Cady Noland

Cart Full of Action, 1986
Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal

Characterized by the use of everyday materials, the works of Cady Noland read as statements about the United States at the end of the 20th century. Noland’s aesthetic is fuelled by what she sees as her country’s anxieties over its failed pledge of freedom, security, and success for all. Combining iconic objects and images with commonplace elements, the artist creates works that are critical of the culture of waste and excess that produced them.

The exemplary work Cart Full of Action is an industrial cart filled with dented hubcaps and automotive maintenance and repair parts. Its sad yet sinister presence suggests a second-hand economy. These used objects can be read as the abandoned or discarded hopes and ideals of a past era. In light of the financial crisis of 2008 and its effects on the American car industry, Cart Full of Action appears prescient of the breakdown in the American narrative of economic dominance and success. The title of the work is open to interpretation as it refers to the potential for activity and exchange of an unspecified nature.

Cart Full of Action is part of thecollection of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Toronto; gift of Vivian and David Campbell, 1999