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Photo by Leisa Thompson

Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s

October 17, 2015 - January 31, 2016
A. Alfred Taubman Gallery I

Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s, the first major museum survey to examine the art of this pivotal decade in its historical context, showcases over 64 works by 46 artists born or practicing in the United States. The exhibition, whose title references the 1992 Nirvana song (considered by many an anthem for the decade), focuses on three principal themes—debates over “identity politics,” the digital revolution, and globalization—and explores a range of geopolitical milestones and social issues through the perspective of artists working at that time.

The exhibition also illustrates the diverse ways in which the developments of the 1990s redefined contemporary approaches to artistic practice and, in the words of exhibition curator Alexandra Schwartz, “writes a history of the ’90s through the lens of the visual arts.”

Come as You Are looks at the dramatic changes in the art world itself, including the ongoing culture wars; issues of artistic freedom and censorship; the impact of new media and the emergence of video, sound, and digital art; the expansion of the global art market; and the explosion of art fairs and biennials. It also investigates the art world’s increasing heterogeneity as artists of color, women artists, and LGBT artists attained increased prominence. Artists include Doug Aitken, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Glenn Ligon, Julie Mehretu, Prema Murthy, Shirin Neshat, Catherine Opie, Gabriel Orozco, Diana Thater, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Kara Walker in a wide range of works including installations, paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photography, video, and digital art.


Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s is organized by the Montclair Art Museum and curated by Alexandra Schwartz, curator of contemporary art, with Kimberly Siino, curatorial assistant. This exhibition is made possible with generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Lead support for this exhibition is provided by the University of Michigan Office of the Provost and the University of Michigan Health System. Additional support is provided by Samantha and Ross Partrich, Andrea and Joel Brown, the University of Michigan CEW Frances and Sydney Lewis Visiting Leaders Fund, Department of the History of Art, Residential College, and Department of American Culture.