Sep 12th 2021

Smashing into my heart

@ Renaissance Society

5811 S Ellis Ave, Chicago, IL 60637

Opening Sunday, September 12th, from 3PM - 6PM

On view through Sunday, November 7th

“Friend” is the loosest of terms we have for how we relate to each other. Michel Foucault calls friendship “a desire, an uneasiness, a desire-in-uneasiness.” Not always democratic or inclusive, friendship starts with negation: we collectively wish everyone else would go away. Friendship can be impolite, and as it unfolds, it can be opaque and asymmetrical, tortuous. It is tensile, capable of bearing heart-wrenching passion, ambivalence, or even the absence of feeling. It is sometimes what’s left when nothing else is possible.

More broadly, friendship is a mode of alliance that exists beyond typical kinship and outside of institutional relations (family, profession). It’s an elective affinity without finality. Being a good friend signals an inclination to form anomalous, unproductive bonds that exceed strategic self-interest. An essentially political relationship—one of allegiance and responsibility—it offers a framework for interrogating how we live and work and exist in the world. It offers a possibility for a new poetics of the Other.

Smashing into my heart looks at friendship as a condition, a model, and a metaphor for art. The artworks presented engage with regimes of care, structures of support, horizontal relationships. They are steeped in affection, desire, longing, jealousy, comfort, love. The tone is sentimental—irony has left the building.

Curated by Myriam Ben Salah.


To celebrate the opening of Smashing into my heart, all are welcome to join us for an outdoor reception from 3-6pm on Sunday, September 12.

Just outside of the Renaissance Society, on the University’s quadrangle, we will have refreshments available. Please check our social media for updates in the event of inclement weather.

No RSVP is required for the gathering, but we encourage you to make an appointment to register to see the exhibition on Tock.

All guests must adhere to the University of Chicago’s indoor and outdoor visitor protocols.

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