Artists are often the best judges of which works by young emerging talents are the most interesting. Their tastes shaped independently of the art market, they are attracted to different aesthetic approaches and positions. With Freeway Balconies, the Deutsche Guggenheim follows the precedent set the exhibition The Vanity of Allegory, curated by the artist Douglas Gordon together with Nancy Spector in 2005.
Acclaimed American artist Collier Schorr, whose multimedia practice explores appropriated identities and performance, has organized a group exhibition that is at once a self-portrait and a riveting display of some of the most vital trends in U.S.-based contemporary art. From her position as visual artist, critic, and teacher, Schorr possesses a uniquely intimate perspective on current art production, which she has translated into this experimental presentation, infused with a collaborative spirit.
The title, Freeway Balconies, affectionately borrowed from '60s poet laureate Allen Ginsberg, refers to the meeting place of spectacle and voyeurism in American culture, combining frenetic energy with still observation. Gathering an idiosyncratic mix of emerging and established artists, juxtaposing their works in complementary to antagonistic relationships, Schorr loads the display with visual and conceptual traps and challenges. Variously engaging early performance art and the cult of Hollywood, contemporary idols and historical ghosts, the group weaves around selections of Schorr's own work that reveal a dominant concern with how identities are constructed and the ways in which this process goes awry. Ranging in mediums from photography to sculpture, installation to video, the exhibition explores the performative impulse so operative in today's innovative forms. At times dark and perverse, and at others, transcendent, the works included in Freeway Balconies play off a pop-infused, contemporary American vernacular.