Regen Projects is pleased to present How to Live? A–Z West 2000–2020, an exclusive online exhibition surveying the past two decades of Andrea Zittel’s career. The selection of works presented here reflect Zittel’s ongoing aesthetic inquiry into what it means to exist and participate in culture today.
Located on over 70 acres in the high desert of Joshua Tree, California, A-Z West is Zittel's ongoing artwork and homestead, the culmination of a 30-year practice in which spaces, objects, and acts of living all intertwine as a single evolving investigation. “How to live?” and “What gives life meaning?” are some of the core issues in Zittel's life and art practice. Answering these questions has entailed the examination of social norms, values, hierarchies, and categories. There are complex relationships between our needs for freedom, security, autonomy, authority, and control – for instance, sometimes living within a set of constraints actually makes us feel freer than having open-ended options, and sometimes total freedom can actually become quite stressful and resource intensive. The exhibition brings together a selection of Zittel's multi-media works encompassing sculpture, furniture, objects, textiles, uniforms, ceramics, paintings, works on paper, and tilework.
"Ideas seem to gestate best in a void—when that void is filled, it is more difficult to access them. In our consumption-driven society, almost all voids are filled, blocking moments of greater clarity and creativity. Things that block voids are called 'avoids.’ Is it possible that productivity is the antithesis of creativity? If productivity is the attempt to ‘fill’ something, I would say that creativity comes out of the void."
"Instead of moving earth with giant machines, or leaving hulking, unpeopled abstractions amid the dust, she employs this vast landscape to explore and challenge the quotidian functions of our existence. … Her art is really a kind of philosophical quest, one that involves an ongoing and intense examination of what it means to live: What do we really mean when we say we need shelter, community, clothes, tools, light? How elaborate a space — indeed, how much space, down to the millimeter — do we need to survive, to thrive? What structures best facilitate creativity, serenity, unity?"
Earlier this year, Miller Institute for Contemporary Art at Carnegie Mellon University mounted a comprehensive solo exhibition. Curated by Elizabeth Chodos, Andrea Zittel: An Institute of Investigative Living combined newly commissioned and existing works to form a singular demonstration of “the immersive gestalt of Zittel’s all-encompassing practice, where every material aspect of daily life is examined and her ethos for living guides all action.”
Andrea Zittel (b. 1965) received an MFA in Sculpture from Rhode Island School of Design in 1990 and a BFA from San Diego State University. She lives and works in Joshua Tree, CA.
Selected solo exhibitions include Lay of My Land, Magasin III Museum for Contemporary Art, Stockholm (2011); Schaulager, Basel (2008); Small Liberties, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2006); Personal Programs, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (1999); Living Units, Museum fur Gegenwartskunst, Basel (1996); The A-Z Travel Trailer Units, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk (1996); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1995); and Three Living Systems, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (1994). From 2005–2007, Zittel was the subject of Critical Space, a major touring survey exhibition at The Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, which traveled to New Museum, New York, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Vancouver Art Gallery.
Her work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions including Istanbul Biennial (2019); two Whitney Biennials (2004, 1995); Documenta X (1997); Skulptur Projekte Münster (1997); and two Venice Biennales (1995, 1993); among others.
Zittel is the co-founder and director of High Desert Test Sites, a Joshua Tree-based nonprofit arts organization, which she began in 2002. Its next iteration, HDTS 2021: The Guests of Hotel Palenque, will take place in Spring 2021. Learn more about the project here.
A recent essay by Zittel, "Silent Spring," appeared in the May/June issue of Artforum. Read it here.