Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s | Montclair Art Museum
(MAM) & Yard School of Art offer American, Native American, & contemporary art exhibitions, programs, & classes in NJ

Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s

Start Date: 
Feb 08, 2015
End Date: 
May 17, 2015

This exhibition marks the first major American museum survey to examine the art of this pivotal decade in its historical context. Showcasing approximately 60 works by 45 artists, it includes installations, paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photography, video, and digital art. Come as You Are offers an overview of art made in the United States between 1989 and 2001—from the fall of the Berlin Wall to 9/11—and is organized around three principal themes: the "identity politics" debates, the digital revolution, and globalization. Its title refers to the 1992 song by Nirvana (the quintessential ’90s band, led by the quintessential ’90s icon, Kurt Cobain); moreover, it speaks to the issues of identity that were complicated by the effects of digital technologies and global migration. The artists in the exhibition came of age during and reflect the increasingly heterogeneous nature of the art world during this time, as artists of color, women artists, and LGBTQ artists attained increased prominence.

The exhibition is curated by Alexandra Schwartz, MAM curator of contemporary art, with Kimberly Siino, curatorial assistant. Following its premiere at MAM, the show will embark on a national tour.


Share your favorite 1990s memory or your impressions of the exhibition with #MAM90s.



The Artists


Doug Aitken (born 1968, USA)
Laylah Ali (born 1968, USA)
Janine Antoni (born 1964, Bahamas)
Aziz + Cucher (Anthony Aziz, b. 1961 USA and  Sammy Cucher, b. 1958 Peru)
Alex Bag (born 1969, USA)
Matthew Barney (born 1967, USA)
Michael Ray Charles (born 1967, USA)
Mark Dion (born 1961, USA)
Jeanne Dunning (born 1960, USA)
Andrea Fraser (born 1965, USA)
Ellen Gallagher (born 1965, USA)
Felix Gonzalez-Torres (born 1957 Cuba –  died 1996 USA)
JODI (Joan Heemskerk, b. 1968 Netherlands and Dirk Paesmans, b. 1965 Belgium)
Glenn Kaino (born 1972, USA)
Karen Kilimnik (born 1955, USA)
Byron Kim (born 1961, USA)
Nikki S. Lee (born 1970, South Korea)
Glenn Ligon (born 1960, USA)
Sharon Lockhart (born 1964, USA)
Daniel Joseph Martinez (born 1957, USA)
Julie Mehretu (born 1970, Ethiopia)
Mariko Mori (born 1967, Japan)
Vik Muniz (born 1961, Brazil)
Prema Murthy (born 1969, USA)
Mark Napier (born 1961, USA)
Shirin Neshat (born 1957, Iran)
Mendi + Keith Obadike (born 1973, USA)
Manuel Ocampo (born 1965, Philippines)
Catherine Opie (born 1961, USA)
Gabriel Orozco (born 1962, Mexico)
Pepón Osorio (born 1955, Puerto Rico)
Laura Owens (born 1970, USA)
Jorge Pardo (born 1963, Cuba)
Jennifer Pastor (born 1965, USA)
Elizabeth Peyton (born 1965, USA)
Jason Rhoades (1965-2006, USA)
Beverly Semmes (born 1958, USA)
Shahzia Sikander (born 1969, Pakistan)
Gary Simmons (born 1964, USA)
Frances Stark (born 1967, USA)
Diana Thater (born 1962, USA)
Rirkrit Tiravanija (born 1961, Argentina)
Mark Tribe (born 1966, USA)
Kara Walker (born 1969, USA)
Fred Wilson (born 1954, USA)
Andrea Zittel (born 1965, USA)
Marina Zurkow (born 1962, USA)



Related Programs & Events


February 11–April 15, 2015 – Come as You Are: Films of the 90s

A series of six screenings of American independent films from this formative decade is being offered in partnership with the Montclair Film Festival. It presents films that launched the careers of several important artists and defined the 90s as a decade of when American independent film came into its own.


March 7, 2015, 8 p.m.–1 a.m. – '90s Dance Party

Celebrate Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s at a 1990s-themed dance party.


March 9, 2015, 7:30 p.m. – Online Panel: What Happened to Internet Art?

