Gallery Guide Art of the 1970s

Page 1

A Capstone Exhibition (ART498) May 1-July 22 Orpha Webster Gallery MIAMI UNIVERSITY



ARTMUSEUM The art museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums. Miami University ARTMUSEUM 801 South Patterson Avenue Oxford, OH 45056 (513) 529-2232 Museum Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday 12 p.m.-5 p.m. Sunday-Monday CLOSED Construction of the Miami University Art Museum in 1978 was made possible by private contributions to Miami University’s Goals for Enrichment capital campaign in the mid-1970s. A major gift for the building came as a bequest from Miami alumnus Fred C. Yager, class of 1914. Walter Netsch, the museum’s architect, Walter I. Farmer, class of 1935, and Orpha B. Webster generously donated extensive art collections and were instrumental in developing early support for the museum. Art Museum Staff: Debbie Caudill, Program Assistant Cynthia Collins, Curator of Education Mark DeGennaro, Preparator Sue Gambrell, Program Coordinator Laura Henderson, Collections Manager/Registrar Sherri Krazl, Coordinator of Marketing and Communications Jason E. Shaiman, Curator of Exhibitions Robert S. Wicks, Ph.D., Director Exhibition Logo Designed by: Caroline Farris and Kara Isabella Gallery Guide by: Sherri Krazl

A Capstone Exhibition (ART498) This exhibition is the final project for the Spring 2012 Senior Capstone seminar, a new approach to the course developed by Professor Pepper Stetler for the Art and Architecture History major at Miami University. With the guidance of Dr. Stetler and Curator of Exhibitions Mr. Jason Shaiman, students worked collaboratively and individually in the completion of all the necessary stages of the curatorial process, from selecting artworks from the 1970s in the museum’s collection to writing associated texts and designing the exhibition logo and layout. Active classroom discussions based on texts by numerous scholars of the period provided the essential foundation for the production of this show. Additionally, each student was required to conduct research on the work of several artists of the 1970s, including those chosen for the exhibition. The results of their research were presented in class and in term papers on the works of art here displayed.

ART498 ~ Class of 2012 Greg Ahrns Caroline Farris Regina Garcia Emma Gregory

Brooke Hess Chloe Hines Kara Isabella Alyssa Johansen Heather Kenton

Sydney Kreuzmann Kelsey Novotny Rachel Satterfield Marian Wiesler

We thank Dr. Stetler and Mr. Shaiman for creating this opportunity for our class, and extend our gratitude to Dr. Robert Wicks, Laura Henderson, Mark DeGennaro, Sherri Krazl and the Center for the Enhancement of Learning, Teaching, and University Assesment (CELTUA) for their support of this project.

The 1970s: An Eclectic Art Invasion Everyone has a preconceived idea of what the 70’s were about, whether it was experienced first-hand or not. This idea is formulated through the collection of images produced during the 1970’s. The Vietnam War presented the general public with a view into the struggles of war. Along with it came droves of protest imagery. The disco scene sprung to life and with it came bellbottom jeans, sideburns, and platform shoes. All of these images collaborate to resonate as the definition of what the decade was. Artists invaded the visual history by breaking away from definitions set by previous generations. During this period the art became more about the process of creation rather than the end result of the work itself. Creating art became a performance to be documented and shared with the masses. Artists used the documentation to comment on the state of the nation as well as the state of their own art scene. What was commonly accepted within the walls of the museum was being challenged. As can be seen in this exhibition, artists in the 70’s sought to inflect their work with relevance to our modern world.


Vito Acconci (American, b. 1940) Three Adaptation Studies, Blindfolded, Catching, 1970 Silverprint photographs; 10 x 8 in. (each) Gift of James H. and Frances R. Allen 2002.46-2002.50 American artist Vito Acconci is known for his unique performances, photography and installation art. Acconci fully engages the viewer in his artwork, thus transforming art from (static to dynamic) by forcing his audience to become decision makers and political activists. As a Conceptual artist, Acconci plays with the idea of perception and emphasizes the distinction between public and private experiences, thereby challenging these boundaries.

