Hans-Ulrich Obrist — Do it: The Compendium
Curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, "Do It" began in Paris in 1993 as a conversation between the artists Christian Boltanski and Bertrand Lavier and Obrist himself, who was experimenting with how exhibition formats could be rendered more flexible and open-ended. The discussion led to the question of whether a show could take "scores" or written instructions by artists as a point of departure, which could be interpreted anew each time they were enacted. To test the idea, Obrist invited 13 artists to send instructions, which were then translated into nine different languages and circulated internationally as a book. Within two years, "Do It" exhibitions were being created all over the world by realizing the artists' instructions. With every version of the exhibition new instructions were added, so that today more than 300 artists have contributed to the project. Constantly evolving and morphing into different versions of itself, "Do It" has grown to encompass "Do It (Museum)," "Do It (Home)," "Do It (TV)," "Do It (Seminar)" as well as some "Anti-Do Its," a "Philosophy Do It" and, most recently, a "UNESCO Children's Do It." Nearly 20 years after the initial conversation took place, "Do It" has been featured in at least 50 different locations worldwide. To mark the twentieth anniversary of this landmark project, this new publication presents the history of this ambitious enterprise and gives new impetus to its future. It includes an archive of artists' instructions, essays contextualizing "Do It," documentation from the history of the exhibition and instructions by 200 artists from all over the world selected by Obrist, among them Carl Andre, Jimmie Durham, Dan Graham, Yoko Ono, Christian Marclay and Rosemarie Trockel, including 60 new instructions from Matias Faldbakken, Theaster Gates, Sarah Lucas, David Lynch, Rivane Neuenschwander and Ai Weiwei, among many others.
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