FIVE focused on 5 artists, who have helped to define recent American art. Individually and collectively, these artists have challenged their art world contemporaries, by using new technologies and manipulating traditional techniques to build upon the ongoing investigation of form driving the development of contemporary art in America.
The exhibition title references William Carlos Williams’ 1921 poem The Great Figure, which set off a chain of creative responses beginning in 1928 when American painter Charles Demuth paid homage to the poem with his Figure Five in Gold. This painting came to embody the spirit of American Modernism. In the 1960’s, Pop artist Robert Indiana refigured this imagery into a series of paintings entitled American Dream, linking two critical moments of the so-called «American Century»: Modernism, which revered form above all, and Pop, which embraced the aesthetics of media and consumer culture.
FIVE takes up this chain of references as a model for establishing the works of Walead Beshty, Matthew Brannon, Wade Guyton, Sterling Ruby, and Kelley Walker in the broader context of American art. Conceptually arranged as a five-pointed structure, the exhibition is interrupted by a «sixth» installation by Guyton\Walker, which includes works commissioned specifically for the space. Citing aesthetic correspondence with the works of Indiana’s contemporaries — key American artists Donald Judd, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, and Andy Warhol,- FIVE reveals the relationships between these artists and their forebears, as they focus on materiality and perception, embracing a new industrial, and now digital, aesthetic.
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© 2010 BAIBAKOV art projects