DePaul Art Museum > Exhibitions > Anxious Objects: Work by Ken Butler

Anxious Objects: Work by Ken Butler

​September 10 – November 23, 2004​


Artist and musician Ken Butler is interested in the space between sound and visual art. His sculptural work deconstructs the basic notion of just what a musical instrument is. Hairpins, rubber bands, a broom, a boot, skulls, paintbrushes, a dress form, vacuum cleaner parts, a prosthetic limb, crutches, a lawnmower — ordinary objects gain a voice when they are transformed into what the artist refers to as hybrid instruments. Does form follow function, or does function follow form?  What kind of materials create sound? Where are the boundaries of what we call music? Where are the boundaries of what we call sculpture? Butler explores these fundamental questions and he does so with wit and irony. The very simplicity of One String Hammer Violin is confounding. It is what it is, or what it’s not. And just what is it again? Butler invites the viewer to participate in a process of questioning and discovery.

Anxious Objects is cosponsored by the DePaul School of Music, Depaul Department of Art and Art History, and the DePaul Humanities Center. We are grateful for their support, and for the generosity of the artist.