What might a truly COVID-conscious exhibition look like? Untied, curated by Allison Lacher and Jeff Robinson for the University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery, is a serious contender. The show took the challenges of this moment as an opportunity to rethink exhibition design, inviting five artists to install and perform during separate weeks throughout the run (social distancing), displaying their work with an eye to online documentation (remote viewing), and with the opportunity to rearrange what was already there (community spread). By measuring, layering and enlarging archival materials, alejandro t. acierto attempted to quantify the capacity of the pugo, a type of quail local to the Philippines, to elude colonization. Ruby T. performed a terrifyingly pertinent amalgamation of marketing speak, contemporary news and politics, demonic possession, and nature worship. Riffing on the notion that we are but one fragile bubble in an infinite multiverse of them, A.J. McClenon ended Untied by gingerly covering their co-exhibitors’ artworks with plastic sheeting, protection for when the bubble finally bursts.
—Lori Waxman 2020-12-15 1:01 PM