Public Service Announcement: Works by Eva Koťátková and Rachel Harrison
This exhibition presents three exemplary works from The Met collection by Czech artist Eva Koťátková (born 1982) and American artist Rachel Harrison (born 1966). Koťátková and Harrison each reinvent the tradition of the readymade—a term first coined by French artist Marcel Duchamp in 1915 to describe his unconventional sculptures—reclaiming found materials to create collages and assemblages.
Koťátková's sprawling installation Untitled (Unlearning Instincts), comprised of 96 collages made of photographs clipped from books and magazines, explores subjects such as pedagogy and the process of social and political indoctrination. Harrison's two sculptures place preexisting images and objects in settings constructed by the artist to comment obliquely on matters relating to race, gender, sexuality, and politics.
In each case, appropriating, juxtaposing, and recontextualizing readymade items not only generates chains of associations—it also makes the familiar appear strange.