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September 9-12, 2021   Javits Center

Perspectives: Past as Present

Curated by Nora Burnett Abrams, Mark G. Falcone Director, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

Perspectives is a newly introduced section dedicated to historical artworks viewed through a contemporary lens. For its inaugural edition, Perspectives will bring together a range of projects that evoke the spirit of The Armory Show’s early years, when exhibitors offered daring, gritty, even whimsical presentations.

Art from the past can in many ways be understood as a catalyst for art of the present. Past as Present aims to generate new dialogues across generations and movements, both within each presentation and amongst the collection of presentations on view, ultimately offering new perspectives on the continuum of art history. Leading contemporary artists will be presented alongside influential historical figures, and lesser-known artists will be given a platform for rediscovery. Offering an unusual and unexpected look into the past, Perspectives will function as a nexus from which the many currents of thought represented elsewhere in the fair radiate.

— Nora Burnett Abrams, Mark G. Falcone Director, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

Project Descriptions:

Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, Crow Man, 1985

Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson (b.1940, Columbus, Ohio)
ACA Galleries, New York
Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson merges the deeply personal with the universally shared experiences of community and history. Her works are a contemporary expression of people, events, and histories that have been obscured, hidden, or under-recognized. The materiality of her work reflects the complex textures of her narratives.

Timothy Curtis (b.1982, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
albertz benda, New York
Timothy Curtis is a self-taught artist influenced by a unique style of graffiti writing that originated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the 1970s. He has developed this style into a deeply personal iconography that plays with the visual language of psychiatry. Curtis draws on the lineage of graffiti art while revisiting his signature inkblot lettering style at its largest scale to date. 

Pierre Soulages (b.1919, Rodez, France)
Legendary Abstract Expressionist Pierre Soulages uses only black paint and the reflection of light to create monumental, gestural works on canvas. Following his 100th birthday and a celebratory exhibition at the Louvre, Paris, this presentation spans five decades of the artist's work. 

Nan Goldin (b.1953, Washington, DC)
Weegee (1899–1968, Lemburg, Ukraine)
Caviar20, Toronto
This presentation by Caviar20, entitled Your Mirror, places late, experimental works by photographer Weegee, which distort and multiply the female form, alongside Nan Goldin's intimate photographs from the late 1980s and early 1990s. The two artists' works toy with the viewer's gaze, denying full access to their subjects' inner worlds, yet inviting myriad interpretations of these subjects.

Duane Michals (b. 1932, McKeesport, Pennsylvania)
DC Moore, New York
DC Moore will present a solo exhibition of photographer Duane Michals, known for his work with series, multiple exposures, and text. Over the past five decades, Michals has made significant, creative strides in the field of photography. During the 1960s, an era heavily influenced by photojournalism, Michals began manipulating his photographs to emphasize narrative, a practice borrowed from cinema's frame-by-frame format. Michals also began incorporating
text as a key component in his works, adding another dimension
to the images' meaning and giving voice to Michals' singular musings,
which are poetic, tragic, and humorous—often all at once.

David Beck (1953–2018, Muncie, Indiana)
Hackett Mill, San Francisco
Sculptor David Beck is revered for his employment of exotic materials, elaborate inlays, use of found materials, and references to folk and outsider art. His mixed-media constructions blend sophisticated style with the quotidian, creating enchanting, mysterious sculptures that hint at larger questions of memory and imagination.

Anton Ginzburg (b.1974, St. Petersburg, Russia)
Adolph Gottlieb (1903–1974, New York, New York)
Hans Hofmann (1880–1966, Bayern, Germany)
Kenneth Noland (1924–2010, Asheville, North Carolina)
Helwaser Gallery, New York
Helwaser Gallery's booth traces several different approaches to abstraction from the late 20th century onward. Drawing upon the gallery's specialization in post-war and contemporary art, the booth will include three generations of the New York art scene: Hans Hofmann, Adolph Gottlieb, and Kenneth Noland. Complementing this historical presentation will be a selection of works by contemporary artist Anton Ginzburg that effectively establishes a distinct lineage of abstract practice.

Georgie Hopton, Parliament, 2019

Georgie Hopton (b.1967, London, United Kingdom)
Gary Hume (b.1962, Tenterden, United Kingdom)
Lyndsey Ingram, London
Georgie Hopton's presentation of her organic, textural works contrast with the startling, colorful paintings of her husband, Gary Hume. This grouping generates unexpected connections as well as contrasts between her and Hume's work over the course of several decades, which cumulatively speak to the dynamic creative relationship between these two artists. 

Jana Vander Lee (b.1945, Lansing, Illinois)
Inman Gallery, Houston
Jana Vander Lee is an acclaimed fiber artist who was instrumental in bringing the medium into the mainstream fine art field in the 1970s and 1980s. Vander Lee's daring and innovative textile works are inspired by a variety of sources, such as her early life in the Dutch Calvinist church, her travels to the American Southwest to study Navajo weaving, and the American Fiber Arts movement. 

Josef Albers (1888–1976, Bottrop, Germany)
Bernd & Hilla Becher (1931–2007, 1934–2015, Potsdam, Germany)
Max Ernst (1891–1976, Brulh, Germany)
Imi Knoebel (b.1940, Dessau, Germany)
Gerhard Richter (b.1932, Dresden, Germany)
Ludorff, Dusseldorf
Max Ernst and Josef Albers act as historical reference points for this grouping, with younger artists' work responding to different strands of their Surrealist forebears. Gerhard Richter adheres to a more analytical approach to abstraction; the photography of Bernd and Hilla Becher reorients the medium toward a conceptual rigor; and the Minimalist paintings of Imi Knoebel demonstrate a relentless drive to push the boundaries of painting and photography.

