about the exhibition

Cady Noland

Misc. Spill


Cady Noland’s work addresses American mythologies, considering the construction of history and identity coming out of consumer culture and mass media. Noland’s images, taken from tabloids, newspapers, and stock-photo sources, are combined with an array of objects to focus on those moments when a disastrous event becomes a compelling spectacle, when private space is rendered public, when counterculture collides with the mainstream, and when people or objects are transformed into media icons. Misc. Spill is composed of such detritus as an automobile bumper, aluminum awning frames, an Ikea shopping cart, and an American flag—surrounded by metal barricades, fences, pipes, and tread plates that confront and alter the museum’s architecture with vernacular materials of institutional control. Considered together, Noland’s ensemble forms an austere eerie landscape of American life.

Cady Noland (b. 1956, Washington, D.C.; lives and works in New York)
Misc. Spill, 1990
Awning frames, aluminum, trash, shopping cart, flag, cinderblocks, car bumper, and concrete
Dimensions variable
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Gift of the Peter Norton Family Foundation

Violence used to be part of life in America and had a positive reputation.... There was a kind of righteousness about violence—the break with England, fighting for our rights, the Boston Tea Party. Now, in our culture as it is, there is one official social norm—and acts of violence, expressions of dissatisfaction are framed in an atomized view as being “abnormal.” —Cady Noland