In most of his pieces, including Three Adaptation Studies, Blindfolded, Catching, he uses his own body as the subject, thus creating an intimate relationship with his audience. Acconci repeatedly subjects himself to violence from others to challenge the notion of masculinity, identity, and victimization. Here he uses photography to document an act of emasculation, as a rubber ball is repeatedly thrown at him while he has no way of protecting himself. This dislocation of normative subjectivity and redefined identity marks Acconci as one of the most influential Conceptual artists of his time. Written by Heather Kenton


Leon Golub (American, 1922-2004) Pinochet, from the Portraits of Power Series, 1977 Acrylic on unprimed linen; 16 x 22 in. Gift of American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York City, Hassam and Speicher Purchase Fund; 1984.1 This portrait of the former Chilean right-wing dictator belongs to a series of over a hundred images Leon Golub produced in the late 1970s that depict public figures from all sides of the political spectrum. The rise of communist leaders in South America in the 1970s resulted in their overthrow by military coups. Golub aimed to relate art to the external world. The misuse of authority by these men oriented the artist’s pictorial investigations of the world of power. Golub embraced painting for the duration of his five-decade career, demonstrating that the medium remained valid for many artists despite the dominance of Conceptual Art in the 1970s. As in the example of Pinochet, Golub did not idealize forms. Instead, he conveyed likeness according to his own aesthetic choices. Golub made his subject flat and ordinary, as if asking, “Is this man really a head of state?” Written by Regina Garcia


James Rosenquist (American, b. 1933) America’s Favorite, 1975 Silkscreen on paper Number 66 of an edition of 125; 30 x 22 1/4 in. Miami University Art Museum Purchase 1981.138 American artist James Rosenquist is widely considered a key figure of the Pop Art Movement. He worked with bold colors and disparate imagery collaged together to effectively depict popular culture and the modern consumerbased American lifestyle. For Rosenquist, the 1970s brought about the question of temporality and fleeting moments of meaning. Connections that had once seemed standard or acceptable could be changed, broken and altered. This thought drew heavily from the social scene of the time. Rosenquist himself went to Washington DC, in the early 1970s in order to fight for the rights of artists, mainly on the topic of resale royalties to which artists had previously not been entitled. America’s Favorite was printed during this period and is one of 125 prints comprising Rosenquist’s Artists Rights Today portfolio. When viewing the piece, the observer can see the grouping of images that may be easily recognizable to a consumer in the modern world (the detergent box, a man’s belt, the bobby pin). But, as is his style, Rosenquist catches the viewers’ attention by throwing the banal images in their faces, while addressing a greater and more complex issue. Written by Emma Gregory


Stephen Livick (Canadian, b. England 1946) Untitled, 1974 Hand colored photograph on watercolor paper; 16 x 20 in. Gifts of Mr. and Mrs. Sanford Z. Friedman; 1980.14.2.b


Stephen Livick (Canadian, b. England 1946) Untitled, mid-1970s Hand colored photograph on watercolor paper; 16 x 20 in. Gifts of Mr. and Mrs. Sanford Z. Friedman; 1980.14.2.c Born in England before moving to Canada during his childhood, Stephen Livick did not receive a formal education in photography before taking up camera work in 1965. When speaking of his work, Livick says, “I consider my photographs to be my statement. Photography is something that is just in me. Being an image-maker was not a conscious decision on my part—I’ve never really considered anything else.”

Similar to many artists working in the 1970s, Livick’s photographs demonstrate the result of a personal inner quest to reaffirm his existence in the world. As a self-defined recluse, Livick portrays lone figures in these images that have only the surrounding environment to connect them to the world. The remote and isolated appearance of these locations adds to this reclusive theme. The layered process he uses to produce these images enhances the self-reflexive quality of these untitled photographs. Working with transparency film, he then separates the image with the use of laser technology and mixes watercolor pigments and gum arabic to achieve the desired result. These scenes reflect Livick’s interest in recording American landscapes during the 1970s, also seen in the photograph, High Tension Wires (#7). Written by Brooke Hess


