Oliver Herring: TASK+

Date Thursday, April 15
through Sunday, May 30, 2010
Location Olson Gallery

Event Description

The exhibition in Bethel’s Olson Gallery will include Oliver Herring’s large-scale photographs, videos, performance work, and photo-sculpture. Two of these life-sized photo-sculptures will be on display, one at Bethel and one at MCAD.

Since 1998, Herring has created stop-motion videos and participatory performances with ‘off-the-street’ strangers. Open-ended and impromptu, Herring’s videos have a dreamlike stream-of-consciousness quality; each progresses towards a finale that is unexpected or unpredictable. Embracing chance and chance encounters, his videos and performances liberate participants to explore aspects of their personalities through art in a way that would otherwise probably be impossible.

Also, in a series of large-scale photographs, Herring documents strangers’ faces after hours of spitting colorful food dye, recording a moment of exhaustion and intensity that doubles as a form of abstract painting. Herring’s use of photography takes an extreme turn in his series of photo-sculptures. For these works, Herring painstakingly photographs a model from all possible angles, then cuts and pastes the photographs onto the sculptural form of his subject. Two of these life-sized photo sculptures will be on display, one at Bethel and one at MCAD.

About the Artist

Herring is a German-born, Brooklyn-based artist who has exhibited internationally at venues including The Museum of Modern Art; the New Museum of Contemporary Art; and the Camden Arts Centre, London. In 2002, he began the TASK+ project, seeking further interaction with non-artists. In 2005, Herring was featured in the “Play” episode of Art:21. Herring’s work is represented by Max Protetch, New York.

TASK Twin Cities

Bethel University and Minneapolis College of Art and Design will host a TASK Party with artist Oliver Herring on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 at 7 p.m. We would like to invite the community to take part in this unique opportunity, which is free and open to anyone age fifteen and up.

TASK is an improvisational collaboration between Herring and a group of participants-generally strangers-that provides a complex, messy, open-ended outlet for creativity. Participants both write and randomly select tasks. Then, using simple, accessible materials like tape, cardboard, aluminum foil, markers, and string, each person interprets chosen tasks. As a participant completes a task, he or she writes a new one for the bucket and draws a different one to interpret. Previous tasks have included directives such as: "Start a revolution;" "Recreate the Iwo Jima picture;" "Defy gender roles;" and "Cut out 40 headlines from newspapers and do something with them." In Herring's words, "the continuous, simultaneous conception and interpretation of tasks fills the 'stage' with seemingly chaotic, yet purpose-driven activity: a complex, ever-shifting, socio-sculptural arrangement of bodies and objects."

Herring developed TASK to cater to the needs of other people. While working on his collaborative video projects he realized how few unrestricted and adventurous creative outlets people really have. The entire TASK process is participatory and interactive from the beginning stages. Herring partners with an organizing institution-often a museum, art gallery, or library-to plan and promote TASK for its community. The TASK group, with the artist as a catalyst, produces a community rather than an art object. The temporary communities formed within the space of TASK often become lasting ones.

Show Events

Artist Talk
April 16
6 p.m.
The Underground, Brushaber Commons, 2nd Floor (Bethel Campus)

Opening Reception with the Artist and Live Performance
April 19
5-8 p.m.
Olson Gallery, CLC Building, 2nd Floor (Bethel Campus)

TASK Twin Cities with Oliver Herring and DJ Scott Stulen
April 20
7-10 p.m.
College Center, 2501 Stevens Avenue South, Minneapolis (MCAD Campus)

Additional Sculpture on view at MCAD
April 13 - 26
Gallery 215, 2501 Stevens Avenue South, Minneapolis (MCAD Campus)


Michelle Westmark
Gallery Director and Assistant Professor of Art