Visual Arts Program

Friday, May 10, 1985 — Saturday, June 8, 1985


Presented at:


An exhibition of work by Group Material: MASS, a traveling exhibition that consists of the work of 250 artists, each measuring one square foot and arranged to spell the word "mass," which will premiere at Hallwalls.

[After its premiere at Hallwalls, MASS toured to: Spaces, Cleveland OH (July 5-26, 1986); Aljira Arts, Newark NJ (Feb 14-March 15, 1986); Project Gallery at The New Museum of Contemporary Art (April 12-June 12, 1986); Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (Aug 1-Aug 31, 1986); Artspace, Sydney Austrailia (Oct 1-18, 1986); Visual Arts Building, Univ. of Texas at Dallas (Nov. 24-Dec.12, 1986) and was later featured in 1990: The Decade Show at The Studio Museum in Harlem, May 18-Aug 19, 1990.]

"The issue of collaboration ... is extremely complex in relation to Group Material for it is not merely a matter of four artists who collaborate with eachother ("Group Material"), but four artists who have collaborated, over the past six years, with literally hundreds of other artists. ... MASS was conceived by Group Material in response to some current buzzwords often used to describe the contemporary art scene–"hot," "expressionist," "heroic," "violent," "adventurous," and "raw." In opposition to these, Group Material proposed a different spelling of contemporary culture– "MASS." To this end, Group Material invited almost two hundred artists to contribute an image [which had to be 12 inches by 12 inches] of their own: a photograph, a record cover, or an advertisement–to offer literally a signifier which would become the signified "MASS," a twelve-by-forty-foot word which also functions as an image, a concept, a representation, and finally a collaboration. ... This is a new opportunity to reconsider "MASS" in all of its contemporary significance: mass, as in the masses; mass, as in scientific denisity; mas, as in mass culture and mass media; mass, as in a religious mass, etc. etc. ..." (excerpt from an exhibition brochure written by William Olander for the MASS show at The New Museum in New York City, 1986, and quoted on page 107 of Show and Tell: A Chronicle of Group Material edited by Julie Ault, Four Corners Press, London UK, 2010)

Some publications related to this event:
May, 1985 - 1985

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from Sep. 22, 2017
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David Schirm
All The Glad Variety

Though distilled into broad symbolic forms or abstract landscapes, David Schirm's work often springs from his own experiences during the Vietnam War and paintings may allude to the scenes of horrific and senseless battles, the strafing of weapons across a landscape, "whose laser-like blazes of fired bullets gave a distinctive hum of un-worldliness to the darkness." Though his depictions of landscape forms even touch upon the pastoral in their depiction and use of color, Schirm's original point o ...