A Measure of Humanity

Organized by the Columbus Museum of Art (CMA), A Measure of Humanity opens June 22 and is on view through September 16, 2018. Can art help us make sense of the world and our place within it? That is the central question addressed in the exhibition. To measure something is to account or quantify it by way of a standard unit or to examine, scrutinize or judge. Borrowing the visual language of diagrams, maps, and models, the works in this exhibition offer us a range of perspectives on the human condition.

A Measure of Humanity brings together 22 artists whose work, beginning in the 1960s, blurs the boundaries between images, objects and information. Some works examine their own relationship to the space of the museum, while others address the human body, selfhood, and the family. Other works have frames of reference that grow outward to encompass broader social, political and economic concerns or touch upon geological and cosmological scales. A wall sculpture records its distance from the walls, ceiling and floor; a video shows the distance an artist can be from her toddler. A necklace tells a story of the history of the earth; a chandelier renders a glimpse of distant galaxies. 

“Every art work suggests a frame of mind and relationship to the outside world,” said exhibition curator Tyler Cann, CMA’s head of exhibitions and curator of contemporary art. “In an age of Big Data and divisive politics, the task of being human and seeing humanity is really important, and I think art helps. Ultimately, that’s what A Measure of Humanity is about.”

Artists in the exhibition include: Rossella Biscotti, Mel Bochner, Stanley Brouwn, Lenka Clayton, Simon Evans™, Peter Halley, Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmons, Nina Katchadourian, Mark Lombardi, Josiah McElheny, Robert Morris, Katie Paterson, Dan Perjovschi, Lia Perjovschi, Amalia Pica, Howardena Pindell, James Price, Tim Rietenbach, Carissa Rodriguez, Cameron Rowland, and Ward Shelley. Together, they probe the relationships between information and abstraction, language and meaning, the self and the social. They make information visible, but also point toward the things that can’t be measured.

There is another meaning for the word measure. As a noun, it means a quantity or degree of something. Speaking of humanity in the sense of the humane, we invoke empathy as a defining part of who we are as a species. The exhibition title alludes to this meaning and suggests that what the world needs now is a greater measure of humanity.

An illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition and includes essays by Tyler Cann and Orit Halpern, Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University, and author of Beautiful Data: A History of Vision and Reason since 1945 (Duke University Press).


Related Programs
Flavor Map Tastings: Morning Coffee with Brioso
Saturday, June 30, 9:30 am
In conjunction with A Measure of Humanity, expand your sense of taste with Brioso Coffee’s President and Roastmaster Jeff Davis, Barista Lead Robin Myers, and CMA’s Curator of Contemporary Art Tyler Cann. This distinct and delicious coffee tasting will take you through the Specialty Coffee Association’s “Flavor Wheel” diagram with prized beans from around the world. Cost of the program is $40 for nonmembers (includes CMA general admission) and $30 for members. To buy tickets, visit columbusmuseum.org and click on Events & Programs.

Flavor Map Tastings: Wine & Cheese with Quinci Emporium
Thursday, July 26, 6:30 pm
In conjunction with the exhibition A Measure of Humanity, expand your sense of taste with Deborah Quinci and CMA’s Curator of Contemporary Art, Tyler Cann. This unique tasting event will take place at the Quinci Emporium in the Short North, where guests will be led through a tasting exercise using a flavor wheel to explore delicious wines and cheeses. Cost of this program is $50 for nonmembers and $40 for members. To buy tickets, visit columbusmuseum.org and click on Events & Programs.

Art of Cuisine: A Measure of Humanity
Wednesday, September 12, 6:30 pm
Join Curator of Contemporary Art Tyler Cann for a data-driven dinner party inspired by A Measure of Humanity. Guests will be treated to a tasting menu created by Chef Laura Richmond paired with commentary on how art helps us makes sense of the world and our place in it. Following dinner, guests will enjoy a private tour of the exhibition. Cash bar with creative cocktails available. Space is limited, please purchase your tickets early. Tickets are $105 for nonmembers and $95 for CMA members. For details and to buy tickets, please call 614.629.0328 or visit columbusmuseum.org and click on Events & Programs.

About Columbus Museum of Art
Columbus Museum of Art creates great experiences with great art for everyone. The Greater Columbus Arts Council, Nationwide Foundation, Ohio Arts Council, and the William C. and Naoma W. Denison, Frederic W. and Elizabeth E. Heimberger, Paul-Henri Bourguignon and Erika Bourguignon Fund for Visual Art, and Bette Wallach funds of The Columbus Foundation provide ongoing support. CMA, Schokko Café, and the Museum Store are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Thursday from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm. Museum admission is $14 for adults; $8 for seniors and students 6 and older; and free for members, children 5 and younger. Special exhibition fees for A Measure of Humanity are as follows: $20 adults, $14 seniors (60+) and students (18+), $11 students (6-17), free for CMA members and children 5 and under. CMA general admission is free for all on Sundays and $5 on Thursday evenings from 5:00-9:00 pm; entrance to A Measure of Humanity on those days is $6. CMA charges a flat rate of $5 for parking in the Museum’s East Gay lot. CMA members park for free. For additional information, call 614.221.6801.

Image: Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens, each number equals one inhalation and one exhalation (detail), 2016-ongoing. Courtesy of the artists.