Issues in Contemporary Art: The Persistence of Painting

  • Thu, Oct 11, 1990
    (This event has already happened.)

    The persistence of painting in contemporary art makes it increasingly difficult to think of the medium as an artistically obsolete or socially irrelevant act. While this remark may seem absurd to both casual and serious observers of art, painting has suffered numerous “deaths” at the hands of artists, critics, and historians alike over the past 150 years, and yet, it still persists. Once again painting appears to engender communicative, expressive, sexual, and informative traits that no other medium or expression can replace or fulfill. Consequently, there is a renewed commitment to and faith in painting among contemporary artists and a renewed interest in it among their audience that can only be described in general terms as something human. Despite the advent of photography, the reductive reign of Modernism, the influence of popular culture, and the strain of media technology on art, painting persists. As a historically grounded object and an anthropologically expressive act, it continues to be beautiful and meaningful, relevant to human life, and emblematic of both personal and social knowledge and experience.

    Anne Rorimer will give an overview of particular, conceptually-oriented manners of painting developed in Europe in the late 1960s and continued today, as evidenced in the work of such artists as Daniel Buren, Olivier Mosset, Blinky Palermo, Gerhard Richter, and Niele Toroni. Given Modernism’s reductive, minimalist, end-game formalism and its subsequent total destruction of material reality, these artists and others have devised ways in which to conceptually and emotionally rationalize the continued meaningfulness of painting. Ms. Rorimer will also address Swiss artist Niele Tornoni’s painted installation at The Renaissance Society.

    Anne Rorimer is a former curator of 20th Century Painting and Sculpture at The Art Institute of Chicago, where she co-organized the Institute’s 72nd, 73rd, and 74th American Exhibitions, as welll as its seminal Europe in the 70s exhibition, among others. Ms. Rorimer has written numerous catalogue essays for The Renaissance Society, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.