Persistence of Vision
Art & Antiques, March 2015
When the Museum of Modern Art in New York mounted the exhibition “The Responsible Eye” in 1965, curator William Seitz could not have imagined that it's impact would persist, like an afterimage on the retina, 50 years later. The show, which launched "Op Art,” helped bring artists such as Richard Anuszkiewicz, Julian Stanczak, Victor Vasarely, and Bridget Riley to prominence. This year, David Richard Gallery of Santa Fe is marking the anniversary of the epoch-making MoMA show with not one but four exhibitions over the course of the year, not only revisiting the original work but analyzing and contextualizing Op Art as a historical phenomena.
On February 25, the gallery opened the first exhibition in the series titled "Post Op: The Responsive Eye Fifty Years After,” which will run through April 4. For each of the 16 artists, it presents a work from the 1960s along with one from later in the artist’s career. Among the works on view will be (shown here clockwise from top to left) Francis Celentano's Elliptical Kinetic Painting, from 1967, Oli Sihvonen’s Elegy (017) from 1988, and Richard Anuszkiewicz’s Exact Quantity, from 1963. Among other artists are Hannes Beckmann, Karl Benjamin, Ernst Benkert, Lorser Feitelson, Francis Hewitt, Mon Levinson, Ed Mieczkowski, and Tadasky.
The second exhibition will feature 1960s artwork from around 16 of the original American artist included in "The Responsive Eye" alongside art from the ‘60s and ‘70s by friends and colleagues who were working in a similar vein at the time but were not in the MoMA show, including Charles Hinman, Leo Valedor, Mario Yrissary, Larry Zox, and June Harwood. The third installment will show later-career work from artist who were in “The Responsive Eye” alongside work by contemporary artists who are inspired by the Op approach, such as Beverly Fishman, Sanford Wurmfeld, Robert Swain, and Gabrielle Evertz. The last show in the series will present the work of international artists who were included in “The Responsive Eye”.
Gallery co-owner David Eichholtz says, "The main thing that's driving my interest is not a celebration per se of the historical effect of ‘The Responsive Eye’ but the desire to contextualize a couple of things – that these artists really pursued visual perception seriously as a lifelong ambition, and that younger artists continue to find hard-edge geometric are compelling and imbue it with content."