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Artifacts at the End of a Decade

Event Details

March 17—April 30, 2021, Tue/Wed/Thu/Fri

University Museum of Contemporary Art

UMass Amherst Campus

Handicap access available
Free admission
Betsey Wolfson

In August of 1979, Steven Watson and Carol Huebner mailed 200 invitations to artists they had never met, asking if they would like to contribute to a project about the previous decade. 

More than fifty people replied, “Yes,” and two years later the project was completed. Artifacts at the End of a Decade is the result — an unbound artists’ book whose “pages” consist of 44 unique pieces of photography, ceramics, fiber, print, clothing, painting, and drawing, contributed by artists including Martha Rosler, Fab 5 Freddy, Laurie Anderson, Sol LeWitt, Michelle Stuart, John Ashbery, Robert Wilson, Lucinda Childs, and Robert Kushner, among many others. 

Co-curated from the UMCA collection by Jessica Scott, 2021 MFA Studio Arts candidate, and Jill Hughes, 2021 MA Art History candidate, Artifacts at the End of a Decade will be exhibited in its entirety for the first time since 1989.

This exhibition prompts the audience to examine the meaning of these works, now that we have seen how history has unfolded through a 40-year span, from the 1970s to today. Artifacts provides space to consider the past from the vantage point of a collaborative work of cultural reflection. What about their time did these artists most want to communicate to future audiences? How did they envision us? On the eve of our own new decade, this prescient and multifaceted artists’ book models a hands-on approach in using a subjective perspective to understand the socio-political moment, asking, “Have we been here before? How did we survive then, and how can we survive now?” 


The University Museum of Contemporary Art (UMCA) is located on the lower of the UMass Amherst Fine Arts Center. Directions to the Fine Arts Center

Event Category

Art Exhibit