Joseph Cornell (1903–1972, Nyack, New York)
Jan Dibbets (b.1941, Weert, The Netherlands)
Robert Indiana (1928–2018, New Castle, Indiana)
Brice Marden (b.1938, Bronxville, New York)
Fausto Melotti (1901–1986, Rovereto, Italy)
Giulio Paolini (b.1940, Genoa, Italy)
Cy Twombly (1928–2011, Lexington, Virginia)
Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York
This grouping's title, Broken Classicism, suggests how the artistic ideals of balance and harmony might be reconsidered as fragment and ruin. Cy Twombly's modern, graphic lettering of ancient authors' names, and Robert Indiana's contemporary interpretation of Greek stone markers, embody this theme of classicism—both mined and modified as a source of inspiration for contemporary artists. 

Gordon Matta-Clark (1943–1978, New York, New York)
Dennis Oppenheim (1938–2011, Electric City, Washington)
Antonio Ottomanelli (b.1982, Bari, Italy)
Angelo Savelli (1911–1995, Pizzo, Italy)
Salvatore Scarpitta (1919–2007, New York, New York)
Montrasio Arte, Monza, Milan, Innsbruck
Young Italian artist Antonio Ottomanelli is placed in direct dialogue with the radical work of American artists Dennis Oppenheim and Gordon Matta-Clark, highlighting how all these artists looked to architecture and landscape to inform their expressive photography. Similarly, the ceramics of Giacinto Cerone are linked with the masterpieces of Salvatore Scarpitta and Angelo Savelli through a shared tension between their materials and their innovative shapes.

Vija Celmins (b.1938, Riga, Latvia)
Richard Diebenkorn (1922–1993, Portland, Oregon)
Jasper Johns (b.1930, Augusta, Georgia)
Brice Marden (b.1938, Bronxville, New York)
Ed Ruscha (b.1937, Omaha, Nebraska)
Susan Sheehan Gallery, New York
The Hand Makers' Tale examines the groundbreaking work and legacy of female printmaking workshop founders and master printers in the mid-1980s. This selection of works was brought together in collaboration with Tatyana Grosman, founder of Universal Limited Art Editions; June Wayne, founder of Tamarind Lithography Workshop; Kathan Brown, master printer and founder of Crown Point Press; Leslie Miller, master printer and founder of The Grenfell Press; Doris Simmelink, master printer and founder of Simmelink/Sukimoto; and Jennifer Melby, master printer and founder of Jennifer Melby Editions, among others. This curated selection of prints celebrates the visions of and collaboration between renowned artists and printmakers.

Keith Haring (1958–1990, Reading, Pennsylvania)
David Hockney (b.1937, Bradford, United Kingdom)
Howard Hodgkin (1932–2017, London, United Kingdom)
Ellsworth Kelly (1923–2015, Newburgh, New York)
Howard Tangye (b.1948, Queensland, Australia)
State, London
Howard Tangye: Looking, Longing will showcase recent and historical works by Tangye alongside works by a diverse group of artists who have informed his practice. These works - selected by Tangye - include modern masters David Hockney, Howard Hodgkin, Ellsworth Kelly, and Keith Haring. The selected works' thematic thread is a sense of radical tenderness viewed through a queer lens.

Michael [Corinne] West, Dancing Figure, 1962

Arshile Gorky (1904–1948, Van Vilayet)
Hans Hofmann (1880–1966, Bayern, Germany)
Franz Kline (1910–1962, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania)
Richard Pousette-Dart (1916–1992, St. Paul, Minnesota)
Michael (Corinne) West (1908–1991, Chicago, Illinois) 
Hollis Taggart, New York
Michael West and the New York School positions Michael (Corinne) West within the culturally dynamic New York art scene during the Abstract Expressionism movement between the early 1940s and the 1960s. Until recently, West's career has been largely overlooked. This exhibition, featuring rare archival material, will contextualize her impact and agency during this pivotal time in art history. 

Yuichi Inoue (1916–1985, Tokyo, Japan)
Shigeki Kitani (1928–2009, Hyogo, Japan)
Shiryu Morita (1912–1998, Toyooka, Japan)
Erik Thomsen, New York
This presentation sets the powerful paintings of Gutai artist Shigeki Kitani in conversation with the gestural works of avant-garde sho (calligraphy) artists Yuichi Inoue and Shiryu Morita. The trajectory of their respective artistic practices mirrors some of the social and cultural changes in Japan from the 1950s through the 1980s. The choice of sho as a medium of expression poses profound questions about the nature of artistic globalization—and the contrasting claims of nativism and universalism.

Tim Youd (b.1967, Worcester, Massachusetts)
Cristin Tierney Gallery, New York
As a continuation of his 100 Novels project, performance artist Tim Youd will be retyping Oakley Hall's Warlock, an American Western novel based loosely on the historic shoot-out at the O.K. Corral. Each day, the sounds of Youd's typing will echo through the hallways of the fair as he retypes this fictional text onto a single page of paper. Relics of past performances in the booth refer to additional tumultuous episodes in American history. 

Yayoi Kusama (b.1929, Matsumoto, Japan)
Natsuyuki Nakanishi (1935–2016, Tokyo, Japan)
Jiro Takamatsu (1936–1998, Tokyo, Japan)
Whitestone, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Taipei
Whitestone Gallery will highlight the work of three post-war Japanese artists: Yayoi Kusama, Natsuyuki Nakanishi, and Jiro Takamatsu—three artists that were among the most influential of those engaged in advanced art practices in Japan between the 1950s and 1970s. The presentation will feature Kusama's thick Japanese paper works, named
"Shikishi," which she created between 1978 and 1984. The gallery's
selection of work by Takamatsu and Nakanishi makes clear how these
artists sought to eliminate the boundary between art and life. Together,
the booth aims to reveal the distinct historical influence of each artist.