Transitional Objects

On View: June 22 - September 7, 2019

Main Galleries

Transitional Objects highlights artists who explore human relationships to inanimate material – commodities, tools, personal belongings, clothing, and all of the other nonliving substances that populate our daily lives. Working in sculpture, installation, and video, these artists experiment with unconventional materials, take inspiration from or produce functional objects, and create sculptures that elucidate both the allure and the difficulty of material forms.

In the field of psychology, the phrase ‘transitional objects’ refers to objects adopted by children as a means of soothing their own anxiety, a role played by blankets and stuffed animals but also dolls, pillows, and items of clothing. The transitional object is associated with immaturity, with a need for constant reassurance, and an inability to distinguish between living creatures and inanimate forms. But in its role as a soother of anxiety, as a tool to navigate relations with the outside world, and as an object imbued with significance beyond its own basic functionality, the transitional object foreshadows many of the roles assigned to objects by humans throughout their lives. Focusing on the alluring, disturbing, obsessive, disruptive, and excessive, Transitional Objects encourages viewers to reconsider the social, cultural, and economic significance we ascribe to objects.

Transitional Objects artists: Kyle Bauer, Calder Brannock, Dexter Ciprian, Emily Culver, Liz Ensz, Kyle Hittmeier, Trish Tillman, and Holly Trout.


Opening Reception: June 22 / 6–9pm
Gallery Talk: July 27 / 1-3pm

Call for Artists

Submit your work for a chance to be exhibited

Support the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington

Make a Donation

Artist Talks with Andrew Barco and Elliot Doughtie

Saturday / October 21 / 1pm-3pm

Join artists Andrew Barco and Elliot Doughtie for conversations about their solo exhibitions currently on view at MoCA Arlington.

Neon Nights: Gala & Silent Auction

Wednesday / September 27 / 7pm

Join us on Wednesday, September 27 for a special gala and silent auction to benefit the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington. Tickets range from $250 to $500 and include a 3-course dinner, silent auction, and the joy you’ll feel knowing you’re supporting the museum! Can’t attend? Consider sponsoring an artist to attend in your place!

MoCA on the Move at Met Park

Sundays 10am-12pm

MoCA Arlington at Met Park
Fun for the whole family! No Experience Required offers playful art making activities for children (and their curious adults) every Sunday morning. There will be collaborative, community-built art works, and opportunities to “make and take” works, too.