Carey Young: Speech Acts

May 8, 2009 - Aug 2, 2009

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Carey Young, It’s for You, 2009. PVC text. Courtesy of the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo by David Ulmer. 

Carey Young: Speech ActsContemporary Art Museum St. Louis, 2009. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Carey Young. 

 

Carey Young: Speech ActsContemporary Art Museum St. Louis, 2009. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Carey Young. 

 

Carey Young: Speech ActsContemporary Art Museum St. Louis, 2009. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Carey Young. 

 

Carey Young, The Representative, 2005 and ongoing. Professional call center agent, direct dial telephone connection, telephone, chair, lamp, table, area rug, framed photographs of call center agents. Courtesy of the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo by David Ulmer.

Carey Young, It’s for You, 2009. PVC text. Courtesy of the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo by David Ulmer. Carey Young: Speech Acts, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, 2009. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Carey Young.   Carey Young: Speech Acts, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, 2009. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Carey Young.   Carey Young: Speech Acts, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, 2009. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Carey Young.   Carey Young, The Representative, 2005 and ongoing. Professional call center agent, direct dial telephone connection, telephone, chair, lamp, table, area rug, framed photographs of call center agents. Courtesy of the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo by David Ulmer.

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Exhibition Guide
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Press Release
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London-based artist Carey Young investigates the corporate and legal worlds from an insider perspective. Her multidisciplinary work has included photography, video, text, and performance, and has taken the form of legal contracts, negotiation-skills training for museum staff, and performed speeches. Young takes a particular interest in the call center industry, which allows firms to offer sales and customer service by telephone. Whether routed to a twenty-four hour live agent, or an automated voice offering infinite menu options, consumers are conditioned to such spaces of routine communication, wherein branded and scripted exchange endures over personal contact.

For her first solo exhibition in an American museum, Young transforms the Contemporary’s interstitial spaces—its front entrance, public spaces and boardroom—into a place where the notion of “customer service” assumes a conspicuous, inverted, and unexpected presence. Collaborating with a communications company headquartered in St. Louis, Young presents a series of telephone call center works. The museum visitor, upon picking up each phone, becomes both a listener and a performer, in dialogue with live agents scripted and trained by the artist. Suggestive of the corporatization of the art world, and drawing on the legacies of Conceptual Art and institutional critique, Young’s project blends the commercial and technocratic with the fictional, the political, and the absurd. At its core, Speech Acts contemplates the conditions of site-specificity, language, and our own capacity to communicate in the world. 

 

 

Sponsors

Support for Carey Young: Speech Acts is generously provided by Charter Communications, The Nimoy Foundation, Catharine and Jeffrey Soros, and Irene and Grier Merwin. Special thanks to Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.

General support for the Contemporary’s exhibitions program is generously provided by the Whitaker Foundation; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; William E. Weiss Foundation; Nancy Reynolds and Dwyer Brown; Regional Arts Commission; Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; Arts and Education Council; and members of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.