The cultural mood has shifted in the last couple of years as we’ve settled into the 21st century. Mad World brings together works from the Marciano Collection that reflect the rampant absurdities of contemporary life, mirroring and amplifying this atmosphere. While not a theme show in the strictest terms, this presentation of the collection orbits around shared sensibilities and subjects. Several pieces reflect on childhood and the cycle of life, provoking a reconsideration of that trajectory for ourselves, our children, and future generations inheriting this mad, mad world. The show also highlights a wide array of portraits depicting slightly obscured, distorted, or fragmented faces, demonstrating the monsters we see in ourselves and others. At a time when every tweet and news alert incites a sense of dread, many works here address the overwhelming accumulation of information, images, and ideas emanating from our phones, computers, billboards, televisions, and radios. And while the individual pieces were not all produced in the last couple of years, many of them seem as if they could have been made yesterday; experiencing them through today’s lens, we can begin to conjure new and alternate meanings.
Mad World includes the work of over thirty artists in the permanent collection including Nina Chanel Abney, Kathryn Andrews, Andrea Bowers, André Butzer, Merlin Carpenter, Anne Collier, Alex Da Corte, Sam Durant, Roe Ethridge, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Urs Fischer, Mark Flood, Tom Friedman, Nikolas Gambaroff, Evan Holloway, Alex Hubbard, Juliana Huxtable, Mike Kelley, Jim Lambie, Nate Lowman, Christian Marclay, Jill Mulleady, Nicolas Party, Oliver Payne, Joyce Pensato, Borna Sammak, Jim Shaw, Frances Stark, Diamond Stingily, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Kara Walker, Rosha Yaghmai.
Poster image: Sam Durant, Let’s Behave Like Americans, 2007. © Sam Durant, courtesy of the artist and Sadie Coles HQ, London.