Thursday, July 2, 2009

Andrew Weyth: Remembrance and Target Practice: Painting Under Attack 1949-78

Andrew Wyeth - Distant Thunder

The exhibit Andrew Wyeth: Remembrance at the Seattle Art Museum runs from June 25th to October 18th, 2009. Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) is considered a realist and regionalist painter. From the remembrance here (six or so paintings) you’ll get a sense of that. There is a meditative quality about his work that we found pleasing.

In stark contrast to Wyeth, head up a few floors to the exhibit Target Practice: Painting Under Attack 1949-1978 running from June 25th to September 7th, 2009. This exhibit is figuratively and literally about how painting was attacked after World War II as artists around the world looked for ways to break the conventions of traditional canvas painting. In some works, artists literally break apart paintings, in others (like one by Yoko Ono) you are invited to participate in the art work by hammering a nail into the canvas, and still in other works, painted canvas is draped like curtain swags. The French artist Niki de Sainte Phalle (1930-2002) shot her paintings…repeatedly. The tools used for working the paintings are humorously summarized in the exhibition poster shown below. There’s a lot to see in this exhibit and it’s worth the time. A big bonus is that the free audio guide is narrated by Laurie Anderson.

The Italian connection: one featured artist is the Italian painter and sculptor Lucio Fontana (1899-1968). The famous photo of Fontana by Ugo Mulas slashing (oops, working the canvas) says it all.
Photo of Lucio Fontana by Ugo Mulas Target Practice Exhibition Poster

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