Pattern and Decoration:
An Ideal Vision in American Art, 1975-1985
YONKERS , NY . August 13, 2007— Pattern and Decoration: An Ideal Vision in American Art, 1975-1985 will be presented by the Hudson River Museum from October 27, 2007 through January 20, 2008. This exhibition is the first comprehensive survey of the Pattern and Decoration Movement (P&D) and an exploration of its enduring contribution to the American art scene.
P&D flourished as an alternative in American art, in contrast to the painterly abstraction championed by critics such as Clement Greenberg. The energetic work of its artists challenged the status quo of Minimalism, Formalism, and Conceptualism. They valued the bold pattern, craft, and ornament that was prompted in the 1960s and 70s by a new regard for the Women’s Movement and women’s esthetic drive, non-western art, and artists’ travels in Europe, Mexico, North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The artists drew from the diverse subject matter they saw for their elaborate and eccentric images. The guest curator for the exhibition, Dr. Anne Swartz, comments:
P&D is an interesting counterweight to claims of uni-directional cultural influence and arrogance—that America sends out but does not acknowledge the importation of cultural forms and motifs. Arguably, P&D is the first postmodern art movement because its artists utilized a broad array of source material and embraced the impermanent, the common, and the excluded in forming their content and images.
The exhibition explores the work of artists prominent within the P&D Movement in the 1970s — Cynthia Carlson, Brad Davis, Valerie Jaudon, Jane Kaufman, Joyce Kozloff, Robert Kushner, Kim MacConnel, Tony Robbin, Miriam Schapiro, Ned Smyth, and Robert Zakanitch. Responsive to non-western art and folk art as well as textile design and wallpaper, their work has, in turn, influenced many quarters of the art world.
A fully illustrated catalogue is being published in conjunction with the exhibition.
It includes an introduction by Arthur Danto, art critic for The Nation; essays on the role of feminism in P&D by art historian Temma Balducci, assistant professor of art history at Arkansas State University; essays on the legacy of P&D by critic John Perrault; and, a major study on the scope, reception, and history of P&D by Guest Curator Anne Swartz , professor of art history at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
The rediscovery of Pattern and Decoration places it as a principal cultural movement of the late 1960s and 70s. It was in this period that the Hudson River Museum dramatically expanded under the then director Richard Koshalek. The Museum provided a platform for some of the larger scale artworks of this period that led to site-specific installations by Dan Flavin and Red Grooms, artists far removed from the P&D Movement. The Hudson River Museum had previously looked at some of the figures in P&D in its influential exhibition A New Beginning 1968-1978, one of the earliest attempts to reevaluate the art of that tumultuous decade. Brad Davis, Robert Kushner, Kim MacConnel, and Ned Smyth were all featured. The Museum brought to attention the appeal of both Robert Kushner and Miriam Shapiro, highlighting them in its 1998 exhibition Hanging by a Thread. Robert Zakanitch’s P&D work is one of the strengths of the Museum’s permanent collection.
The exhibition was organized by the Hudson River Museum and Guest Curator Dr. Anne Swartz. A fully illustrated catalogue, published by the Museum in conjunction with the exhibition with essays by Arthur Danto, John Perrault, Temma Balducci and Anne Swarz is available from the Museum Shop for $19.99. The catalogue was made possible, in part, by a grant from Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund.
The Hudson River Museum is located at 511 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers NY. Minutes from the Saw Mill River Parkway, exit 9, north or southbound. Information and directions: 914.963.4550 and www.hrm.org. Wed - Sun 12- 5 pm. Fridays 12-8 pm. Admission: Adults $5; Seniors 62 & older and youth 5-16 $3. Fridays 5 to 8 pm free.
The largest cultural institution in Westchester County, the Hudson River Museum is a multi-disciplinary complex that draws its identity from its site on the banks of the Hudson River, and seeks to broaden the cultural horizons of all its visitors. It engages in the presentation of exhibitions, programs, teaching initiatives, research, collection, preservation, and conservation – a wide range of activities that interpret its collections, interests and communities.