There are few art exhibitions organized in the US and Western Europe that have played a major role in changing the course of the global contemporary art scenario. We have listed down the ten most stunning exhibitions and their major contribution in bringing about the transformation.
PRIMARY STRUCTURES: YOUNGER AMERICAN AND BRITISH SCULPTORS
This was held from April 27 – June 12, 1966 at The Jewish Museum, New York by Kynaston McShine. This was first ever exhibition in which minimal art was introduced to the American audience. The exhibition consisted of large scale geometric sculptural abstractions by famous artists including Donald Judd, Robert Morris, Carl Andre, Gerald Laing and Sol LeWitt. Mark di Suvero, a renowned artists called this exhibition the “key show of the 1960s”. The key reason why this exhibiton became a critical and media success is that it portrayed the idea of an artist as a designer instead of a craftsman. Furthermore it also introduced the latest visual lexicon to the Western art history.
LIVE IN YOUR HEAD: WHEN ATTITUDES BECOME FORMS (WORKS – CONCEPTS – PROCESSES – SITUATIONS – INFORMATION)
This was held from March 22 – April 27, 1969 at Kunsthalle Bern by Harald Szeeman. This exhibition is considered quite influential in the history of contemporary art and featured a group of young artists in 1969 who are now established artists of the 20th century. These include Bruce Nauman, Eva Hesse, Joseph Beuys, Lawrence Weiner and Richard Serra. Szeeman wanted to create a constellation-like relationship between the art pieces which will establish a tension between them in defining the exhibition space. The work displayed all used post-minimalist strategies and grew out of conceptual practices such as Land Art Process art and Italian Art Povera.
This exhibition was held from January 26 – March 24, 1996 at CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux, France by Nicolas Bourriaud. One of the main significance of this exhibition was that the term “relational aesthetic” was first introduced in the exhibition’s catalogue which describes work as a social interaction between the participants. Since then the concept has become a part of contemporary art discourse. Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster’s “seance room” is yet another highlight of the exhibition in which visitors can draw floor plans of their childhood homes. Other art pieces include a brand new car purchased by the money procured from CAPC by Jason Rhoades as an artwork production cost, dirty dishes left over from meals shared with friends by Rirkrit Tiravaniji which is still considered avant-garde.
Hence these are the three most influential exhibitions that helped contemporary art reached the level it has achieved today. Due to their immense influence in the global art scene these are highly valued and respected by the artists both new and young all over the world.