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April 4, 2020
“With Pleasure: Pattern And Decoration in American Art, 1972-1985”
Visual Art Source
April 4, 2020
Peter Frank
News

“With Pleasure: Pattern And Decoration in American Art, 1972-1985”
Visual Art Source
April 4, 2020
Peter Frank

The exuberant tumult at the heart, and mind, of American Pattern and Decoration, or P&D, pervades “With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art, 1972-1985,” a rich, if limited, survey of the sprawling movement. “Limited” because the show itself — as opposed to its impressively thorough catalog — concentrates on the work of fewer than fifty artists, most based in and around New York but including a healthy smattering of Californians, plus a midwesterner or two. Given its omissions, the show does capture the richness of visual reasoning and unapologetic dependence on exotic sources that kept the movement coherent and made it the distinctive style it was.

As both counterweight to and part and parcel of minimalism and abstract expressionism, P&D constituted a rejection of the self-important seriousness characterizing both previous movements, but simultaneously cultivated their elaborate sense of play. “With Pleasure” does not limit itself to “hard core” P&D practitioners, the extravagant decorators, the flamboyant performance artists, the emphatic feminists who were at the movement’s — and indeed the moment’s — heart. The show’s curatorial expansiveness makes reasonable inclusion of non-patterning African-American artists such as Sam Gilliam and Al Loving, patterning Pop artists like Billy Al Bengston, and singular figures such as Frank Stella. “With Pleasure” thus gives the lie to the notion, put forth by serious critics at the time, that painting was a moribund practice in the ‘70s. Indeed, no matter what alternative art histories the work of Joyce Kozloff, Kim MacConnel, Barbara Zucker, Ralph Bacerra, William T. Williams or Ned Smythe (among others) drew upon and proposed, the pattern painting movement reawakened a joyful yet rigorous passion for paint — whether on canvas, on clay or on walls — free of existential agony and puritanical iconoclasm.

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January 17, 2017
Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts
J. Willard Marriott Library
The University of Utah, 01/17/2017

The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will host the art exhibition Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts, Jan. 20-March 3.

Artnauts, an art collective formed 20 years ago by George Rivera, professor of art and art history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, consists of 300 global artists who serve as goodwill ambassadors, acknowledging and supporting victims of oppression worldwide. Their creativity has generated over 230 exhibitions across five continents. Five faculty members from the U’s Department of Art and Art History are members of the collective, Sandy Brunvand, Beth Krensky, V. Kim Martinez, Brian Snapp and Xi Zhang.

Globalocation derives from “Globalocational Art” — a concept used by the Artnauts to refer to their exhibitions in international venues. It is the mission of the Artnauts to take art to places of contention, and this anniversary exhibition is a sample of places where they have been and themes they have addressed.

“The Artnauts could not exist without the commitment of the artists in the collective to a common vision of the transformative power of art,” said Rivera. “The Artnauts make their contribution with art that hopefully generates a dialogue with an international community on subjects that are sometimes difficult to raise.”

Krensky, associate department chair of the Art and Art History Department, had the opportunity to travel with Rivera in Chile as part of an Artnauts project, working with mothers who were searching for their children who had mysteriously disappeared during a time of political unrest.

“When I travelled to Chile in 1998, George and I spent an afternoon with the Mothers of the Disappeared, and the meeting changed my life,” said Krensky. “It was from that moment on that I placed a picture of them on my desk to look at every day. I was so moved by what they each had lost — a son, a brother, a father — and yet what remained for them was a deep, deep well of love. They were fierce warriors and stood up to the government to demand the whereabouts and information of the people who had disappeared, but they lived within profound love.”

The 20th anniversary exhibition at the Marriott Library is a retrospective of the traveling works the Artnauts have toured around the globe. The exhibition will be located on level three of the library. The opening reception is open to the public and will be held on Friday, Jan 20, 4-6 p.m. Rivera will speak at 4 p.m.

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