America Starts Here: Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler


Camouflagued History, 1999
Courtesy of Mel Ziegler, Austin, Texas

Please join us for the opening of
America Starts Here: Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler

TODAY, February 9, 5:30-7:30 PM
Artist Talk by Mel Ziegler: Friday, February 10, 6 PM
MIT List Visual Arts Center, Bartos Theatre

Free and Open to the Public

Organized by the MIT List Visual Arts Center and the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, "America Starts Here: Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler" is the first retrospective exhibition of the art-making team's decade-long career, which was cut short by Ericson's death of cancer at the age of 39 in 1995. The exhibition features 20 works made between 1984 and 1994, including: five installations; more than a dozen object-based works; numerous drawings and plans for unrealized works; and documentation of public art projects for which they were known. "America Starts Here: Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler" offers a fresh assessment of the artists' contributions to the re-definition of public art in the early '80s in a way that was re-engaging with diverse communities.

Ericson and Ziegler's work focuses on unnoticed aspects of public life, by transforming ordinary materials-books, lumber, house paint, canning jars, tap water, to name a few-into artworks with social meaning and commentaries. Rather than impose a conspicuous work of art upon a site or situation, the artists devised projects that altered sites subtly, using poetic language and their idiosyncratic wit to illuminate mainstream American contexts and highlight individual community issues.

While their public art projects often focused on cultural institutions--including museums, monuments, and civic buildings--as sites for active engagement, their work incorporated voices of the ordinary people too often unheard in the world of contemporary art.