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No More Play

November 14, 2018 – February 18, 2019
East Building, Upper Level - Bridge

Theaster Gates, Ground Rules (black line), 2015, wood flooring, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Collectors Committee

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

This installation takes its title from Alberto Giacometti’s surrealist work, a sculpture-as-board-game made in the early 1930s. It is joined by two other objects that each allude to games and suggest hypothetical spaces for action to occur. Yet in all three works, the possibility for play is precluded.

Giacometti’s title indicates an endgame, and his work’s tomb-like containers of would-be participants suggest death on the field of play. The horizontal plane becomes one on which viewers project their fears, fantasies, or desires to create an alternative reality. The low stature and fixed billiard balls of Sherrie Levine’s La Fortune (After Man Ray): AP1 (1990), on loan from Glenstone Museum, bring only disorientation and frustration to any prospective player. Theaster Gates’s Ground Rules (black line) (2015) was created from the gym floor of a decommissioned South Chicago public school. Gates has explained that the broken lines jumping across the boards serve as a metaphor for “the importance of rules learned through play, and the social consequences of their breakdown and loss.” This recent acquisition, a generous gift of the Gallery’s Collectors Committee, is on view in its new home for the first time.

The exhibition is curated by Molly Donovan, curator of art, 1975–present, National Gallery of Art.

Organization: Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington

Passes: Admission is always free and passes are not required

Room for Play
January 6 at 2:00
East Building Auditorium

Alberto Giacometti
No More Play
Theaster Gates
Ground Rules (black line)