Curated by Alex Bacon
Painting | before, after', curated by Alex Bacon and opening September 17 at Paul Rodgers/9W, presents in parallel the French movement of Supports/Surfaces from the late 1960's and early '70's and a contemporary generation of international artists.
Sep 17 - Oct 3: Daniel Dezeuze, Aaron Bobrow
Oct 08 - 22: Marc Devade, Jessica Sanders
Oct 24 - Nov 7: Jean-Pierre Pincemin, Alex Clarke
Nov 10 - 24: Claude Viallat, Dean Levin
Dec 08 - 22: Supports/Surfaces: Cane, Devade, Dezeuze, Pincemin
Painting | before, after, curated by Alex Bacon and opening September 17 at Paul Rodgers/9W, presents in parallel the French movement of Supports/Surfaces from the late 1960's and early '70's and a contemporary generation of international artists. It pairs, in a series of five micro-exhibitions stretching across the fall months,: Daniel Dezeuze with Aaron Bobrow; Marc Devade with Jessica Sanders; Jean-Pierre Pincemin with Alex Clarke; Claude Viallat with Dean Levin. A fifth micro-exhibition, begining December 8, will reunite the four artists from Supports/Surfaces, Cane, Devade, Dezeuze, and Pincemin.
It has been said that Supports/Surfaces was perhaps the last genuine avant-garde movement of the twentieth century. It sparked a polemically motivated debate within the international contemporary art scene of the period and sought to define a new identity for contemporary art. Supports/Surfaces wanted to separate itself from both the post-cubist abstraction of the French École de Paris and the school of formalist abstraction being practiced in New York at the time. Active when doubts were being raised about the validity of painting, Supports/Surfaces shared much with the conceptualist outlook of Robert Smithson and with the Italian movement of Arte Povera. It placed an emphasis on exploring new critical approaches to contemporary art alongside its creative endeavor. In this, it functioned in association with the profound re-evaluation of modern criticism by Tel Quel, a French literary group which published a magazine under this name from 1960 to 1982. The leading members of Supports/Surfaces developed their ideas in their own journal Peinture, cahiers théoriques, which was modeled on Tel Quel, and published texts by leading Tel Quel writers along with their own. Today it is a misunderstanding to evaluate Supports/Surfaces in the terms of the formalist critical discourse of the period which it rejected and sought to replace. To understand the contribution of Supports/Surfaces, it is necessary to combine their work and thinking. For this reason, the term of 'zombie abstraction', which has recently had such success with the pundits, should perhaps be replaced with 'zombie criticism'.
To challenge the exclusion of painting in favor of sculpture, or of something less specific on the order of objects, concepts, and performance, Supports/Surfaces argued for the re-examination of painting practice against the background of modern art, advocating its renewal. Today, its work looks vigorous and full of future promise. A new generation represented by Bobrow, Sanders, Clarke, and Levin has taken note. These young and talented artists look at Supports/ Surfaces as one key aspect of a very complex post-war art world, spanning American and European practice, and consider it in the context of their own particular concerns in a contemporary world greatly changed from the 1970's. That this exchange can take place between artists who began their work forty years apart is a testimony to the cause of creative intelligence which remains the same across generations and time.