The Way of the Shovel: Art as Archaeology

Exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, until 09 March 2014.
The exhibition traces an interest in history, archaeology, and archival research that defines some of the most highly regarded art of the last decade. Arranged according to several conceptual underpinnings, the first strand considers archaeology metaphorically, with an emphasis on works that take the form of historical, often archival, research. Most of this is photographic in nature, much of it moving-image based. The second strand considers archaeology more literally, in works that question the relationship between matter (stuff, things) and historical truth. Two subsections of the show take a closer look at the towering figure of Robert Smithson, art’s quintessential searcher, and at psychoanalysis as an archaeology of the mind.