*Untitled (Mylar)* by Tara Donovan, featured in her mid-career retrospective at MCA Denver.
Photo: Mick Vincenz/Courtesy of the artist and Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck

Tara Donovan’s New Show Explores Her Radical Work with Everyday Objects

The show demonstrates how the artist has made radical use of everyday objects like plastic straws and rubber bands

The first museum exhibition of Tara Donovan’s work in nearly a decade will open this week at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. “Tara Donovan: Fieldwork,” a retrospective of Donovan’s work over the past 20 years, illustrates how radically the artist engages with everyday materials like plastic straws, index cards, and rubber bands.

The exhibition, which will occupy MCA Denver’s entire 27,000-square-foot building, brings together Donovan’s two- and three-dimensional works from the past two decades, making clear how rigorously she experiments with and reworks material, while also engaging with space and light in nuanced and unexpected ways. A mix of older and more recent works will open up new areas of dialogue within her practice, enabling viewers to make connections across time and subject matter.

Towers of index card make up this untitled work by Donovan. Photo: Ron Blunt/Courtesy of the artist and Smithsonian American Art Museum

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“Tara Donovan is like a magician, there is no other way to describe it,” Adam Lerner, the director at MCA Denver, said in a statement. “She takes straws, cups, and paper plates beyond a boundary that no one else can even see. It is like the portal to a new dimension.”

A major catalogue featuring critical essays by the exhibition’s curator, Nora Burnett Abrams, as well as Giuliana Bruno and Jenni Sorkin will accompany the retrospective, addressing issues of labor, scale, formalism, and other key questions raised by Donovan’s work.

Donovan’s Drawing (Pins) is one of the two-dimensional works in the exhibit. Photo: Kerry Ryan McFate/Courtesy of the artist and Pace Gallery.

“The impact of Donovan’s work is implicitly tied to the fact that her materials are plucked from the everyday world,” said Burnett Abrams, “and therefore are embedded with meaning from within our own everyday experience.”

“Tara Donovan: Fieldwork” is on view from September 22 to January 27, 2019, at MCA Denver, 1485 Delgany Street, Denver.


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