Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s, the first major museum survey to examine the art of this pivotal decade in its historical context, showcases over 64 works by 46 artists born or practicing in the United States. The exhibition, whose title references the 1992 Nirvana song (considered by many an anthem for the decade), focuses on three principal themes — debates over “identity politics,” the digital revolution, and globalization — and explores a range of geopolitical milestones and social issues through the perspective of artists working at that time. The exhibition also illustrates the diverse ways in which the developments of the 1990s redefined contemporary approaches to artistic practice and, in the words of exhibition curator Alexandra Schwartz, “writes a history of the ’90s through the lens of the visual arts.”
Come as You Are looks at the dramatic changes in the art world itself, including the ongoing culture wars; issues of artistic freedom and censorship; the impact of new media and the emergence of video, sound, and digital art; the expansion of the global art market; and the explosion of art fairs and biennials. It also investigates the art world’s increasing heterogeneity as artists of color, women artists, and LGBT artists attained increased prominence. Artists include Doug Aitken, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Glenn Ligon, Julie Mehretu, Prema Murthy, Shirin Neshat, Catherine Opie, Gabriel Orozco, Diana Thater, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Kara Walker in a wide range of works including installations, paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photography, video, and digital art.