• Rachel Harrison, Indigenous Parts V, 1995–2010 (detail), mixed media, dimensions variable.

    Rachel Harrison: Conquest of the Useless

    Bard Center for Curatorial Studies
    Bard College PO Box 5000
    June 27–December 30, 2009

    Whitechapel Gallery
    77 - 82 Whitechapel High Street
    April 30–June 20, 2010

    Brash, dispersed, hyperassociative yet precise, New York–based artist Rachel Harrison’s work exacts virtuosity from cultural excess with wit and elegance to spare; one can see why her first major survey (starting at the Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College, then reconfigured for Portikus, Frankfurt, and the Whitechapel, London) was initially titled “Consider the Lobster,” which comes from an essay by the late David Foster Wallace. Several installations and a selection of sculptures and photographs made since 1995 compose the bulk of the show, which is accompanied by a catalogue with essays by curator Tom Eccles, Jack Bankowsky, Iwona Blazwick, and David Joselit. The second part of the exhibition in the Hessel (and not traveling) took a different tack, with Eccles and Harrison collaborating with six artists—Nayland Blake, Tom Burr, Harry Dodge, Alix Lambert, Allen Ruppersberg, and Andrea Zittel—in curating works from the Marieluise Hessel Collection.