The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art presents works by groundbreaking conceptual artists of the 1960s and ‘70s alongside more recent acquisitions in Rules & Repetition: Conceptual Art at the Wadsworth Atheneum. The exhibition highlights the role the Wadsworth has played in supporting conceptual art and its legacy over the past 50 years. 

On view in Hartford, Connecticut, through February 18, 2024, the show features artists who embraced serial repetition, instruction-based artmaking, and other key conceptualist strategies in their creative practices. Countering the perception that conceptual art is cool or difficult to access, Rules & Repetition offers an approachable introduction through key works from the Wadsworth’s collection. Presented as art made by real people with urgent concerns about their world and the role that art can and should play within it, Rules & Repetition aims to expand notions about conceptual art and its continuing relevance to contemporary art and life.

The works on view highlight the Wadsworth’s long history of engaging with challenging, cutting-edge art thanks to often visionary curators. In the 1970s Andrea Miller-Keller, curator of contemporary art, laid the foundation for the museum’s embrace of conceptual art, with key support from Hartford native Sol LeWitt.

The show includes photography and sculpture by Sol LeWitt, all 11 paintings from Lee Lozano’s Wave Series, serial photographs by Ana Mendieta, and Louise Lawler’s sound work, “Birdcalls”, on loan from the LeWitt collection. Taken as a whole, the nearly 40 works in the exhibition suggest how our experiences are shaped by patterns, structures, and systems, celebrating the ability of art to help us understand how we relate to the world in new ways. 

Featured artists: Vito Acconci, Francis Alÿs, Carl Andre, Arakawa, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Gene Beery, Peggy Diggs, Spencer Finch, Charles Gaines, Alfred Jensen, Byron Kim, Louise Lawler, Sol LeWitt, Lee Lozano, Ana Mendieta, Matt Mullican, Doug Ohlson, Jeffrey Perrott, Robert Rohm, Lorna Simpson, Christopher Williams.

Rules & Repetition: Conceptual Art at the Wadsworth Atheneum is on view at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut, through February 18, 2024. The museum is open Thursdays–Sundays, 12–5pm (ET).

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