The Medium Is the Message: Art since 1950
February 23, 2019–February 28, 2021
Not currently on view. Reopens August 25, 2021.
It is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action.
—Marshall McLuhan, “The Medium Is the Message”
Using works created since 1950, this exhibition explores the relationship between subject, content, and the materials that informed each object’s production.
The exhibition is divided into three broad categories that explore the notion of “medium” in its various contexts: a means of communication, the materials from which an art object is created, and a mediating apparatus between objects and subjects.
“In the Abstract,” explores how paint, metal, and fabric can be used as means of abstract communication. “The Sum of Its Parts” explores how artists have used nontraditional art materials for critical and expressive inquiry. Lastly, “The Faces We Present” reconsiders the limits of figural representation, investigating how portraiture can serve as a mediating apparatus between the past and the present.
Viewed collectively, these works suggest that an exploration of medium is one way of challenging dominant discourses around art, culture, and history.
Read the Stanford Arts story about the exhibition.
Map and Directions
The Cantor Arts Center is located at the intersection of Museum Way and Lomita Drive in the heart of the arts district on the Stanford campus. The Cantor faces the Bing Concert Hall across Palm Drive, northwest of The Oval and the Main Quad.