September 23 – November 04, 1990
Thursday, October 4, 1990, 12:00 am – Thursday, October 25, 1990, 12:00 am
Issues in Contemporary Art: The Persistence of Painting
Location: The Renaissance Society
The persistence of painting in contemporary art makes it increasingly difficult to think of the medium as an artistically obsolete or socially irrelevant act. While this remark may seem absurd to both casual and serious observers of art, painting has suffered numerous "deaths" at the hands of artists, critics, and historians alike over the past 150 years, and yet, it still persists. Once again painting appears to engender comunicative, expressive, sexual, and informative traits that no other medium or expression can replace or fulfill. Consequently, there is a renewed commitment to and faith in painting among contemporary artists and a renewed interest in it among their audience that can only be described in general terms as something human. Despite the advent of photography, the reductive reign of Modernism, the influence of popular culture, and the strain of media technology on art, painting persists. As a historically grounded object and an anthropologically expressive act, it continues to be beautiful and meaningful, relevant to human life, and emblematic of both personal and social knowledge and experience.
Thursday, October 4: James Yood
James Yood will present a brief hisory of painting's numerous deaths and resurrections ove the last 150 years: since the advent
of photography, through the reductive (and destructive) reign of Modernism, and into our present, post-industrial information age. Mr. Yood will discuss his theories on why and how artists continue to make paintings, what sort of spiritual inspirations, philosophical thoughts, and/or material urges they might share with their viewers and society.
James Yood is a professor of Art History at Northwestern University. He is also the Chicago correspondent for Artforum magazine, New York, and for five years was the Chicago Editor of New Art Examiner magazine.
Thursday, October 11: Anne Rorimer
Anne Rorimer will give an overview of particular, conceptually-oriented manners of painting developed in Europe in the late 1960s and continued today, as evidenced in the work of such artists as Daniel Buren, Olivier Mosset, Blinky Palermo, Gerhard Richter, and Niele Toroni. Given Modernism's reductive, minimalist, end-game formalism and its subsequent total destruction of material reality, these artists and others have devised ways in which to conceptually and emotionally rationalize the continued meaningfulness of painting. Ms. Rorimer will also address Swiss artist Niele Tornoni's painted installation at The Renaissance Society.
Anne Rorimer is a former curator of 20th Century Painting and Sculpture at The Art Institute of Chicago, where she co-organized the Institute's 72nd, 73rd, and 74th American Exhibitions, as welll as its seminal Europe in the 70s exhibition, among others. Ms. Rorimer has written numerous catalogue essays for The Renaissance Society, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
Thursday, October 18: Joe Scanlan
Joe Scanlan will present and discuss the resurgence of pictorialism in the paintings of such artists as Robert Colescott, L.J. Douglas, David Kroll, Gerhard Richter, and Peter Saul. These artists and others consciously acknowledge, accept, and sometimes incorporate the communicative limitations and powers of painting into their artworks, which are predominantly narrative or theatrical and are often romantic. In addition to presenting incredibly rich and complex characters and situations in their works, which suggest many precisely literal and elusively allegorical stories, these artists' paintings indirectly evidence their strong faith in and commitment to painting.
Joe Scanlan is Assistant Director of The Renaissance Society, and a critic. He is the Chicago correspondent for Artscribe magazine, London, and also writes for New Art Examiner magazine.
Thursday, October 25: Kathryn Hixson
Kathryn Hixson will present and discuss a wide array of younger, very contemporary, conceptually-oriented painters who have been able to combine historically immaterial ideas with the purely physical beauty and act of painting. Such artists as Gaylen Gerber, Julia Fish, Jonathan Lasker, and Kay Rosen generally paint on a smaller, less heroic and more intimate scale, and often incorporate subtle visual and verbal games and puns in their work. Ms. Hixson will talk about the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of this sometimes elusive, sometimes simple, but always challenging sort of works that often leave viewers either laughing or scratching their heads.
Kathryn Hixson is a critic and the Chicago correspondent for Arts Magazine, New York, and for Flash Art, Milan. She is also a contributing editor for New Art Examiner magazine.