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Strange Pilgrims

Strange Pilgrims

Strange Pilgrims is the catalogue accompanying an exhibition at The Contemporary Austin that features fourteen artists whose experiential practices lead viewers on an open-ended journey through strange and unfamiliar spaces.

The Contemporary Austin
September 2015
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264 pages | 8.25 x 10.5 | 143 color photos |

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Content from "Strange Pilgrims"Content from "Strange Pilgrims"Content from "Strange Pilgrims"Content from "Strange Pilgrims"

In the past fifty years, contemporary artistic practice has witnessed a surge in phenomenological types of artistic intent and methodology, represented by divergent impulses sharing a desire to channel ephemeral elements, resist categorization, and defy the rarified museum experience. Time-based work is now widely accepted as primary exhibition matter, and in the past ten years, performance art has risen to the mainstream. Defining “experiential art” as work that is immersive, participatory, performative, and kinetic, Strange Pilgrims is an exhibition and accompanying catalogue organized by The Contemporary Austin, weaving fourteen artists into a loose collection of propositions occupying unconventional spaces and formats. The title comes from Gabriel García Márquez’s collection of twelve short stories of the same name, riffing on the wandering protagonist as a metaphor for an open-ended journey through strange and unfamiliar spaces.

Created in tandem with the exhibition on view in fall 2015 and winter 2016 at The Contemporary Austin’s two sites, as well as a third venue, the Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas at Austin, this catalogue presents a parallel but stand-alone assemblage of ideas and concepts that respond to and resonate with one another under the broad umbrella of experience and perception. The book features an essay by the curator Heather Pesanti, a guest essay by the scholar Ann Reynolds, and an interview between author and critic Lawrence Weschler and the philosopher Alva Noë. All fourteen artists are represented through individual sections with color plates and explicatory text. In addition, Artist’s Voice sections have been contributed by Roger Hiorns, Trisha Baga and Jessie Stead, and Lakes Were Rivers.

  • Foreword by Louis Grachos
  • Acknowledgments
  • Lenders to the Exhibition
  • Exhibition and Catalogue Sponsors
  • Strange Pilgrims (Heather Pesanti)
  • Operating in the Shadows: History’s Pilgrims (Ann Reynolds)
  • Lawrence Weschler and Alva Noë in Conversation
  • Artist’s Texts by Tatiana Reinoza and Robin Williams
  • Environment & Place
    • Millie Chen
    • Andy Coolquitt
    • Roger Hiorns
    • Nancy Holt
    • Angelbert Metoyer
    • Bruce Nauman
    • Artist’s Voice: Roger Hiorns
  • Technology & Information
    • Charles Atlas
    • Trisha Baga
    • Phil Collins
    • Paul Sharits
    • Artist’s Voice: Trisha Baga and Jessie Stead
  • Performance & Process
    • Charles Atlas
    • Ayşe Erkmen
    • Lakes Were Rivers
    • Yoko Ono
    • Sofía Táboas
    • Artist’s Voice: Lakes Were Rivers
  • Notes and Bibliography
  • Credits
  • Index

Austin, Texas
Pesanti is Senior Curator at The Contemporary Austin, where she has organized exhibitions on the work of Marianne Vitale, Liam Gillick, and Do Ho Suh. In 2014, together with Robert Storr, Pesanti was a visiting critic and lecturer in the Viewpoint Series at the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to Austin, Pesanti was Curator at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, where she organized the large-scale historical exhibition Wish You Were Here: The Buffalo Avant-garde in the 1970s.