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"As Painting: Division and Displacement"
2001-05-12 until 2001-08-12
Wexner Center for the Arts
Columbus, OH, USA

As Painting: Division and Displacement is an ambitious and provocative exhibition that explores the current practice of painting in all its guises. On view May 12–August 12, 2001 in the Wexner Center, the exhibition features 110 works by 26 artists from the United States, France, and Germany from the mid-1960s to the present, including three newly commissioned pieces and many works never before exhibited in the United States. Artists include such well-known figures as Gerhard Richter and Donald Judd as well as such lesser-known artists as Martin Barré and Anne Truitt. The show features photography, sculpture, and installation, along with traditional paintings on canvas, illuminating painting's flexible boundaries and relationships with other media.

As painting

Organized by the Wexner Center and guest curated by OSU professors Philip Armstrong (Division of Comparative Studies), Laura Lisbon (Department of Art), and Stephen Melville (Department of History of Art), the wide-ranging exhibition examines the many artistic impulses that can be interpreted as painting. The exhibition is both a compelling visual presentation and a convincing theoretical premise, drawing on a range of developments in recent art history and theory and offering new perspectives on the evolution of painting since minimalism. A series of developments in French painting since the mid-1960s plays a particularly strong role in the show, traced through the work of such significant but relatively unfamiliar artists as André Cadere, Daniel Dezeuze, Simon Hantaï, Michel Parmentier, and François Rouan. Daniel Buren, Christian Bonnefoi, and Polly Apfelbaum have been commissioned to produce new projects for the exhibition, and Sherrie Levine and Mel Bochner will re-create previously realized works. Says Wexner Center Director Sherri Geldin, As Painting ultimately flourishes in the keenly honed selection and presentation of works whose seeming heterogeneity might at first perplex those seeking customary connections. But the curators have deftly coaxed the relational forces that move between these disparate objects to emerge, catch our eye, and cue us to leave preconceptions behind.

The works - which include such materials as wood, rope, and glass - range from large-scale installations to smaller works on the walls. The scope of the show is summarized by Melville, who writes in the catalogue: There’s a good bit of work here that does not seem to partake of any of the elements associated with painting, there’s work that seems to do so but in highly ambiguous ways, and there’s work that appears close enough to what we normally mean by painting but that behaves in ways we don’t expect, so that its limits or possibilities appear peculiarly unclear.

Division and displacement

The exhibition develops a rigorous argument around issues of medium, language, and materiality in painting, with particular attention to how such techniques as folding, weaving, and collage - all methods of division - push the boundaries of painting. Armstrong and Lisbon write in the catalogue that the works are turned over and inside out, exposed simultaneously recto and verso, marked by continuities and discontinuities, attachments and detachments, surfaces pierced with holes, layered with pockets and folds, formed by tressage (weaving) and knotting - paintings.

The exhibition also explores how these techniques lead painting to become entangled with, and at times partially displaced by, other art forms, from photography to sculpture to architecture, casting new light on the definition of painting itself.

The artists

The exhibition includes works by both established and emerging artists representing a wide range of ages, many of whom are not usually considered painters. Approximately half of the 26 are from France (and a few from Germany), half from the United States. Following is the complete list of artists: - Martin Barré (1924–96, born in Nantes, France, died in Paris)
- James Bishop (b. 1927, Missouri; lives in Blévy, France)
- Mel Bochner (b. 1940, Pittsburgh; lives in New York)
- Christian Bonnefoi (b. 1948, lives in France)
- Daniel Buren (b. 1938, France, lives in situ)
- André Cadere (1934–78; born in Warsaw, died in Paris)
- Jean Degottex (1918–88, France)
- Daniel Dezeuze (b. 1942; lives in Sète, France)
- Moira Dryer (1957–92; born in Toronto, died in New York)
- François Dufrêne (1930–82, Paris)
- Simon Hantaï (b. 1922 in Hungary; lives in Paris)
- Donald Judd (1928–94; born in Missouri; died in New York)
- Imi Knoebel (b. 1940, lives in Düsseldorf, Germany)
- Sherrie Levine (b. 1947, Pennsylvania; lives in New York)
- Agnes Martin (b. 1912, Canada; lives in New York and New Mexico)
- Michel Parmentier (1938–00, Paris)
- Gerhard Richter (b. 1932, Dresden; lives in Cologne)
- François Rouan (b. 1943, lives in l’Oise, France)
- Robert Ryman (b. 1930, Nashville; lives in New York)
- Robert Smithson (1938–73, born in New Jersey, died in Texas)
- Anne Truitt (b. 1921, Baltimore)
- André Valensi (b. 1947, Paris; lives in Saint-Rémy, France)
- Claude Viallat (b. 1936, lives in Nîmes, France)
- Jacques Villeglé (b. 1926, lives in Paris)
- James Welling (b. 1951, Hartford; lives in New York and Los Angeles)

The catalogue

An in-depth, illustrated 280-page catalogue for this exhibition will be co-published by the Wexner Center and The MIT Press. The catalogue includes essays by the curators, entries on every artist, a foreword by Wexner Center Director Sherri Geldin, and 14 anthology essays, including: a commentary on Simon Hantaï by Alfred Pacquement, director of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris; new essays by French critics Catherine Millet and Christian Prigent; a little-known set of notes by Jacques Lacan on the painting of François Rouan; interviews with artists Martin Barré and Mel Bochner; and a (reprinted) essay on Robert Ryman by Daniel Buren. The catalogue is $39.95 (cloth; ISBN 02-262-01183-2).

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