USC Roski School of Art and Design and the MA in Art and Curatorial Practices in the Public Sphere program present In Search of an Exit (or Eight Characters in a Parlor), a group exhibition of time-based artworks about the human condition at the Heritage Square Museum. The works in the exhibition present situations where individuals or groups of people find themselves in a space and have to negotiate their existence within pre-established and external conditions. Inspired by Jean Paul Sartre’s 1944 play No Exit, the exhibition considers themes of time, existence, freedom, and collectivity through time-based work. The structure of a given environment is a pervasive yet ever-evolving stimulus of human behavior capable of catalyzing a spectrum of reactions, from cultural resistance to immersion. The works in this exhibition, including a selection of video installations, sound works, and performances, address the adaptability of the human condition in response to external circumstances.
The exhibition will take place at the Heritage Square Museum—a living history museum featuring 19th-century buildings from Southern California—a choice of location that highlights the human impulse to preserve artifacts. As the characters in No Exit questioned the peculiarity of their surroundings (a Second Empire-style parlor room), the 21st-century artworks stimulate a similar assessment of the three Victorian-era houses into which they are placed. The unique setting additionally highlights the prevalence of the built environment and the effects of architecture as preoccupations for many of the artists in the exhibition.
The participating artists of In Search of an Exit (or Eight Characters in a Parlor) are Basma Alsharif (b.1983, Kuwait), Jordi Colomer (b.1962, Barcelona), Patricia Esquivias (b.1979, Caracas), Emiliano Rocha Minter (b.1990, Mexico City), Miller Robinson (b.1992, Lodi, California), Barbara T. Smith (b.1931, Pasadena), Sergio de la Torre (b.1967, San Diego), and Clarissa Tossin (b.1973, Porto Alegre).
Please note: Heritage Square Museum is a historic community and most structures are only accessible by stairs.
MA Art and Curatorial Practices in the Public Sphere
Roski School of Art and Design
University of Southern California
In Search of an Exit (or Eight Characters in a Parlor) is the practicum exhibition for the 2015 candidates in the MA Art and Curatorial Practices in the Public Sphere program, an intensive Master’s-level program in the practice and history of curating studied through the lens of critical theory and the history of art. With a focus on the research and exhibition of contemporary art, as well as attending to art historical curating and broader conceptions of curating such as performance art programming, instructors with international careers lead students in asking social questions about the exhibition of art (broadly construed) in relation to its publics. Over two years of full-time academic study, students explore modes of curatorial practice in a curriculum combining seminars and professional training. Courses are lead by USC Roski’s internationally acclaimed faculty which includes renowned artists, scholars, critics and curators. For questions about the program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.