MIA questions what’s real


Seung-woo Back

RW001-001, 2004, from the series Real World I, 2004

Digital print

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Courtesy Gana Art Gallery, Seoul

What is "reality?"

I mean, if a person spends hours of their time role playing on Second Life, isn't their experience still part of their reality?

And hasn't American political debate proven time and time again that there are people out there who have a completely different understanding of reality from your own?

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, under the direction of contemporary art curator Elizabeth Armstrong, is taking a look at how we perceive reality in the modern age.

The exhibition is still a ways out in the future - it will open at SITE Santa Fe in July 2012, then travel to the MIA in February 2013. But I know from past conversations with Armstrong that this idea has been on her mind for quite some time, and she's extremely excited to be putting the show together.

It's titled "More Real? Art in the Age of Truthiness," a reference to a term coined by humorist Stephen Colbert, but which has since made its way into our English lexicon. The American Dialect Society defines truthiness as "the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true,"

Armstrong says "the exhibition proposes that we now live in an 'Age of Truthiness,' a period in which the slippage between fact and fiction has become increasingly blurred. Today artists in all parts of the world are exploring the pervasiveness of "truthiness" in art, politics, and the culture at large."

One of the featured artists in the exhibition will be Ai Weiwei, whose own understanding of reality appears to be at conflict with that of the Chinese government.