A live online panel discussion on the evolution of Internet art, as well as the impact of digital technology on art during and following the 1990s, featuring artists participating in the exhibition and moderated by Alexandra Schwartz. Watch the recorded Google Hangout


April 23, 2015, 7 p.m. – MAM Art Talk: Byron Kim

The artist speaks about his work, including his celebrated Synecdoche series, featured in the exhibition.


April 29, 2015, 6 p.m. – “Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s”

Note: takes place at the New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, 476 Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, NYC.

Panel discussion celebrating the publication catalogue and examining the insights and challenges inherent in creating histories of the recent past. Features artists participating in the exhibition including Aziz + Cucher, Shahzia Sikander, and Marina Zurkow. Moderated by MAM's curator of contemporary art Alexandra Schwartz. Book signing to follow. Listen to the recorded podcast.


May 14, 2015, 7 p.m. – Panel Discussion: In the Wake of Identity Politics

A scholarly symposium focused on the identity politics debates during the 1990s and beyond.  Moderated by Huey Copeland, Associate Professor of the History of Art, Northwestern University; panelists include Rujeko Hockley, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum; Porochista Khakpour, writer; Simone Leigh, artist; and Soyoung Yoon, Assistant Professor of Art History and Program Director of Visual Studies, Department of the Arts, Eugene Lang College, The New School.


May 17, 1–5 p.m. – Free Family Day

Participate in a day of exploration with many Museum-wide art activities inspired by Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s.


Family Learning Lab — Located on the 3rd Floor Elevator Lobby, this interactive space is free with Museum admission and open during gallery hours. Drop by to further explore the current exhibition Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s through self-guided art activities and tactile objects.





The exhibition is accompanied by the definitive catalogue on the art of the 1990s to date. Co-published by the University of California Press and the Montclair Art Museum, it includes four overview essays by exhibition curator Alexandra Schwartz and seven short, thematic essays by some of today’s foremost contemporary art historians. Additionally, the catalogue will contain a comprehensive chronology of the decade’s key artistic, political, and cultural events and an extensive bibliography.


The catalogue is now available in The Store at MAM.



Mobile Website


The Montclair Art Museum has built an interpretive mobile web experience around Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s. To enter the exhibition website text MAM 90s to 56512. Access an overview of the exhibition, detailed artist information, a playlist with 1990s music inspired by the exhibition, an abbreviated timeline, glossary, and more. In the 90s Flashback feature, artists share some of their most vivid memories of the 1990s.


Visit the Mobile Website



Travel Schedule

Montclair Art Museum

Montclair, NJ

February 8–May 17, 2015

Telfair Museum of Art

Savannah, GA

June 12–September 20, 2015

University of Michigan Museum of Art

Ann Arbor, MI

October 17, 2015–January 31, 2016

Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX

February 17–May 15, 2016



Related Exhibitions

Centre Pompidou-Metz
1984-1999. The Decade
May 24, 2014–March 2, 2015
A return to the spirit of the 1990s through the sources and objects that inspired a decade, from the arrival of the internet as a mass medium to Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit...
Curator: Stéphanie Moisdon, art critic and independent curator
Exhibition design based on an artistic project by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster



Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s is made possible with generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Corporate support provided by Chase and J.P. Morgan.
Major funding provided by the Susan V. Bershad Charitable Fund, Inc., Patti and Jimmy Elliott, Holly English and Fred Smagorinsky, Tracy Higgins and James Leitner, Karen G. Mandelbaum, Robert Nossa and Jennifer Odell, Sarah Peter, Ann and Mel Schaffer, Denise and Ira Wagner, Margo and Frank Walter, Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund, and the Judith Targan Endowment Fund for Museum Publications.
Additional support is provided by the exhibition Leadership Committee: James Cohan Gallery, New York/Shanghai, Eileen and Michael Cohen, Barbara Lee Family Foundation, Metro Pictures, New York, Andrea Rosen Gallery, and an anonymous donor.
All Museum programs are made possible, in part, by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, Carol and Terry Wall/The Vance Wall Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and Museum members.


Upcoming Events

  • 24Oct
  • MAM Conversations: The Art of Visual Perception, The 33rd Annual Julia Norton Babson Lecture
  • Details
  • Register
  • 27Oct
  • Creating Small Treasures with Printmaking Workshop
  • Details
  • 27Oct
  • Parent/Child Ceramics Ages 9-12 Workshop
  • Details