As much as possible given the time and space allotted

    Français Additional images from "As much as possible..." available here.

A project by Rebecca Duclos and David K. Ross

For this collections-based exhibition project at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, the phrase “As much as possible given the time and space allotted” was at once a title and a set of directions, a project description as well as a curatorial directive, a framework for action and a set of rules. The simple premise of the project was that as many works as possible were to be removed sequentially from the gallery’s storage vault over a period of six weeks and installed in the gallery’s exhibition areas in the same order in which they were removed. Once the exhibition space was saturated, the exhibition rested for a week. Following the resting period, the works were sequentially returned to their place in the storage vault, leaving the gallery in its former “clean” state, thus marking the end of the project.

Because the gallery was open to the public for the entire time that works were being installed, As much as possible provided an opportunity for the usually hidden activities of art installation and collection management to become a publicly accessible event. Similar to the experience of watching a building site, the viewing public was encouraged to visit and revisit the exhibition to see the changes made and to be changed by new additions (and subsequent subtractions) of artworks.

In this way, As much as possible gestured not only to a previous history of conceptualism but also to a legacy of performance-based practices that construct a set of “actions” to be enacted as the primary activity of art-making. As collaborators, Duclos and Ross played out a project that co-opted these post-1960 “anti-institutional” postures and adapted them to a distinctly institutional scenario. This 6-week "event" constructed a critique of curating that emphasized the significance of artistic rather than museological models, operations of chance over the decisiveness of selection, the dynamic of duration over stasis, the power of juxtaposition as a form of interpretation, and the privileging of process over pedigree.

This exhibition occurred from March 11 to April 17 of 2009.