In the early 1960s, a group of artists abandoned subjective expression, improvisation, and emotion and began to focus primarily on materials, process, and space. They sought to develop an objective, self-referential method-one that was numerical and quantitative, and vastly different than the Abstract Expressionists' approach to art making. In a 1967 essay published in Artforum magazine, "The Serial Attitude," the artist Mel Bochner defined this new way of working as an attitude rather than an artistic style, and cited the influence of early photography pioneer Eadweard Muybridge. Indeed, Muybridge's photographic studies of human and animal movement influenced many artists working during the 1960s and into the 1970s in what became known as Minimalism and Conceptual art. They responded to Muybridge's notion of sequencing and use of the grid by emphasizing seriality, modularity, and simultaneity.
Hold, Control, Repeat presents works associated with Minimalism and Conceptual art. Featuring drawings, prints, and sculptures that explore the "serial attitude," the exhibition also includes works that move beyond self-referential artistic processes and into the realm of ideas and concepts. The exhibition takes as its starting point a significant work in the MSU Broad collection, an 1887 photograph from Muybridge's Animal Locomotion series that depicts the movements of a woman descending stairs. Highlighting as well notable works by Carl Andre, Jo Baer, Sol LeWitt, and Louise Nevelson, the works on view navigate the forms and attitudes of these artistic movements and their logical, often radical, extension of the parameters of production that Muybridge set forth.
Hold, Control, Repeat is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and curated by Carla Acevedo-Yates, Associate Curator, with support from Georgia Erger, Curatorial Assistant. Support for this exhibition is provided by the Elizabeth Halsted endowment fund.