press release

A Measure of Humanity
22.06.2018 - 16.09.2018

Can art help us make sense of the world and our place within it? That is the central question of the Columbus Museum of Art's exhibition A Measure of Humanity. To measure something is to account or quantify it by way of a standard unit. It also means to examine, scrutinize, or judge. Borrowing the visual language of diagrams, maps and models, to varying degrees, the works in this exhibition reflect these two definitions of measurement, offering a range of perspectives on the human condition.

A Measure of Humanity brings together 22 artists whose work, beginning in the 1960s, blures the boundaries between images, objects, and information. Some works examine their own relationship to the space of the museum, while others address the human body, selfhood, and the family. Other works have frames of reference that grow outward to encompass broader social, political, and economic concerns. They even touch upon geological and cosmological scales. A wall sculpture records its distance from the walls, ceiling, and floor, and a video shows the distance an artist can be from her toddler. A necklace tells the history of the earth, and a chandelier renders a glimpse of distant galaxies.

“Every art work suggests a frame of mind and relationship to the outside world,” says exhibition curator Tyler Cann, CMA’s head of exhibitions and curator of contemporary art, “In an age of Big Data and divisive politics, the task of being human and seeing humanity is really important, and we think art helps. Ultimately, that’s what A Measure of Humanity is about.”

Artists in the exhibition include: Rossella Biscotti, Mel Bochner, Stanley Brouwn, Lenka Clayton, Simon Evans™, Peter Halley, Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens, Nina Katchadourian, Mark Lombardi, Josiah McElheny, Robert Morris, Katie Paterson, Dan Perjovschi, Lia Perjovschi, Amalia Pica, Howardena Pindell, James Price, Tim Rietenbach, Carissa Rodriguez, Cameron Rowland, and Ward Shelley. Together, they probe the relationships between information and abstraction, language and meaning, the self and the social. They make information visible, but also point toward the things that can’t be measured.

There is yet another meaning of the word measure. As a noun, it means a quantity or degree of something. Speaking of humanity in the sense of the humane, we invoke empathy as a defining part of who we are as a species. The exhibition title alludes to this meaning, and suggests that what the world needs now is a greater measure of humanity.