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 Past Exhibition

In Loving Memory of You, Too


February 20–May 16, 2009

Kemper at the Crossroads

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Almost a decade into the 21st century, the world seems poised at a critical juncture. Newspaper headlines worldwide decry today’s economic and sociopolitical debacles, where corporate bailouts, home foreclosures, rampant unemployment, and lackluster financial markets summarize the disconcerting economic state of our global village.
The backlash of our failed systems and inability to attain the ideals of society lead toward a repressive world consumed by despair and hopelessness. This exhibition, organized from the Kemper Museum’s permanent collection, includes works that evoke various states of dystopia—a place or state of mind that is grim, oppressive, and joyless—in short, the antithesis of utopia. Several works share a critical undercurrent of irresponsible, unjust rulers and the ambiguous power structures that erode basic freedoms and silence independent thought. Through the lens of this exhibition, dystopian events caused by ignorance and intolerance are revealed in social and cultural wars and the unconscionable devastation of the natural world. In the end, the ultimate dystopia is the bleak realization of humanity’s demise.

Visit Kemper Museum to experience this exhibition’s counterpart, In Loving Memory of You (on view March 6–April 26) which addresses idyllic themes of utopia.

Listen to Interview with Archie Scott Gobber

Above: Bruce Nauman, Double Poke in the Eye II, 1985; neon and steel, 24 x 36 x 11 inches; Collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection, Gift of R. C. Kemper Charitable Trust 1995.54