Slightly Unbalanced

Slightly Unbalanced

Curated by Susan Hapgood

All people have their own psychological quirks; we accept this as an essential element of human nature. During the past fifteen years, more and more artists have been probing these peculiarities, exploring neurosis as a primary subject of their art. Slightly Unbalanced features work that deals with a range of psychological tendencies, including anxiety, obsessive behavior, depression and narcissism. The artists question what constitutes normalcy, and what qualifies as neurosis, a slippery and suggestive endeavor.

The exhibition spans four distinct thematic sections, beginning with works by five internationally renowned individuals—Louise Bourgeois, Sophie Calle, Mike Kelley, Bruce Nauman, and Cindy Sherman—who have been pioneers in addressing psychology in their art, and who have strongly influenced other artists over the past ten or more years. For example, in most of the images in Sherman’s Untitled series from 2000, she plays various female personae who appear palpably uncomfortable in their own skin. Artists who play a performative role in their own videos, as Sherman frequently has in her photographs, are featured in the second section of this exhibition, often focusing on narcissism. The third section of the show offers works in diaristic or confessional formats, as if the viewer is bearing witness to different individuals’ inner monologues, as in Sean Lander’s paintings, videos, and sound works. The last section, which includes several sculptural installations, explores the house as a fertile metaphor for the mind—the domestic interior as a stand-in for the psyche.

The field of psychology is 150 years old, and many of its basic concepts and terminology are embedded in our presuppositions about how people think and act, what drives and motivates us. The artists whose works are presented in Slightly Unbalanced, in choosing to concentrate on neurosis, have tapped into a charged theme that provokes a range of responses, including discomfort, recognition, empathy, and humor. Their development of psychologically loaded subject matter provides a deeply enriched vocabulary for contemporary art.

Tour is fully booked.

The catalogue for this exhibition includes an essay by curator Susan Hapgood, a text by psychologist Susan M. Andersen, and brief statements by the artists.

Purchase the catalogue at our shop.

Dave McKenzie, Self-Help Hyperventilation Bag, 2002


Alex Bag, Louise Bourgeois, Sophie Calle, Beth Campbell, Harry Dodge & Stanya Kahn, Sarah Hobbs, Mike Kelley, Sean Landers, Cary Leibowitz, Dave McKenzie, Bruce Nauman, Tony Oursler, Danica Phelps, William Pope.L, Aïda Ruilova, Ward Shelley & Doug Paulson, Cindy Sherman, David Shrigley

Additional Images

William Pope.L, Pierce, 2007 (video still)

Tony Oursler, Isn’t There Someone Else You Could Be?, 1995 (video still)

Touring Schedule

Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art

Richmond, Virginia
January 26 – March 5, 2010

Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum

Lafayette, Louisiana
September 18 – December 31, 2009

Rodman Hall Arts Center

St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
June 12 – August 21, 2009

Huntington Museum of Art

Huntington, West Virginia
March 13 – May 24, 2009

Museum London

London, Ontario
December 6 – February 22, 2009

Chicago Cultural Center

Chicago, Illinois
January 26 – April 13, 2008

Related Events

Art Probes the Human Condition

Cousins Studio Theatre
Modlin Center for the Arts
Richmond, VA
January 25, 2010

ICI in Louisiana

Hilliard University Museum of Art
710 East Saint Mary Boulevard
Lafayette, Louisiana
September 18, 2009

Technical Specs