The Hunter College Art Galleries are will present CONCEPTUAL ABSTRACTION, on view from October 5 - November 10, 2012. The exhibition offers a revealing cross-section through abstract painting of the last two decades. Its starting point is the 1991 exhibition Conceptual Abstraction held at the Sidney Janis Gallery, renowned for its representation of historic abstract artists. The 1991 show brought together a new generation of abstract painters, demonstrating that abstraction remained a vital mode of creation in an art world then dominated by figurative art. This new iteration of CONCEPTUAL ABSTRACTION reunites the twenty painters from the 1991 show, presenting one older and one more recent painting by each artist. What seemed quixotic in 1991 today looks prescient. Rather than trying to revive historic abstraction, the remarkably varied work of the twenty artists in the exhibition expresses the experience of American life at the beginning of the twenty-first century: sometimes brutal, sometimes lyrical, sometimes gleamingly industrial, sometimes delicately handmade. Cumulatively, the exhibition shows how and why abstraction has, once again, become the most exciting current in contemporary art.
The Hunter College Art Galleries, under the auspices of the Department of Art and Art History, have been a vital aspect of the New York cultural landscape since their inception over a quarter-century ago. This exhibition, curated by Pepe Karmel, Associate Professor in the Department of Art History, New York University, and Joachim Pissarro, Bershad Professor of Art History and Director of the Hunter College Art Galleries, builds on a long tradition of creative interchange between art history and studio art at Hunter, where abstract art has always occupied a key place in the curriculum. It confirms the historic role of the Department of Art and Art History, not just as a mirror of the New York art world, but as an active participant.
CONCEPTUAL ABSTRACTION is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an introductory essay and catalogue entries by Pepe Karmel. Programming for the exhibition will include a panel discussion of the historic 1991 exhibition at Sidney Janis, and lectures exploring the latest developments in contemporary abstraction.
This exhibition is possible thanks to the generous support of Thomas Ammann Fine Art AG, Zurich, The Bershad Exhibitions Fund, The Broad Art Foundation, The Steven A. and Alexandra M. Cohen Foundation, Dorothy Lichtenstein, Ninah and Michael Lynne, Robert Mnuchin, L&M Arts, Tracey and Phillip Riese, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin M. Rosen, and YoungArts.
CONCEPTUAL ABSTRACTION will be on view from October 5 - November 10 at the Hunter College/Times Square Gallery, 450 West 41st Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues (south side). A special opening reception will be held on October 4 from 6-8 pm.