Acting Out: Works from the Marieluise Hessel Collection takes its prompt from Leigh Ledare’s The Task, a single-channel film of a three-day Group Relations Conference—a social psychology method developed by London’s Tavistock Institute—that the artist organized in Chicago in 2017. In addition to directing the film crew, Ledare assembled the 28 participants and secured the collaboration of 10 psychologists trained in the method. During a sequence of small and large group meetings, the group studies its own self-made social structure—an abstract “task” that allows participants to examine the identities, roles, desires, and the biases individuals import into the group, as well as conscious and unconscious group dynamics.
Building upon this gripping portrait of current social dynamics and discontents, the exhibition includes works by artists in the Marieluise Hessel Collection at CCS Bard including Larry Clark, Lyle Ashton Harris, Nan Goldin, Boris Mikhailov, Lorraine O’Grady, Cindy Sherman, and Jo Spence; historical works that reverberate with themes raised by Ledare’s film and its participants. The exhibition also includes a selection of journals, diaries, and planners that the artist Lyle Ashton Harris kept from the mid-1980s until the early 2000s, displayed publicly for the first time.
Acting Out: Works from the Marieluise Hessel Collection is co-curated by Tom Eccles, Executive Director of CCS Bard, and Leigh Ledare, with assistant curator Rachel Vera Steinberg.