Christopher Knowles, Untitled, 2014, oil marker on canvas, 40 × 40".


“Christopher Knowles: In a Word”

Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania 118 South 36th Street
September 16–December 27, 2015

Curated by Anthony Elms and Hilton Als

Christopher Knowles’s remarkably elastic practice—ranging freely across painting, sculpture, sound, performance, and poetry both spoken and concrete—has for more than four decades produced a jubilant array of lo-fi investigations into systems, especially into the operation and architecture of languages, linguistic and otherwise. A brilliantly eccentric detective, the Brooklyn-based artist has trained himself to find potentially significant patterns in the data stream of everyday life. Evoking Gertrude Stein, Frank O’Hara, and Daniel Johnston, his signature “typings”—which take the form of lists and reimagined pop-song lyrics, as well as bursts of anarchic wordplay—turn the typewriter into an instrument of fine conceptual and formal distinction. This comprehensive exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue featuring essays by the curators and art historian Lauren DiGiulio, as well as an autobiographical text by Knowles. Travels to the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston in 2017.