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Montana Museum of Art & Culture

I Saw It, 1997, John Baldessari

John Baldessari, I Saw It, edition 92/100, 1997, lithograph. Courtesy of John Baldessari.

Future Exhibitions


Present Tense: Prints from the Jordan D. Schnitzer Collection

September 29, 2016 - January 14, 2017

Meloy and Paxson Galleries

This exhibition explores the advent of idiosyncratic language in the visual arts in post-war America and the role of text in contemporary printmaking. In the aftermath of Abstract Expressionism, artists like Jasper Johns, Bruce Nauman, and Andy Warhol began using language, amplifying or denying its interpretive, explicatory and narrative function. Questioning its ability to describe reality, artists went on to expose roles of text and speech in reinforcing racial and gender norms, as in works by Jenny Holzer, Glenn Ligon, and Lorna Simpson. Freed from its descriptive role and forced to carry multiple, even contradictory meanings, language is negated and expanded, and becomes physical and elastic. By upending traditional beliefs that language is uniquely capable of describing reality, artworks in this exhibition reveal language’s socially constructed nature. Increasingly conceptual in scope, work by contemporary artists such as John Baldessari, Mel Bochner, Robert Gober, Barbara Kruger and others explores contemporary literary and philosophical notions of meaning creation.  

Summer Gallery Hours:

Wed, Thurs, Sat: 12-3PM
Fri :12-6PM

Closed Sun, Mon, and Federal

Academic Year Gallery Hours:

Tues, Wed, Sat: 12-3pm
Thurs and Fri: 12-6pm

Closed Sun, Mon, and University