Swept Away: Dust, Ashes, and Dirt in Contemporary Art and Design

February 7 - August 5, 2012



exhibition media

MAD has explored the intersection of traditional or unusual materials and techniques as viewed through the lens of contemporary art and design in a series of exhibitions that include Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting; Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary; Slash: Paper Under the Knife; Dead or Alive: Nature Becomes Art; and Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities.

The next investigation into unusual mediums features an international group of artists whose major materials are dust, ashes, dirt, and sand. Swept Away: Dust, Ashes, and Dirt in Contemporary Art and Design will highlight works that deal with issues such as the ephemeral nature of art and life, the quality and content of memory, issues of loss and disintegration, and the detritus of human existence. Sculptures made from ash by Chinese artist Zhang Huan, life-size sculptures of unfired dirt by American artist James Croak, and works created from city smog by American artist Kim Abeles, among others, illustrate the transformative potential of humble, overlooked, and discarded materials.

Swept Away Projects
March 6, 2012 - May 14, 2012

An extension of the Swept Away exhibition, Swept Away Projects will include a series of "live" installations occurring during the run of the exhibition that will allow audiences to experience and interact with artists and their site-specific installations made of ash, dust, sand, and dirt. The series includes the floor installation of Catherine Bertola of the U.K., who works with dust, among several others. In some instances, visitor will actually get to sweep away the installations by walking through and touching them, participating in the ephemeral nature of these artists' output.

Swept Away: Dust, Ashes, and Dirt in Contemporary Art and Design is made possible by the Inner Circle, a leadership Museum support group, and with public funds from the Netherlands Cultural Services.

Kingdom of the Netherlands

read the full exhibition description