diptych (2011) is part of a larger project, Seat Assignment, created during the artist’s travels by plane. Filming herself in the airplane lavatory using only a camera phone and materials available at hand, Katchadourian fashioned self-portraits that mimic the works of Netherlandish portraiture. Humorously, the portraits come to life as the artist begins to lip-synch to songs of rock band AC/DC. Peter Sarkisian’s Book 2 (2012), a commission in honor of former UO President Richard Lariviere, is a commentary on the loss of writing as a form of communication in contemporary society, while Ken Matsubara’s Eiffel Tower, Repetition Series (2014), which juxtapose old photographs with modern technology, is a meditation on past and present, absence and presence. By acknowledging and engaging the viewer’s presence, the works in Call and Response thus draw us into the act of creation.