Neo-Expressionismlate 1960s/1970s-1980sThe Return of the Easel Painting
Neo-Expressionism• The global situation also contributed to the moment.• Beginning in the 1960s and throughout the 1970s, artists question the institution of art.• The question, What is art? lead many to re-evaluate their work on canvas.• The trend of appropriation art, Conceptualism and Minimalism, and Feminism leads is met with a backlash.• Painting, easel painting especially, falls back in favor after the colossal works of Abstract Expressionists and Earthwork artists cause the art market to demand smaller, more portable canvases.• Most Neo-Expressionist work exploits the taboo and primal to create surrealistic images and nightmarish scenes.• Neo-Expressionism helped to re-establish European artists in the contemporary art scene.
Neo-Expressionism• Neo-Expressionists develop independently of one another, a product of their own individual situation and not as some universal codified movement.• Neo-Expressionists welcome the object, utilize metaphor, allegory and narrative, paint with bravura brushwork rich color and diverse style.• Unlike most modernist schools, Neo-Expressionists do not reject the past. Instead, they revisit it and reject modernist boundaries to explore elements of traditional painting obscured by modernist aesthetic.• For the most part, Neo-Expressionists have little in common in terms of style.
Neo-Expressionism• American artists looked the the expressionism of Picasso who lived until 1973 and left behind one of the most diverse and prolific portfolios amongst artists even today.• The Guggenheim’s hosting of a 1983 exhibition of Picasso’s final decade was instrumental in restoring the influence the artist had over younger generations.• The Picasso previously discarded by modernists Pablo Picasso, Reclining Woman and Man Playing Guitar, 1970. Oil on canvas, 51 1/8” x 76 was again relevant. ¾”. Musée Picasso, Paris.
German Neo-ExpressionismCharacteristics of Neo-Expressionism•As a style, Neo-Expressionism develops in 1960s Germany anddominates until the 1980s.•Most who are labeled Neo-Expressionist reject the title.•For German Neo-Expressionists in particular the style served as away to counter the dominating presence of American and Sovietinfluence, especially its abstract style of painting.•Neo-Expressionism is related to Lyrical Abstraction, Bay AreaFiguration, Pop art, and New Image art.•Neo-Expressionist painters do not reject the painterly as manyhad before them, they embrace the expressive potential of themedium and re-institute traditional easel painting.•German Neo-Expressionism focuses on the deformation of thefigure, the power of subject matter, and effervescent color.
German Neo-ExpressionismCharacteristics of Neo-Expressionism•New-Expressionists are descendantsof late 19th and early 20th centuryExpressionists including Kirchner,Munch, and Kandinsky. – They are sometimes referred to as Neue Wilden (New Wild Ones or New Fauves).•Neo-Expressionists make use of boldenergetic brushstrokes and re-introduce the object, in both realistic Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893.and abstract ways, to the canvas. Oil and tempera on board 35 ¾ x 29”. The National Gallery, Oslo Norway.
German Neo-Expressionism• Georg Baselitz (b. 1938)• Markus Lüpertz (b. 1941)• A. R. Penck (b. 1939)• Jörg Immendorff (1945-2007)• Sigmar Polke (1941-2010)• Gerhard Richter (b. 1932)• Anselm Kiefer (b.1945)
Neo-ExpressionismGeorg Baselitz (b.1938)•This work was first shown asBaselitz’s first solo show in 1963 inBerlin.•Along with the other 50 works, it wasviewed by the public as obscene.•This work in particular wasconfiscated, the artist and owners ofthe gallery fined.•The artist continues to consider thishis masterwork. Georg Baselitz, Die grosse Nacht im Eimer,(The Big Night Down The Drain ), 1962-63. Oil on canvas, 98” x 71”. Royal Academy of Arts, London.
Neo-ExpressionismGeorg Baselitz (b.1938)•What was so controversial to thepublic is natural for the artist.•This self-portrait of the artistmasturbating is of no consequence tothe artist who sees exposure of thebody and its functions as non-events,or at least none that are punishable orcriminal.•For Baselitz, his work is aconfrontation of postwar Germany.•His style a direct challenge to the Georg Baselitz, Die grosse Nacht imAmerican abstraction that dominated Eimer,(The Big Night Down The Drain ),the arts. 1962-63. Oil on canvas, 98” x 71”. Royal Academy of Arts, London.
