The Disagreeable Object

February 3 – April 29, 2017

with Visiting Artist Virginia Overton

The Disagreeable Object; installation views; photo: Johnna Arnold, 2017. © The 500 Capp Street Foundation

The Disagreeable Object, takes its title from Alberto Giacometti’s surrealist sculpture, The Disagreeable Object, 1931. A defying sculptural attempt against artistic categorization, poised between movement and rest, between art and non-art, The Disagreeable Object is a rebellious and humorously unappealing object. Its vulgar shape is embodied in a form that may be disturbingly incomprehensible, but nevertheless sculpturally perfect.

During a lecture given at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1987, David Ireland alluded to his own similar sculptural concerns, comparing his work with that of Giacometti’s sculpture and he asked, “How does one develop a form that evades categorization?” Ireland’s inquiry prompted him to further develop an artistic process that engaged with non-traditional materials and situated work in unusual artistic contexts.

“The exhibition,” as co-curator Diego Villalobos says, “hinges on alternative definitions of “good taste,” situating sculpture in the realm of attitude, beyond its material constraints.” Notes co-curator Bob Linder: “The exhibition uses Giacometti’s surrealist sculpture as a point of conversation between specific David Ireland artworks from The 500 Capp Street Foundation’s collection and features a quintessential Ireland sculpture, on loan from SFMOMA, A Decade Document, Withcomet, Andcomet, Andstool, 1980-1990.” The cabinet engages in a tongue-in-cheek way with Joseph Beuys’ ideas of social sculpture and the dematerialization of the art object. This and other artworks featured in The Disagreeable Object exhibition relate to objects we recognize or desire, but which have been abstracted both psychologically and formally; the works are humorous, strange, and meant to challenge our idea of traditional sculpture.



In conjunction with The Disagreeable Object, the Foundation launches the Visiting Artist Series, beginning with New York-based artist Virginia Overton. She is creating new works to be displayed alongside Ireland’s artworks in the coinciding exhibition.

Virginia Overton’s work comprises installation, sculpture and photography, often beginning intuitively as a direct response to her physical presence in a particular space. Through a trial and error process, she creates sculptures that are performative, sometimes obstructing, bisecting, dividing or joining the architecture of a space with works that are dramatic and minimal in feel.

Similar to David Ireland, Virginia Overton’s practice is infused with an ethos of economy. Often using building materials commonly associated with architecture or construction sites: metal, plexi-glass, fluorescent lighting found or scavenged from resource sites or wood from her family farm in Tennessee, these materials are often transformed from their immediate use and into something new. Bent, folded, cut and/or suspended in space these materials are subject to change. Raw materials arranged into phenomenological configurations, unafraid to show their experience, history or defects. Balancing, leaning or ratcheted down, the bold adjustments of the work are always countered by a feeling of grace.

Virginia Overton was born in Tennessee. Her solo exhibitions include the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2016 and 2017); The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT (2016-7); White Cube, London (2015 and 2016); All Rise, Seattle (2015); Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, NY (2014); Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (2014); Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, Germany (2013-4); Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland (2013); and The Power Station, Dallas (2013). Recent group exhibitions and projects include Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2016); Parcours, Art Basel (2016); 99 Objects, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2015); Pier 54, High Line Art, New York (2014); High Line Art, New York (2012-3); and MoMA PS1 (2010). Overton has been written about in Art in AmericaFlash Art, the New York Times, Vogue, and the Wall Street Journal, among others. Her first monograph (2016) was co-published by JRP/Ringier and Kunsthalle Bern. Overton lives and works in Brooklyn.