Nancy Holt (American, b. 1938) Star-Crossed, 1979-1981 Earth, concrete, grass and water 168 x 224 x 480 x 300 in. Cooperative effort of the artist; Visual Arts Club; School of Fine Arts 50th Anniversary; Ohio Arts Council Grant; School of Interdisciplinary Studies; Miami University Art Museum; Department of Architecture; Department of Art; Alumni and Development Funds, and Walter A. Netsch. Donations of time and material by Price Bros. Co., Sizemore Excavators, Antenan Construction Co., and Miami University Grounds and Physical Plant; 1979.S.0.3 Best known for her contributions to the Land Art movement, Nancy Holt designed Star-Crossed, an earthwork inspired by both the stars and the archeological past of Ohio. The grassy hill echoes the structure of the ancient Native American burial mounds of the area, while the tunnels emphasis the astronomy surrounding Oxford. Nancy Holt’s sculpture is based on the observation that true north and magnetic north are closely aligned with the longitude of Oxford. The earthwork is oriented so that on clear nights when looking up through the north/south tunnel, the viewer will have perfect sight of the North Star, and when looking down from the top of the mound, the stars are reflected back into the oval pool below. The east/west tunnel operates as a walkway that gives viewers a framed view of nature in the day or night. Like many of her site-specific sculptures, Star-Crossed works in concert with its natural surroundings and draws attention to aspects of a landscape that are often overlooked. The piece illustrates the idea that art should be accessible to everyone and be able to operate outside the confining space of a gallery. Written by Alyssa Johansen


Stephen Livick (Canadian, b. England 1946) High Tension Wires, 1977 Black and white photograph; 11 7/8 x 19 3/4 in. Gifts of Mr. and Mrs. Sanford Z. Friedman; 1980.14.2.a


Mario Algaze (American, b. Cuba, 1947) Carretas, 1979 Silver gelatin photograph, selenium toned 15 1/4 x 16 in. Gift of John A. and Linda Snook Adams (‘64 and ‘65) 1984.152


Charles Harper (American, 1922-2007) Raccrobat, 1978 Serigraph on paper 16 x 11 1/2 in. Gift of Gretchen C. Morgenson from the estate of Rebecca A. Morgenson 2010.4.1 Charles (Charley) Harper was born on a farm in West Virginia, which sparked his love and appreciation of animals. He graduated from the Art Academy of Cincinnati and taught there for many years, while also working in commercial illustration.

Harper worked in a simplified style he coined as “minimal realism.” A wildlife artist, he reduced the forms to basic shapes to better understand animals. Harper stated, “I never count the feathers in the wings – I just count the wings.” He crafts a visual ecosystem involving color, shape and line, often creating laughable and playful creatures. Raccrobat is a whimsical illustration featuring a raccoon and butterfly, created with a t-square and compass. By simplifying the forms, Harper depicts only the essence of the animals. An increase in environmental awareness in the 1970s helped to bring popularity to Harper’s work. Harper focused on protecting, conserving and raising awareness of the natural world through his highly stylized graphics and posters for the U.S. National Park Service, Cincinnati Nature Center and the Hamilton County Ohio Park District.

Harper created a mosaic, titled Web of Life, that resides in Pearson Hall on the Miami University campus. It was completed in 1986 for the Department of Microbiology and features more than 80 images, from micro-organisms to large mammals. Through the use of fanciful imagery, Charley Harper has given environmentalism new life and appreciation. Written by Kara Isabella


Robert Motherwell (American, 1915-1991) Open Series, No. 10, 1972 Open Series, No. 16, 1972 Serigraphs on paper 28 1/4 x 41 in. (each) Gift of Anthony Olivieri Number 11 of an edition of 150, 1979.PR.14.97 Number 126 of an edition of 150, 1979.PR.14.96 Robert Motherwell intended his art to be an “accumulation” of cultural and personal history. He studied philosophy at Stanford and Harvard Universities, providing the foundation from which he launched his artmaking career. The prints shown here are from Motherwell’s Open Series. They feature fields of color that are meant to instill the viewer with peace of mind and tranquility. Motherwell borrows this technique from Japanese Zen painting, which sought to promote self-reflection. He finished each work in the series with a quick, spontaneous mark on the canvas to ensure the image’s harmony. Motherwell also incorporated the Jungian universal archetype. He used the same format of lines and color throughout the Open series to express different personal meanings and emotions. Motherwell included emotion in his work, allowing himself to detach from the impersonal trend that he felt art was following. He was one of the many artists pushing to challenge what was expected and emerge from the stringent rules of the previous decades. Written by Greg Ahrns


