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"The Minimalist Years, 1960-1975: Jo Baer"
2002-09-12 until 2003-06-15
Dia Center for the Arts
New York, NY, USA

"The Minimalist Years, 1960-1975," an exhibition of works by American artist Jo Baer, brings together some twenty paintings and a number of drawings and prints produced in the years she lived in New York City. The exhibition is Baer's first solo museum exhibition in the United States since 1975. The exhibition includes a number of Baer's early works, which address the relations of pictorial edge and field and of color and composition, plus more eccentric works from the mid-seventies, which explore questions of flatness versus volume, frontality versus multiple vantage points, and objecthood versus illusion.

Baer has characterized her paintings of the 1960s and early 1970s as hard-edge and concerned greatly with color. However, as critic Lucy Lippard noted about her work in 1966, "the mood is more romantic than factual." In some works a square white expanse in the central area of the painting is framed by a thin band of color-for example, turquoise, lavender, blue, mustard-reiterated with black. The strip of color serves to mediate the dichotomy of black and white and animate the relationship of field and frames. Often, Baer's use of paint is not contained by the frontal boundaries of the canvas. In some works, stripes, bars, and arcs of paint cling to the sides or top of the canvas, breaking with the frontality conventional to modular painting, to explore multiple vantage points and to flirt with situation and context.

Jo Baer

Born in Seattle, Washington, in 1929, Baer attended the University of Washington and later the New School for Social Research, where she studied perceptual psychology and philosophy. Baer's early works established her solid reputation as an important force in Minimalist art. Following her first solo show in 1966, she participated in Documenta IV in Kassel, Germany (1968), was awarded an artist fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1969), and was the subject of a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, in New York (1975). In 1978 and again in 1986, Baer had retrospectives at the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, followed in 1999 by a major retrospective at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Public Programming

Critic and curator Mark Godfrey will lecture on Jo Baer's art this season as part of Dia's Robert Lehman Lectures on Contemporary Art. The lecture will take place at Dia's exhibition facility at 548 West 22nd Street on Thursday, February 20, 2003, at 6:30 pm. For more information the public should call Dia at 212 989 5566.

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