All the Holidays All at Once

June 26 to October 2, 2011

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is hosting an invasion of holiday-themed lawn ornaments, which will set the stage for the community to join artist’s collective MTAA to celebrate All The Holidays All at Once in the  sculpture garden from June 26 through October 2, 2011. The practice of the Brooklyn-based collective is based in performance and relies on the participation of the community to create the work, which is generally ephemeral.

MTAA, which originated in 1996 and comprises Michael Sarff and Tim Whidden, initiated  All the Holidays All at Once with a call to the community asking for the temporary loan of holiday-themed lawn ornaments; each lender will receive a special signed “thank you” certificate from the artists.

Decorations celebrating holidays as varied as New Year’s, Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Independence Day, Halloween, Day of the Dead, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa are arranged in a parade-like procession. Then the artists will host a picnic/performance on Sunday, August 21, 2011, at which guests will attempt to actually celebrate all the holidays at once over the course of the afternoon.  Community members are invited to bring traditional food, wear festive attire, and observe the special occasion of their preference.

According to curator Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, this project, like most of MTAA’s inclusive and participatory projects, deliberately attempts to blur the boundary between artist as active producer and audience as passive receptor. “And,” she says, “the fact of coming together to accomplish something, to democratically organize ourselves to create something—even if that something may seem absurd—is a great testimonial to the potential of engaging and feeling engaged, and the different strategies that led to that accomplishment.”

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum will celebrate the opening of MTAA: All The Holidays All at Once along with five other Collaborations exhibitions at a reception where guests are invited to meet the artists, on Sunday, June 26, 2011, from 3 to 5 pm ($7 adults; $4 seniors; FREE for members, pre-K-12 teachers, and children 18 and under). FREE onsite parking is available, as is round-trip transportation from the Metro North Katonah Train Station to the Museum for the June 26 afternoon reception only. Also on view: Chelpa Ferro: Visual Sound; Kate Eric: One Plus One Minus One; Type A: Barrier and Trigger; Jessica Stockholder: Hollow Places Court in Ash-Tree Wood; and Judi Werthein: Do You Have Time?

The Aldrich is supported, in part, by the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism and the National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works. The official media sponsors of exhibition openings are Ridgefield Magazine and WSHU Public Radio.

Open publication

The Artists: Michael Sarff (a/k/a M. River), born 1967, Iowa City, Iowa, and Tim Whidden (a/k/a T. Whid), born 1969, Elyria, Ohio, have comprised MTAA since 1996. They look for meaning and understanding through interaction, making their work with the belief that the point between voices is the location, not only of art, but also of societal health. MTAA's work has been presented at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Postmasters Gallery and Artists Space, all in New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Beall Center for Art + Technology in Irvine, CA; The Getty Center, Los Angeles; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The collaborative has earned grants and awards from the Creative Capital Foundation,, Eyebeam, and New Radio & Performing Arts, Inc.

Top of page: MTAA, All the Holidays All at Once (digital rendering for The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield), 2011
Courtesy of the artists