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It is what it is. Or is it?

On View: May 12, 2012 - July 29, 2012
February 22, 2018 @ 6:00PM – 7:00PM
Brown Foundation Gallery
It is what it is. Or is it? @ Brown Foundation Gallery

Marcel Duchamp’s readymades are an unmistakably radical gesture in the history of modern art. First produced in 1913, the readymades were, for the artist, “a form of denying the possibility of defining art.” Today, the readymade—as both an object and as an idea—has been so integrated into artistic strategy and discourse that the idea is a readymade itself. It is what it is. Or is it? attempts to recuperate a sense of the radicality of Duchamp’s gesture and to update dialogues around the notion of the readymade, thinking of them less as static objects than as active processes of articulating thought.  Artists today use the simple materiality and economy of means conveyed by the form to address a diversity of social, political, aesthetic, and temporal issues. It is what it is. Or is it? is organized by Dean Daderko, Curator at CAMH, and marks his curatorial debut at the Museum.

Participating artists include Ellen Altfest, Fayçal Baghriche, Bill Bollinger, Chto delat/What is to be done?, William Cordova, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Latifa Echakhch, Daphne Fitzpatrick, Claire Fontaine, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Rachel Hecker, Jamie Isenstein, Luis Jacob, Patrick Killoran, Jiri Kovanda, Klara Lidén, Catherine Murphy, and Pratchaya Phinthong.


It Is What It Is. Or Is It? is made possible by generous support from the Union Pacific Foundation.

This exhibition has been made possible by the patrons, benefactors and donors to the Museum’s Major Exhibition Fund: Major Patron – Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Fayez Sarofim, and Michael Zilkha. Patrons – Mr. and Mrs. I. H. Kempner III and Ms. Louisa Stude Sarofim. Benefactors – Baker Botts L.L.P. / Anne and David Kirkland, George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation, Jackson Hicks / Jackson and Company, Louise D. Jamail, Marley Lott, Beverly and Howard Robinson, Andrew Schirrmeister III, Leigh and Reggie Smith, Susan Vaughan Foundation, Inc., and Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Wilson. Donors – A Fare Extraordinaire, Anonymous, Bank of Texas, Bergner and Johnson Design, The Brown Foundation, Inc., Jereann Chaney, Susie and Sanford Criner, Elizabeth Howard Crowell, Dillon Kyle Architecture, Sara Dodd-Spickelmier and Keith Spickelmier, Ruth Dreessen and Thomas Van Laan, Marita and J.B. Fairbanks, Jo and Jim Furr, Barbara and Michael Gamson, Brenda and William Goldberg, King & Spalding L.L.P., KPMG, LLP, Judy and Scott Nyquist, Belinda Phelps and Randy Howard, Lauren Rottet, David I. Saperstein, Scurlock Foundation, and Karen and Harry Susman.

Education Support

The Museum receives support for its education programs from: Anonymous, Baker Hughes Foundation, Louise D. Jamail. Mr. and Mrs. I.H. Kempner III, Kinder Morgan Foundation, Robert and Pearl Wallis Knox Foundation, Leticia Loya, Elisabeth McCabe, Andrew R. McFarland, M.D. Anderson Foundation, Marian and Speros Martel Foundation Endowment, Mark and Mary Ann Miller, Ms. Louisa Stude Sarofim, and Martha Claire Tompkins.

Teen Council is supported by Ms. Louisa Stude Sarofim with additional support from Baker Hughes Foundation.

General Support

Funding for the Museum’s operations through the Fund for the Future is made possible by generous grants from Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Anonymous, Jo and Jim Furr, Barbara and Michael Gamson, Brenda and William Goldberg, Mr. and Mrs. I.H. Kempner III, Leticia Loya and Fayez Sarofim.

The Museum’s operations and programs are made possible through the generosity of the Museum’s trustees, patrons, members and donors. The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston receives partial operating support from the Houston Endowment, the City of Houston through the Houston Museum District Association, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and The Wortham Foundation, Inc. CAMH also thanks its artist benefactors for their support including Anonymous, Leonardo Drew, Tim Gardner, Oliver Herring, Jim Hodges, Michael Joo, Kurt Kauper, Jon Kessler, Terence Koh, Marilyn Minter, Ernest Neto and Roxy Paine.

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