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The Sorcerer's Burden

Contemporary Art and the Anthropological Turn

September 14, 2019February 2, 2020

The Contemporary Austin

This image illustrates a link to the exhibition titled The Sorcerer’s Burden: Contemporary Art and the Anthropological Turn


Press Release

The complex relationship between contemporary art and anthropology shapes the subject of The Sorcerer’s Burden: Contemporary Art and the Anthropological Turn, an eleven-artist exhibition across both museum sites. As fields of study, art and anthropology have many similarities, such as a curiosity about culture, an impulse to collect, and a reflection of the human condition. This group exhibition steers away from scientific observations about cultures and the work of artists already well associated with this terrain, however, instead offering a fresh perspective through artwork that is experimental, exploratory, and reflective of the present day. Representing a wide range of media including painting, sculpture, photography, video, and performance, the artworks in The Sorcerer’s Burden share a commonality not only in their allusions to elements of anthropology, but in their exploration of the interplay between fact and fiction, ultimately questioning whether any field, media, or genre might propose to convey “truth.”

This exhibition is organized by Heather Pesanti, Chief Curator & Director of Curatorial Affairs, The Contemporary Austin.

The Sorcerer’s Burden: Contemporary Art and the Anthropological Turn is funded in part by a grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from artnet, City of Austin Economic Development Department, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Horizon Bank, Linda L. Brown, MaddocksBrown Foundation, Texas Monthly, and The Contemporary Austin’s Exhibition Fund Supporters.