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Fred Wilson in "Structures"

Fred Wilson blurs the line between art and curating by designing a museum exhibition space in Sweden that reorients archeological pieces to create new contextual meanings. “I would like to think that objects have memories, and that we have memories about certain objects,” he says. “A lot of what I do is eliciting memory from an object.”

Mounting tear-shaped black glass drips on a white wall, and later creating prints of black spots, Wilson reflects on how he was ostracized as the only Black child in his elementary school. “A lot of my project is trying to understand the visual world around me,” he says. “That’s the basis for a lot of what I do—it’s really where that pain comes from.”

More information and credits


Created by: Susan Sollins & Susan Dowling. Executive Producer & Curator: Susan Sollins. Series Producer: Eve-Laure Moros Ortega. Associate Producer: Migs Wright. Assistant Curator: Wesley Miller. Production Manager: Alice Bertoni. Production Coordinator: Kelly Shindler. Producer: Catherine Tatge. Editor: Steven Wechsler. Host: Sam Waterston. Director of Photography: Kurt Branstetter, Terry Doe, Bob Elfstrom, Clas Hakeröd, Mead Hunt, Matz Jansson, Rodrigo Menck, James Reid, & Joel Shapiro. Sound: Abrão Cesar, Danny Clayton, Ray Day, Ron Garson, Judy Karp, Matti Karlsson, Mark Mandler, J.T. Takagi, & Merce Williams. Steadicam: John Ford. Gaffer: Lamar Bloodworth. Assistant Camera: Craig Feldman, Brian Hwang, Kipjaz Savoie, & Trent Wittenbach. Production Assistant: Rob Cauble, Erica Gannett, Justin Leitstein, & Mary Jo Mauro. Assistant Avid Editor: Robert Achs, Jamie Courville, Sean Frechette, Mike Heffron, David Kreger, Cara Leroy O’Connell, Joaquin Perez, Aaron Sheddrick, & Lynn True. Still Photographers: Alice Bertoni & Bob Elfstrom.

Creative Consultant: Ed Sherin. Art Design & Animation: Open, New York. On-Line Editor: Don Wyllie & Frame:Runner NYC. Composer: Peter Foley. Voice-Over Artist: Jace Alexander. Sound Editing: Margaret Crimmins, Greg Smith, & Dog Bark Sound. Sound Mix: Tony Volante & Sound Lounge. Animation Stand: Frank Ferrigno & Frame:Runner NYC. Introductory Host Segments Created by: INTERspectacular. Commissioned Video Art by: Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler.

Artworks Courtesy of: Roni Horn; Matthew Ritchie; Richard Tuttle; Fred Wilson; The Drawing Center, New York; Crown Point Press, San Francisco; Matthew Marks Gallery, New York; Metro Pictures, New York; Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York; PaceWildenstein, New York; & Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York.

Special Thanks: Mariana Valdrighi Amaral; The Art21 Board of Trustees; The Art Institute of Chicago; Margrét Blöndal; Charlotte Burns; Jordan Bastien; Jim Caffrey; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Curious Pictures; Victoria Cuthbert; Ali Evans; Andrea Hall; R.S. Hahn; Hauser & Wirth Gallery, London; Garland Hunter; Petra Johansson; Jennifer Joy; Jeannie and Michael Klein; Sarah Kurz; John Landewe; MASS MoCA; The Museum of World Culture, Sweden; Neta Normo; Karen Polack; Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper; Larry Smallwood; XXVI São Paulo Bienal; Soundtrack F/T; The Studio Museum in Harlem; Tai Gallery, Santa Fe; Ttweak; University of Akureyri, Iceland; & Georgia Loy Weinberg.

Director of Education & Outreach: Jessica Hamlin. Director of Development: Kathi Pavlick. Development Associate: Sara Simonson.

Interns: Susan Agliata, Nathan Townes-Anderson, Hannah Blumenthal, Agnes Bolt, Lisa Charde, Mary Chou, Kate Crawford, Amanda Donnan, Sophie Dunoyer de Segonzac, Suzy Foster, Jules Gaffney, Katie Hen, Heather Hughes, Adam Krakowski, Georgia Kung, David Mark Kupperberg, Maiko Kyogoku, Phil Logan, Lisa Margulies, Michelle Maydanchik, Carla Meyers, Christine Miller, Geoffrey Pan, Sujay Pandit, Jihan Robinson, Jennifer Sarkilahti, Megan Scally, Karen Seapker, Greg Shilling, Sarah Sliwa, Jennifer Smith, & Elizabeth Swift.

Public Relations: Kelly & Salerno Communications. Station Relations: De Shields Associates, Inc. Legal Counsel: Albert Gottesman. Bookkeeper: Marea Alverio-Chaveco & William Handy.

Major underwriting for Season 3 of Art in the Twenty-First Century is provided by National Endowment for the Arts, PBS, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Jon and Mary Shirley Foundation, Bagley Wright Fund Bloomberg, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, Melva Bucksbaum and Raymond Learsy, The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Fred Wilson

Appropriating curatorial methods and strategies, Fred Wilson creates new contexts for the display of art and artifacts found in museum collections, along with wall labels, sound, lighting, and non-traditional pairings of objects. His sculptures and installations lead viewers to recognize that changes in context create changes in meaning, and thereby shape interpretations of historical truth and artistic value.

“A lot of my project is trying to understand the visual world around me… What is me, and what is something that the rest of the world has said I am?”

Fred Wilson

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Museums and Collections

Fred Wilson discusses his unusual approach to museum installations, and his experiences working in museums around the world.

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