Exhibitions

S, M, L, XL

Images

  • A red, white, and blue fabric canopy presses against the walls of a room. Light enters the room through a door at the back on the left side.
  • A red, white, and blue fabric canopy presses against walls of room. Light enters the room through a door at the rear.
Kris Martin, T.Y.F.F.S.H., 2011. Hot air balloon, basket, metal ring, and fans; overall dimensions variable. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Mary and Earle Ludgin by exchange, 2011.43. © 2011 Kris Martin
Photo: Robert Wedemeyer, courtesy of the artist; MARC FOXX, Los Angeles; and Sies + Höeke, Düsseldorf
Robert Morris, Portal, 1964. Latex on aluminum; 95 ¾ x 48 1/16 × 12 in. (243.2 × 122.1 × 30.5 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Mrs. Robert B. Mayer, 1984.3. © 2014 Robert Morris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Franz West, Blue, 2006. Papier-mâché, foam, wire, resin, electrical system, paint, and metal; 93 × 72 7/8 × 87 ½ in. (236 × 185 × 222 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of the William J. Hokin Family, 2014.12. Courtesy of the Estate of Franz West and the Franz West Privatstiftung Archiv
Photo: Florian Kleinefenn
Franz West, Blue, 2006. Papier-mâché, foam, wire, resin, electrical system, paint, and metal; 93 × 72 7/8 × 87 ½ in. (236 × 185 × 222 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of the William J. Hokin Family, 2014.12. Courtesy of the Estate of Franz West and the Franz West Privatstiftung Archiv
Photo: Florian Kleinefenn
Kris Martin, T.Y.F.F.S.H., 2011. Hot air balloon, basket, metal ring, and fans; overall dimensions variable. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Mary and Earle Ludgin by exchange, 2011.43. © 2011 Kris Martin
Photo: Robert Wedemeyer, courtesy of the artist; MARC FOXX, Los Angeles; and Sies + Höeke, Düsseldorf
A red, white, and blue fabric canopy presses against the walls of a room. Light enters the room through a door at the back on the left side.
Kris Martin, T.Y.F.F.S.H., 2011. Hot air balloon, basket, metal ring, and fans; overall dimensions variable. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Mary and Earle Ludgin by exchange, 2011.43. © 2011 Kris Martin
Photo: Robert Wedemeyer, courtesy of the artist; MARC FOXX, Los Angeles; and Sies + Höeke, Düsseldorf
A red, white, and blue fabric canopy presses against walls of room. Light enters the room through a door at the rear.
Kris Martin, T.Y.F.F.S.H., 2011. Hot air balloon, basket, metal ring, and fans; overall dimensions variable. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Mary and Earle Ludgin by exchange, 2011.43. © 2011 Kris Martin
Photo: Robert Wedemeyer, courtesy of the artist; MARC FOXX, Los Angeles; and Sies + Höeke, Düsseldorf

About

During the 1960s, many sculptors abandoned the use of the pedestal, placing their artworks in the same physical space as their viewers. This democratized approach to the role art plays within a museum, gallery, or home continues to the present day, with contemporary artists self-consciously creating works that interact with audiences. S, M, L, XL highlights four works that reflect this artistic attitude across five decades. Small, medium, large, extra-large—each work is increasingly ambitious in scale, and each offers visitors a slightly different experience of sculpture and space to, as it were, try on for size.

The exhibition’s title alludes not only to a common system of labeling clothes, but also to a 1995 book by architect Rem Koolhaas that explores scale in a variety of guises, from the intimate to the public, the social to the environmental. The first sculpture is the unassuming Portal (1964), by Robert Morris, which presents one of the most basic architectural forms: a post-and-lintel doorway. Visitors can walk through its unusually narrow space, but only the most slender can fit through. A second Morris work, Passageway (1961), similarly invites visitors into a narrow, spiraling hallway that eventually becomes impassable. The third work, Blue by Franz West (2006), also utilizes a spiral form, but it rewards viewers entering its circular space with a seat. Completing the group is an enormous sculpture by Kris Martin that expands to fill whatever space in which it is placed. Made of a decommissioned hot air balloon and a powerful electric fan, T.Y.F.F.S.H. (2011) pushes its organic form against the rectilinear boundaries of the museum.

Taking sculpture off the pedestal, this exhibition offers four ways of relating to the size, scale, and scope of the world around us.

This exhibition is organized by Michael Darling, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

Installation Images

Installation view, S, M, L, XL, MCA Chicago, May 9–Oct 4, 2015. Work shown: Robert Morris, Portal, 1964. Latex on aluminum; 95 ¾ x 48 1/16 × 12 in. (243.2 × 122.1 × 30.5 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Mrs. Robert B. Mayer, 1984.3
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
  1. Long A red, white, and blue hot air balloon sits on its side in a white gallery with a concrete floor. A stationary fan is blows wind into the balloon. The basket has an eagle silhouette on the bottom right corner and the letters "ATIAN" vertically on the bottom left side of the basket. A brown container is in front of the stationary fan.
Installation view, S, M, L, XL, MCA Chicago, May 9–Oct 4, 2015. Work shown: Kris Martin, T.Y.F.F.S.H., 2011. Hot air balloon, basket, metal ring, and fans; overall dimensions variable. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Mary and Earle Ludgin by exchange, 2011.43
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, S, M, L, XL, MCA Chicago, May 9–Oct 4, 2015. Work shown: Kris Martin, T.Y.F.F.S.H., 2011. Hot air balloon, basket, metal ring, and fans; overall dimensions variable. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Mary and Earle Ludgin by exchange, 2011.43
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago, n
Family Day, May 9, 2015. Work pictured: Kris Martin, T.Y.F.F.S.H., 2011. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Mary and Earle Ludgin by exchange, 2011.43. © 2011 Kris Martin
Photo: Joshua Longbrake, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, S, M, L, XL, MCA Chicago, May 9–Oct 4, 2015
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, S, M, L, XL, MCA Chicago, May 9–Oct 4, 2015. Work shown: Robert Morris, Untitled (Passageway), 1961. Painted plywood; overall dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and Castelli Gallery. © 2014 Robert Morris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, S, M, L, XL, MCA Chicago, May 9–Oct 4, 2015. Work shown: Robert Morris, Untitled (Passageway), 1961. Painted plywood; overall dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and Castelli Gallery. © 2014 Robert Morris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, S, M, L, XL, MCA Chicago, May 9–Oct 4, 2015. Work shown: Robert Morris, Portal, 1964. Latex on aluminum; 95 ¾ x 48 1/16 × 12 in. (243.2 × 122.1 × 30.5 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Mrs. Robert B. Mayer, 1984.3
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, S, M, L, XL, MCA Chicago, May 9–Oct 4, 2015. Work shown: Robert Morris, Portal, 1964. Latex on aluminum; 95 ¾ x 48 1/16 × 12 in. (243.2 × 122.1 × 30.5 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Mrs. Robert B. Mayer, 1984.3
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

Funding

Support for S, M, L, XL is generously provided by the Pritzker Traubert Collection Exhibition Fund.