Do You Like Stuff? investigates the exploding mass of information that inundates our current reality. From a paranoid desire to make order out of chaos or a brave embrace of entropy, this exhibition focuses on artists with inventive practices of collecting, cataloging and presenting masses of stuff. Inspired by the work of a generation of great indexers and amassers such as Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Dieter Roth or the Bechers, who were able to create concise archives of the visible and experiential world, the younger artists presented in Do You Like Stuff? deal with an ever-growing “whole” that has reached gloriously monstrous heights with the current chaotic ordering of digital information.
The work in Do You Like Stuff? speaks to a moment in our culture where information is propagating without an efficient mechanism for maintaining order. Artists face this pandemonium in different ways: some dive straight into it, like Barb Choit or Graham Parker, who deal directly with the supposed waste of the internet, treating spam and eBay JPGs with the care and attention of archivists. Daniel Lefcourt tests the limits of meaning and representation through the strategy of collecting and displaying of a lexical series of images. Mark Orange contributes to and updates a musical discussion between Erik Satie and John Cage about the density of time and repetition with his Digital Vexations. Mike Bouchet creates a compendium of texts from hundreds of Hollywood screenplays that endlessly scroll on screen: a veritable “film festival for readers.” David Adamo and Beth Howe recognize the value of delving into every nook and cranny of our too-dense reality: Adamo acts as an arcane stalker-investigator, and Howe turns the situationist model of the dérive inside out as she reports on her intellectual starts and stops through the library. Frank Olive, both on his own and with collaborator Rudy Shepherd, collects, catalogues and presents everyday ideas and objects, attempting to provide his viewers with an experience of order and comfort, opposing the tendency towards disorder.