The newest Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) exhibition, “The Talent Show,” is more than just a display of talented artists, it looks at the relationship between performer and audience in an array of pieces from the last 50 years.
The exhibition, which opened Friday and runs until Dec. 10, explores the power of social media, self-broadcasting and surveillance through mediums including photography, film, audio, projections and more.
Pieces date from the past five decades, presenting works from Sophie Calle, Peter Campus and Andy Warhol, along with newer artists such as Phil Collins, Gillian Wearing and Carey Young.
Don Corbin, USF technology administrator for the art and art history department, said he was looking forward to the multimedia pieces.
“(I was excited) to see how they (can) utilize the type of media, the reality aspect and the art and how they perceive it,” he said.
Upon entering CAM, visitors are bombarded with streaming visuals and assorted sounds. Using attached headphones, visitors can observe a compilation of young girls unapologetically singing “Gotta Go My Own Way” from the movie “High School Musical 2” on one wall and men performing Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” on another, in Amie Siegel’s 2009 YouTube-based exhibit.
Adjacent to this is Warhol’s “Robin.” Recorded in 1965, this black and white, wall-size projection presents an average young woman sitting under the scrutiny of a 16-millimeter camera.
Another graphic exhibit was Hannah Wilke’s posthumously acclaimed “The Intra-Venus Tapes,” a raw and uncensored documentary of the artist’s battle with lymphoma. Sixteen mounted monitors produce a cacophony of sights and sounds as it presents hours of various footage taken from 1990 to her death in 1993.
“It makes me realize that reality TV didn’t just happen all of a sudden,” said Megan Hildebrandt, a graduate student studying fine arts. “All of this work is a build up to it through different art forms. So it’s not ‘All of a sudden we’re obsessed with ‘Jersey Shore.'”
In another section of the gallery, there are works ranging from politically charged to seemingly banal, including Chris Burden’s 1977 display of a rotary telephone connected to a fully functional wiretapping system. Another of Burden’s pieces is a display of an empty glass case, aptly titled “Disappearing.” Graciela Carnevale’s photographs of participants escaping a staged entrapment reflect the effects of the oppressive regime in Argentina.
CAM curator Jane Simon said “The Talent Show” has made only a select number of appearances across the nation.
“It went to Walker (Art Center in Minneapolis), and then it went to (Museum of Modern Art) PS1 in New York,” she said. “And then Seattle in the Henry Art Gallery and then here, and those were the only places they invited the show.”
Briana Phelps, a graduate student studying fine arts, said with all of the interactive features and lengthy piece descriptions, she decided to make multiple rounds through the gallery.
“(It’s) definitely a show you want to take your time with and look at,” she said. “I’m going to come back later and take more time and read every one. It’s pretty amazing, the bulk of work.”
During the exhibition’s run, CAM will hold two events. The first is “See and Be Seen – Spotlight Portrait Night” tonight from 6-8 p.m. At the event, visitors can step under a stage light, as established by David Lamelas in his 1967 “Limit of a Projection” piece. Participants will have the opportunity to have their portraits taken by photographer James Reiman and posted on CAM’s official Flickr page.
The second event in this exhibition will be “Gallery Talk on Chris Burden,” held Nov. 3 from 6-8 p.m. That night, Simon will discuss the risk, violence and politics involved in the work of Chris Burden.