Neo-ExpressionismGeorg Baselitz (b.1938)•In this detail, one sees theworking of the pigment, thesculpting of the paint.•Baselitz infused his paintingwith psychological dimensionand utilized his art tochallenge Germany’savoidance of reality.•His works feature anti-heroes.•His style features richly Georg Baselitz, Detail of Die grosse Nachtanimated brushwork and im Eimer,(The Big Night Down The Drain ),diversity of color. 1962-63. Oil on canvas, 98” x 71”. Royal Academy of Arts, London.
Neo-Expressionism• His 1983 painting is an homage to Die Brücke, a German Expressionist school admired by German Neo- Expressionists.• Evident in Der Brückenchor is Baselitz characteristic stroke and playful canvas, he became famous for his upside down canvases.• Der Brückenchor is characteristic of the movement in its vibrant colors and animated Georg Baselitz, Der Brückenchor, (The Brücke Chair), 1983. Oil on canvas, 9’2 ½” brushwork. x 14’ 11”. Private Collection.
Neo-ExpressionismGeorg Baselitz (b.1938)•Baelitz’s work breathes new life to GermanExpressionism of the past in attempt toescape American abstraction and Sovietrealism.•His figure of the heroic man, aniconography he developed throughout1964-1966 was a symbol of German pride, acounter to the personalities of Americanartists whose work was being pushed onEuropeans in the American campaign for Georg Baselitz, Untitledcultural dominance and fight against (Figure with Raised Arm), 1982-84. Limewood and oil,Communism. 8’3” x 28” x 18”. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.
Neo-ExpressionismGeorg Baselitz (b.1938)•His figures, as modeled in the imagefigured, are monumental in scale and standabove a devastated Germany.•His sculptures were psychological portraitsof all Germans defeated after the war, a littleembarrassed and ashamed for its role.•His working of the wood is rudimentary andthus allows the quality of the material toremain evident.•He adds minimal color to the body as if only Georg Baselitz, Untitledto pronounce certain parts and allowing the 1982-84. with Raised and oil, (Figure Arm), Limewoodnatural material to dominate. 8’3” x 28” x 18”. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.
• His figures demand comparison to the images created by Giacometti. • While Giacometti exhibits existentialist angst, Baselitz infuses his figure with nationalist pride. • Giacometti’s Walking Man I sold at auction for a staggering $100.4 Georg Baselitz, Untitled million dollars in (Figure with Raised Arm),Alberto Giacometti, Walking February 2010 to a 1982-84. Limewood and oil,Man I, 1960. Bronze, 72” x private collector. 8’3” x 28” x 18”. Scottish 10 3/16” x 37 9/16”. National Gallery of Modern Collection Lily Safra. Art, Edinburgh.
Neo-ExpressionismMarkus Lüpertz (b. 1941)•Like his contemporary, Lüpertz used hispainting to establish his independent identityas an artist reacting most strongly to the CoolSchool of the 1960s.•His style is characterized by vibrant color,expressionist brushstrokes, and inventivesubject matter.•His work is political and opinionated.•He aligned himself with the work of Picabia,Picasso, and Pollock.•This image includes his controversialinvented and taboo imagery of Germanmilitary paraphernalia and emblems. Markus Lüpertz, Schwarz-Rot- Gold I, 1974. Distemper on•His imagery challenges viewers to deal with canvas, 102 ¼” x 78 ¾”. Thehistory and reality. Albertina, Austria, Vienna.
Neo-ExpressionismA. R. Penck (b. 1939)•Penck represents the exiledartist, his work deals withhaving to come to terms withhis identity.•Self-taught, Penck settled inthe stick-figure as his personalvocabulary.•He mixes “human” figures withprimitive-looking graffiti,hieroglyphs, and folkloriccontent. A. R. Penck, The Red Airplane, 1985. Oil on canvas, 3’11” x 6’ 10 ½”. Private Collection.
