Art That Understands What It’s Like to Work

The second floor of Buffalo’s Albright-Knox Art Gallery currently greets patrons with an empty conveyor belt moving through, and back around, a giant mirror.

“Contemporary capitalism trades in nonexistence,” Agnieszka Kurant, the artist behind the piece, told ArtForum in 2013. “Seventy percent of money in this world is phantom—it exists virtually, on computers—but still produces physical consequences.” Much the same tone is at play in Kurant’s contribution to Overtime: The Art of Work, a new collection of artwork that examines the struggles of laborers across nations and eras.

From paintings of child workers in 18th century England to 3-D printed limbs of contract workers in 21st century America, the show is relentlessly engaging.

Curated by Cathleen Chaffee, Overtime includes work from a wide range of familiar names. There’s the collage by the artist Robert Rauschenberg, commissioned by the AFL-CIO; there’s the pre-abstract expressionism Jackson Pollock painting depicting 1930s cotton pickers

Article source: http://www.citylab.com/work/2015/04/art-that-understands-what-its-like-to-work/390597/

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