Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art presents contemporary art works under the fictional rubric of a museum collection conceived by and designed for extraterrestrials.

This ambitious, playful and irreverent exhibition features over 100 artists and around 180 works, primarily sculptures along with mixed media, video, photography and works on paper. Artists range from emerging to internationally recognised figures, including Jennifer Allora & Guilermo Calzadilla, Joseph Beuys, Cai Guo-Qiang, Maurizio Cattelan, Jimmie Durham, Barbara Hepworth, Thomas Hirschhorn, Damien Hirst, Brian Jungen, Yves Klein, Sherrie Levine, Goshka Macuga, Bruce Nauman, Mike Nelson, Cornelia Parker, Daniel Spoerri, Haim Steinbach, Francis Upritchard, Jeffrey Vallance, Andy Warhol and Rebecca Warren.

This exhibition is partly inspired by the first chapter of Thierry de Duve’s Kant after Duchamp, in which an imaginary anthropologist from outer space sets out to inventory ‘all that is called art by humans’. Adopting a pseudo-anthropological approach, the Museum employs eccentric taxonomies and surprising juxtapositions. The fictitious Martian perspective opens up contemporary art to fresh interpretations and allows for its reassessment from an alien standpoint, thus mimicking the way that Western anthropologists historically interpreted non-Western cultures through foreign eyes. Looking at contemporary art as though from outer space offers the potential to make the familiar strange and to turn the dominant Euro-American art tradition into the ‘other’. It also raises pertinent questions about the use and value of contemporary art in human culture.

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