Neo-ExpressionismJörg Immendorff (1945-2007)•This piece famously called for artists to stoppainting unless political motivated.•His work rejects traditional painting.•The artist claimed in 1976, "I am for a formof art that sees itself as one of the manymeans through which human society can bechanged."•This piece shows the influence of artistJoseph Beuys, his teacher at the ArtAcademy in Dusseldorf.•His work is socially conscious andmotivated. Jörg Immendorff, Hört auf zu•His personal style is conceptually based and malen! (Stop Painting), 1966.highly realistic. Synthetic resin on canvas, 53” x 53”. Collection unpublished.
Neo-Expressionism Jörg Immendorff (1945-2007) •Like Lüpertz, Immendorf frequently used insignia associated with National Socialist Germany as clichés, signs for universal evils. •His café scenes were usually heavily filled with political imagery and iconography. •Unlike his contemporaries, Immendorf did not reference Die Brücke or Der Blaue Reiter but instead looked to the art of post WWI New Objectivity.Jörg Immendorff, Café Deutschland I, 1977-78 (top) and Café Deutschland, 1984 (right). Acrylic on canvas, (left) 9’2” x 10’ 10” and (bottom) 112” x 130”.
Neo-ExpressionismJörg Immendorff (1945-2007)•His most famous works are from his CaféDeutschland series.•His café scene personify his political agenda.•Immendorf’s imagery focused on Germanscaught within the contradictions of modernlife and identity.•Figured here is the artist within a café scene.•Typical of his imagery, Immendorf makes useof the classical column to symbolize thedivided Germany. Jörg Immendorff, Café•His images pull from post WW I imagery of Deutschland I, 1977-78.Grosz, Dix, and Beckman. Acrylic on canvas, 9’2” x 10’ 10”. Ludwig-Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen, Germany.
Neo-ExpressionismJörg Immendorff (1945-2007)•In his later works, Immendorfturns his attention away from thepolitical as he investigates thevocabulary of art history.•This later work admits his ownseduction by the art market Jörg Immendorff, Door to The Sun, 1994. Oil on Canvas, 110.2” x 110.2”.
Neo-ExpressionismSigmar Polke (1941-2010)•Neo-Expressionist in style, Polke createdCapitalist Realism, a style akin to AmericanPop art, along with fellow students of KonradLeug.•Capitalist Realism is Polke’s version of Popand was critical of its American counterpart.•Typical of his 1960s style, Bunnies adoptsthe Benday dots of Lichtenstein who had justintroduced them to his own work.•Works like Bunnies are a direct response tothe infiltration of American culture into Sigmar Polke, Bunnies, 1966. AcrylicGermany. on linen, 59” x 39 ½”. Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution Washington, D.C.
Neo-ExpressionismSigmar Polke (1941-2010)•He experimented with various mediaand styles.•He uses the Benday dots to drawattention to the imperfect nature ofhis painting.•Polke’s process included handcopying enlarged images from popularmedia-the result of which wereimperfect dots, again commentary onthe influence of American aesthetic onGerman culture. Sigmar Polke, Hochstand (Watchtower), 1984. Acrylic, lacquer, and cotton, 10’8” x 7’4”. Private Collection, NY.
Neo-ExpressionismGerhard Richter (b. 1932)•Along with Polke, Richterfounded the anti-style artmovement, Capitalist Realism.•His work, Barn No. 549/1represents his later work and theartist’s move to create “the mostmoronic inartistic thing thatanyone could do.”•His early work using photographsstrayed little from the image, hislater works saw the artist blur theimage and deviate from the Gerhard Richter, Scheune/Barn No.“original.” 549/1, 1983. Oil on canvas, 27 ½” x 39 ½”. Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.
