An oval pool table with three billiard balls sitting in a line on the surface

Gabriel Orozco, Oval Billiard Table with Pendulum, 1996. Wood, slate, felt, steel wire, and billiard balls, artist's proof aside from an edition of 3; 35 x 121 3/4 x 90 in. (88.9 x 309.2 x 228.6 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Joseph and Jory Shapiro Fund by exchange, 2003.17

Photo © MCA Chicago

Installation view, Stalemate, MCA Chicago, Jul 24, 2004–Jan 2, 2005

Photo © MCA Chicago


Stalemate features work that depicts ambiguity and existential crisis, touching on language, play, sexuality, death, and transcendence as evoked by the show’s centerpiece—Bruce Nauman’s 1985 work *Chambres d’Amis (Krefeld Piece). Nauman’s three-partChambrescrystallizes this notion of deadlock, featuring elements in sound, video, and neon. The exhibition also presents a major new acquisition to the MCA Collection by Gabriel Orozco titledOval Billiard Table with Pendulum* (1996), in which the viewer is invited to participate in an engaging yet ultimately endless game. Works by Bas Jan Ader, Marcel Broodthaers, Jim Lambie, and Karen Reimer allude to the quizzical and confusing state of contemporary life, while pieces by Matthew Barney, Hans Bellmer, Slater Bradley, Sophie Calle, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Arturo Herrera, Catherine Opie, Sigmar Polke, Cindy Sherman, Dorothea Tanning, and Chris Vasell create visual dialogues between sex and death. Another group of works—by Wallace Berman, Anna Gaskell, Andres Serrano, David Hammons, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Bob Thompson—allude to our desire for transcendence, evoking humankind’s perpetually fraught attempts to come to terms with spirituality and the possibility of a world beyond.

This exhibition is curated by Pamela Alper Associate Curator Dominic Molon.