Unpacking the Box

Exhibition Website

Aug 30 2016 - Feb 19 2017

Walker Art Center

Minneapolis, MN

The inaugural Best Buy Aperture display Unpacking the Box presents artist’s multiples—three-dimensional works produced in more than one copy—that take the form of a box. Beginning with Marcel Duchamp’s Boîte en valise (Box in a Valise), a suitcase housing miniature reproductions of his artworks, this presentation ranges from experimental and playful objects of the 1960s Fluxus movement to more contemporary productions, which in their multiplicity question the notion of the unique work of art.

These containers act as single-artist portfolios or combine the works of several artists, functioning as “portable exhibitions” to be unpacked, ordered, and reordered by the viewer-turned-participant. Once folded, flipped, poked, prodded, or shuffled, the contents are no longer suited for physical manipulation as they have become fragile over time. Unpacking the Box embraces this emerging tension between implied interactivity and the often-cited “do not touch” policy at museums. How do we “unpack” the box we cannot touch? In lieu of engaging our tactile sense, the objects on view prompt us to imagine new modes of participation.

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.

"Everything important that I have done can be put into a little suitcase," Duchamp said in 1952: finally that suitcase is available to all! Whether you go or not, Marcel Duchamp: Boîte-en-valise (or of Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Selavy), reinterprets the legendary book-object, conceptualized by French artist Mathieu Mercier. At once a work in and of itself, and a reproduction in the Duchampian spirit, this miniature museum contains 69 reproductions of Duchamp's most celebrated creations, including the famous "Fountain," "Nude Descending a Staircase" and the "Large Glass." Mercier has reproduced the bulk of the contents of Duchamp's original box in paper form, designing everything to scale. Playful and accessible, the "Boîte" reflects Duchamp's desire to display his works outside the museum and gallery system.

  • International
  • Contemporary
  • Marcel Duchamp
  • and others

Exhibition Venues & Dates