How can we tell a work of art from an ordinary object? When we visit museums, we expect to see important artworks and potent displays of cultural and social inquiry. But who ultimately decides the value and meaning of an artwork? This eclectic selection from the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum Collection accompanies the exhibition The Transported Man and contributes to conversations around the role of belief in the framing and experience of art. The works trace different approaches to art making and conventions of “taste,” challenging preconceptions as to what constitutes “high” and “low” art. For ultimately, these qualifications remain open to interpretation—their meaning and significance shifting from place to place, moment to moment, and person to person.
The works in this playful mash-up do not hail from any particular culture or historical era, but rather span hundreds of years. Some of the collection’s best-known pieces appear alongside others that have never been displayed before. The exhibition also blends different presentation strategies—from the salon-style method of hanging works shoulder to shoulder, to the minimalist approach of single works surrounded by lots of space—inviting visitors to consider how the overall context exerts influence on one’s experience of art. But the question still remains: Who determines the value and meaning of an artwork? The museum, the artist, the audience? Or the true believer?
Artists in the exhibition include Jacque Callot, Larry Clark, Joseph Cornell, Salvador Dalí, Eugène Delacroix, Richard Diebenkorn, Anthony van Dyck, Alberto Giacometti, Nan Goldin, Gwen Lux, Marino Marini, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Gerhard Richter, and Jean Paul Slusser, among others.
The Transported Collection is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and curated by Steven L. Bridges, Assistant Curator. Support for this exhibition is provided by the MSU Broad’s general exhibitions fund.