Frank Stella (American, b. 1936) Konskie (sketch), from the Polish Village series, 1972 Mixed media collage 33 1/2 x 30 1/2 in. Gift of James H. and Frances R. Allen 2010.34 American artist Frank Stella is renowned for his minimalist tendencies and perhaps best known for his Black Paintings done in the 1950s. His later works from the Polish Village series represent a deviation from the flatness of the black stripe in favor of a new approach to artistic representation, one full of color, depth and new materials beyond paint and canvas. In 1970, Stella was given a book entitled “Wooden Synagogues� during an extended hospital stay after knee surgery. The book documented the destruction of buildings in Polish villages after the Nazi invasion. This served as an acute parallel to the political atmosphere of Stella’s own time as the situation in Vietnam continued to intensify. He produced a series of 40 pencil drawings, which he later developed into multimedia sketches on graph paper, like the one seen here. The ensuing works in the Polish Village series done from the sketches were usually executed in four versions and were massive. They were often produced with flat materials collaged onto canvas, with raised materials mounted on a wooden support. Konskie III, for instance, is a multimedia wall piece that is roughly nine feet high and eight feet wide. This particular work is a sketch, a single step within a larger process. For Stella, art begins as a concept, achieved by connecting parts together to create a much grander visual experience. There is no product without process. Written by Sydney Kreuzmann


Louise Nevelson (American, b. Russia, 1899-1988) Rain Garden Zag IX, 1978 Wood, painted black 45 1/2 x 71 1/2 x 9 in. Gift of Western College Alumnae Association, Inc. 1980.37 Russian-American sculptor Louise Nevelson is widely known for her threedimensional collages, referred to as “walls” by the artist. These structures are the result of compiled wooden objects that Nevelson found on the streets of New York City where she resided for much of her life. While not all of her works are painted black, most of them are monochromatic with black, white or gold occurring most frequently. Although many viewers seek to find meaning in the powerful depths of the black paint, the answer is simple: there is none. The paint is used to disguise the materials and eliminate any chance of illusion within her work. Through the unifying color, the individual pieces used in Nevelson’s work adopt a new life and a new value, as a sculpture. Highly influenced by Cubism and frequently using pieces of old furniture, these sculptures often have the appearance of architectural constructs. Among the strong shapes and lines created by the assemblage of discarded items, heavy shadows serve to provide just as much influence on the viewer by adding depth to an already powerful style. Though Nevelson’s works were given meaning by the Feminist movement of the 1970s, claiming that the simultaneously hidden and exposed sculptures resembled the nature of women, the artist herself did not intentionally instill this message in her art. Nevelson wished to avoid any one particular interpretation of her work and, instead, offered the viewer a myriad of images and meanings from which they could personally choose. Written by Marian Wiesler


Robert Rauschenberg (American, 1925-2008) Sub Total, 1971 Three-color lithograph Number 243 of an edition of 500 Gift of Rodney F. Rose and Jeffrey L. Horrell 8 3/16 x 12 5/8 in.; 1997.428


Jim Dine (American, b. 1935) A Tool Box, 1966 A portfolio of seven works, serigraphs and mixed media on paper; Number 128 of an edition of 150; 18 3/4 x 23 3/4 in. Gift of James H. and Frances R. Allen Handle, 1999.5.6; Vise, 1999.5.1; Mixed Tools, 1999.5.7 The portfolio A Tool Box displays an aesthetic shift in the career of Jim Dine, who is commonly identified as a Pop artist of the 1960s. During the 1970s, his art began encompassing the grid as an emblem of modernity and a form of compositional organization. The arrangement of objects such as metal pipes and a paperclip against a gridded background clearly defines their placement and creates an industrial atmosphere for the viewer.

From a distance, the stark white paper diminishes the sheer lines of the grid, making the objects appear as if they are floating within the frame. However, as the viewer approaches the work, a new perspective is recognized. This particular work forms a balance between Dine’s distinguished graphite drawings and the more invasive graphics of the 1970s. Also in accordance with Dine’s career in Pop Art is the photo-realist quality of the objects, yet the use of color is abandoned for a simplified effect.

