The Medium Is the Message: Art since 1950

Event has passed (Wed Sep 4, 2019 - Fri Sep 4, 2020)
Museums, Modern Art Museums, Fine Arts Museums


It is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action.
--Marshall McLuhan, "The Medium Is the Message"

Using works created since 1950, this exhibition explores the relationship between subject, content, and the materials that informed each object’s production.

The exhibition is divided into three broad categories that explore the notion of “medium” in its various contexts: a means of communication, the materials from which an art object is created, and a mediating apparatus between objects and subjects.

“In the Abstract,” explores how paint, metal, and fabric can be used as means of abstract communication. “The Sum of Its Parts” explores how artists have used nontraditional art materials for critical and expressive inquiry. Lastly, “The Faces We Present” reconsiders the limits of figural representation, investigating how portraiture can serve as a mediating apparatus between the past and the present.

Viewed collectively, these works suggest that an exploration of medium is one way of challenging dominant discourses around art, culture, and history.


Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University
328 Lomita Drive
South Bay, CA
Event has passed