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Dittmar Exhibit, Workshop Explore Productivity in Doing Nothing

October 14, 2008 | by Judy Moore
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University's Dittmar Memorial Gallery is showcasing a selection of installation pieces and collages by conceptual artist Sarah Ross that explore the aesthetics of intimacy, distance and public inaction.

The Fall 2008 exhibition "InAction: Preparing for a Crash" is open to the public through Nov. 3. The public also is invited to attend an Artist Workshop that Ross will present from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, at the gallery, which is located on the first floor of Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, on the Evanston campus. The exhibition and the workshop are free.

"'InAction' is a suite of contestational furniture units designed to facilitate public inaction," said Ross. "The project uses the idea of inaction as articulated in 'The Right to be Lazy,' written in the late 1880s by Paul Lafarge, Karl Marx's son-in-law. Lafarge identified laziness as an antidote to excessive capitalist production."

During the Oct. 18 Artist Workshop participants will meet at the Dittmar Gallery and explore its surrounding areas. They will have an opportunity to practice "inaction" by using the "InAction Units" featured in the exhibition, including a packaged pillow, roll-out blanket and informative guide.

The Ross exhibition includes a series of collages titled "Architecture for a Comfort Class," a project featuring an implausible architectonic future of plush surfaces, luxury design materials and spaceship-like forms. These imagined structural spaces are constructed from the signifiers of relaxation, simplicity and accumulation proposed in design magazines.

Ross, who resides in Urbana, Ill., is the recipient of grants from the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council. For more information on Ross and her other projects, visit http://www.insecurespaces.net.

The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. For more information, call the gallery at (847) 491-2348 or Norris University Center at (847) 491-2300, e-mail dittmargallery@northwestern.edu or go to the Dittmar Web site at http://www.dittmar.northwestern.edu.
Topics: Campus Life