How are exhibitions important stewards of social memory, and how might the meaning we find here migrate to an audience of the future? Century Safe (Chicago) is an exhibition of artworks and objects that access contemporaneity through strategies of mapping, tracing and archiving, featuring works by Mara Baker, Stella Brown, Lindsey French, Becky Grajeda, Ben Grosser, Elizabeth Housewright, Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman, Nazafarin Lofti, Miller & Shellabarger, Christian Ortiz, John Preus, Risa Recio, Leonardo Selvaggio, Levi Sherman, Deb Sokolow, John Tennison, Ryan Thompson, Erin Washington, and Julie Weber.
Curated by Adriana Kuri Alamillo, Yana Andriesh, Alice Kiwako Ashiwa, Taykhoom Saifuddin Biviji Paulina Budzioch, Elise Cabral, Jessica Cochran, Ben McElroy Fuqua, Taylor Hughes, Louise Yingduo Liu, Lienne Loy, Jared Packard, Olga Selvashchuk, Zara Monica Wee, Kevin Talmer Whiteneir, and Lauren Rose Wiley – the exhibit theme is inspired by the world’s first intentional, scheduled time capsule, the Century Safe, which debuted at the Philadelphia World’s Exposition exactly 140 years ago. As a collective curatorial provocation that evokes the twin spirits of the archive and engagement with an unknown audience of tomorrow, the artworks and objects collected for Century Safe (Chicago) will be shown alongside a quasi-functional time capsule designed by John Preus.
By placing the afterlife of our exhibition into a speculative, provisional realm we hope to use the curatorial process to engage some of the most interesting ideas in our orbit – of audience, futurity, temporality, preservation and zeitgeist – while at the same time, creating an interesting space for the audience to deeply consider the ideas of the artists with whom we have engaged.