During the 1970s, artists and scholars alike concerned themselves with a formal critique of art as both practice and product. This critique took the art world by storm and incited a rebellion against traditional artistic practices and painting. Today, art historians recognize the grid as both a symbol of modernity and a formal practice attempted by numerous artists to define their works spatially, temporally, and compositionally. A Tool Box is an exemplary utilization of the grid in that it appropriately uses a tool of art to represent domestic tools to the viewer. Written by Chloe Hines


Murray Alcosser (American, 1937-1992) Chinese Vegetables, ca. 1978 Photograph 40 x 30 in. Gift of Louis K. and Susan P. Meisel 2009.32

16 Paul Cadmus (American, 1904-1999) Male Nude, 1979 Pastel on paper 11 3/4 x 23 in. Miami University Art Museum Purchase 1979.D.19.1 Paul Cadmus grew up in a family of artists and never doubted that his career would be the same. As a child, Cadmus had poor health. Instead of spending time outside, he would spend time watching people, a lifelong hobby that contributed to his artwork. He went to the National Academy of Design at age 15, and it was there that he was introduced to the nude model in a classical manner. When he began working in the 1920s, modernism was at its peak but Cadmus rejected this new art form and favored the formal and stylistic conventions of earlier times. In the early 1930s, he traveled abroad and strengthened his skills by studying and observing European artistic traditions. His greatest influences were the masters of the Italian Renaissance because of their ability to depict the human body with simplicity and clarity, as depicted in the Male Nude. Although his work may not seem controversial now, Cadmus tested the boundaries of American culture. He favored the nude male body as an art form and was among the first artists to openly express their homosexuality. His ideas are bold but his style is delicate and classical. He was determined for people to see the male nude as a plausible subject, because to him “the naked man is the most beautiful thing there is.� Written by Rachel Satterfield


Dieter Roth, (German, 1930-1998) Untitled (from the portfolio, Dogs), 1979 Lithographs Number 27 of an edition of 100 19 3/4 x 13 3/4 in. (each) Gift of Steven Sohacki 1979.PR.12.57g-j Born in Germany in 1930, Dieter Roth established himself in the art world as a master of mediums and a bandit from traditional art making. This artist, poet, filmmaker, photographer, designer, graphic artist and musician was a prodigy of creativity, who dispensed his restless thoughts without boundaries. His disregard for rules and the precedents set before him were precisely the qualities that established Roth as an exemplary 1970s artist. Frequently on the road by himself, Roth became fascinated with the transience of life and the grit of humanity, qualities that are consistent even in his very diverse body of work. Based on several hundred “speedy sketches” that he drew simultaneously with both hands, Roth created the portfolio titled Dogs. His sketches were then photographed, compiled and offset to create color lithographs. The portfolio consists of twelve prints and one original drawing. The works are imbued with color and organized chaos, depicting dogs in various stages of abstraction. This work illustrates Roth’s inventive visual precautions as he carried his ideas thematically through a cycle of media, exploring the range of possibilities for his many avenues of artistry. Written by Kelsey Novotny


Buckminster Fuller (American, 1895-1983) Complex of Jitterbugs, ca. 1976 Stainless steel, etched copper and polished chrome 74 1/2 x 28 in. (diameter) Gift of Patricia Wenzel Wolf 1982.183 Buckminster Fuller was a multi-dimensional artist. Architect, engineer, inventor, mathematician, cartographer, philosopher, poet, teacher—no professional category can describe him exclusively. However, his dynamic nature is consistent with other artists from the 1970s. After being rejected by the business world, he turned a hobby, abstract thinking, into a weekly activity. Fuller and many well-known figures of the time frequently met at a café in New York City to toss around innovative ideas and theories. This stimulating activity sparked Fuller to transform his thoughts into something tangible. He set out to discover and unveil the inner workings of nature’s systems. From his architecture to his inventions and his sculpture, Fuller’s lifelong intrigue with nature’s basic systems is evident through the visual aspects of his work.

In this kinetic sculpture from the 1970s, 11 single cell “jitterbugs” come together to create a sensational visual experience. The geometric metal cells can be adjusted manually to create other completely different shapes. Fuller describes this transformation as “spheres becoming spaces and spaces becoming spheres.” In this work, Fuller’s sculpture finds a rare balance between an accurate mathematical concept and an aesthetic triumph – an accomplishment unique to Fuller. Written by Caroline Farris


Claes Oldenburg (American, b. Sweden, 1929); Icebag, Scale B, 1971 Plastic, sailcloth, wood, metal (motorized parts); Number 6 of 25 Gift of Walter A. and Dawn Clark Netsch; 36 x 46 in. (diameter); 1986.44

Millions discover their favorite reads on issuu every month.

Give your content the digital home it deserves. Get it to any device in seconds.