A Contemporary Cabinet of Curiosities

January 17, 2001 to March 03, 2001

A Contemporary Cabinet of Curiosities: Selections from the Vicki and Kent Logan Collection, offers a collection evocative of a Wunderkammer—the 17th-century "cabinet of wonders" that preceded the modern museum. Featuring 14 works by the artists Mat Collishaw, Tony Cragg, Katharina Fritsch, Damien Hirst, Michael Joo, Yasumasa Morimura, Juan Muñoz, Tony Oursler and Roxy Paine, the exhibition also represents the United States premiere of work by Hirst and the West Coast premiere of work by Paine.

In the 17th century collectors assembled and displayed objects of virtue and curiosity in special spaces—often in their own homes—known as Wunderkammers. These collections included medical specimens and exhibits of natural science shown alongside works of art; they were meant to appeal to the spectator's sense of the marvelous and wondrous.

The work in A Contemporary Cabinet of Curiosities draws on a similar hybrid aesthetic, while alluding to what might be considered a stepchild of the Wunderkammer, the carnival sideshow. Examples include Hirst's Rehab is for Quitters, a crucified skeleton with air-suspended Ping-Pong balls for eyes; Katharina Fritsch's Warengestell mit Gehirnen (Display Stand with Brains); and Tony Oursler's bisected screaming head titled Half (Brain). While the historical predecessors to this exhibition were intended to inspire a sense of wonder in the spectator, the impact of this work is markedly different.