Astrup Fearnley Museet: Rachel Harrison, “Sitting in a Room”
Location: Oslo, Norway
Dates: 30 September 2022 – 12 February 2023
Curator: Solveig Øvstebø
This fall, Astrup Fearnley Museet will host a major solo exhibition by the American artist Rachel Harrison.
Spanning mediums that include sculpture, drawing, photography, and painting, Sitting in a Room has an emphasis on recent practice.
Harrison’s nimble, layered method of artmaking escapes easy categorization. Abstraction is shot through with vernacular reference to jarring, often comic effect, as formalist concerns are forced to vie with rogue elements from the outside world. Cultural tokens, the history of art, and space itself come in for new scrutiny, leveling hierarchies through a democratizing process of sifting and accumulation. Overrunning distinctions between sculpture and base, Harrison has often made packing crates or stray cardboard boxes the material of her constructions; co-opting the very modes of conveyance used to ship and store the commercial goods that populate her work.
That alertness to art’s surrounding conditions is also evident in Harrison’s room-scaled approach to this exhibition, which takes its name from a 1969 work of sound art, I Am Sitting in a Room by Alvin Lucier. The five galleries allotted have each been conceived by the artist as distinct rooms—Sculpture Court, Town Square, Gym, Living Room, and Cabinet—and works are configured to place the viewer in contexts both intimate and public. Setting in its various guises is explored throughout the exhibition, which Harrison describes as neither a survey nor a retrospective, but rather an intuitive remapping of her latest work’s conceptual coordinates.
Rachel Harrison (b. 1966) graduated from Wesleyan University in 1989 and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. This solo exhibition at the Astrup Fearnley Museet follows a mid-career survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2019-20). Harrison’s work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions and catalogs and is represented in major public collections worldwide.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Astrup Fearnley Museet will publish an extensive catalog with texts by Negar Azimi, Anne Dressen, Lars Bang Larsen, and Solveig Øvstebø. Scheduled for release at the end of the exhibition period, this thoroughly illustrated publication will include both installation views of Sitting in a Room and detailed imagery of Harrison’s work across media. Designed by Joseph Logan.