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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Matthew Metzger

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Renaissance Society / Chicago / Art

The artist Matthew Metzger received his MFA at the University of Chicago and is now an associate professor of art at the University of Illinois. He is as much an intellectual as an artist, and he comes at his art from the strange angles produced by elevated analysis. For instance, discussing his painting The Condition (2015)—an image of a machete horizontally bisecting a blue background, blade edge facing the viewer—Metzger explains that he’d been reading an essay about where a work of art originates. “It sparked these ideas about how one thinks about the body and its relationship to expression, and perhaps the location on the body where expression originated. If Morris Louis’s work comes from the wrist, then perhaps Jackson Pollock’s comes from the shoulder. . . . The machete is the one blade that is deeply rooted in the shoulder.” In “Heirloom,” a selection of Metzger’s works are presented as an installation. The question at hand is “What do we do with the systems we inherit that fail repeatedly?” —L.J.

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