Neo-ExpressionismGerhard Richter (b. 1932)•Richter was never committed to onestyle.•After working in his Neo-Expressioniststyle in the 1950s, he returned toabstraction in the 1960s.•His 1980s style is characterized asExpressionist abstraction and consists ofimages created from detailed photographsof his own work.•His process is multi-faceted; he uses notonly brush but scraping, troweling, andflinging to realize these works.•For a period in 2011, he was the top Gerhard Richter, Vase, 1984.selling living artist, replaced recently by Oil on canvas, 7’4 ½” x 6’ 6 ¾”.Damien Hirst. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Neo-ExpressionismAnselm Kiefer (b. 1945)•Like Richer, Kiefer studies with Bueys inthe 1970s.•Under his influence, the artistintegrated unusual materials into hisworks including straw, ash, clay, shellac,and lead.•Kiefer first began taking photos ofhimself visiting various monumentsdressed in Nazi uniform and striking theNazi salute.•These photographs would inspire hisapocalyptical paintings of the followingdecades. Photograph of Anselm Kiefer, c. 1960s.
Neo-ExpressionismAnselm Kiefer (b. 1945)•Kiefer integrated unusual materialsinto his works including straw, ash, clay,shellac, and lead.•Kiefer’s work borrow from Jewish andGerman history, even introducingconcepts of the Kabbalah to create hisapocryphal images.•His imagery frequently makes use ofthe battered Earth and studies theconsequences of German history.•Due to the emphasis on symbolism andits connection to the past Kiefer’s stylehas often been referred to as New Anselm Kiefer, Departure from Egypt,Symbolism-evoking the 19th century 1984. Oil, straw, lacquer, and lead on canvas. 12’5” x 18’5”. Museum ofmovement. Contemporary Art, L.A.
Neo-ExpressionismAnselm Kiefer (b.1945)•Departure from Egypt was inspired by a1983 trip to Israel•Drawing from the Old Testament story ofthe Exodus, he begins to explore WW II andthe aftereffects on Germany.•Painted is a vast wasteland covered inmud and earth-typical imagery for theartist.•Other imagery includes a metal staff andstraw, both taken from the Old Testamentand reminders of the painting’s biblical Anselm Kiefer, Departure fromroots. Egypt, 1984. Oil, straw, lacquer,•His brushwork is vigorous and suggests a and lead on canvas. 12’5” x 18’5”. Museum of Contemporary Art,violence. L.A.
Neo-ExpressionismAnselm Kiefer (b.1945)•Kiefer was a sculptor as well as painter.•His sculptures continue his conversationwith the past, taboo subject matter, andother controversial matters.•Like his paintings, his sculptures evokerefuse, appear old and decrepit.• His “books” are assemblage works madeof lead weighing massive amounts.•The weight of the work is symbolic of thehistory represented in the books and theweight of it on ourselves. Anselm Kiefer, Breaking of the Vessels, 1990. Lead, iron, glass, copper wire, charcoal, and aquatec, 16’ x 6’ x 4’ ½”. Weight 7 ½ tons. Saint Louis Museum, Missouri.
Transavanguardia: Italian Neo-Expressionism• Only Italy was second to Germany in its early fostering of a Neo-Expressionist style.• Italian Neo-Expressionism is known as transavanguardia, a term coined for the movement by art Italian art critic Achille Bonito Oliva.• Transavanguardia literally translates to mean “beyond avant- garde.”• Like its counterparts, transavanguardia rejects Conceptualism and Minimalism by reintroducing emotional content, the figure, and symbolism.• It is a return to figuration, traditional tools, techniques, and colors. It is a return to painting. – The Italian artists’ return to figuration was based on Michelangelo and Renaissance tradition.
Transavanguardia: Italian Neo-Expressionism• Transavanguardia artists sought to put an end to expressive freedoms made with no cultural references.• Their work pulls from Surrealism, Cubism, Realism, and Expressionism.• It looks back to Renaissance and Late Renaissance painting, to Mannerism and Neo-Classicism.
Transavanguardia: Italian Neo-Expressionism The primary artists of Transavanguardia are: •Sandro Chia (b. 1946) •Fransesco Clemente (b. 1952) •Enzo Cucchi (b. 1950) •Nicola de Maria (b. 1954) •Mimmo Paladino (b. 1948) •Fernando Leal Audirac (b. 1958) •Remo Salvadori (b. 1947)
TransavanguardiaCarlo Maria Mariani (b. 1931)•Here, Itaian artist Mariani joinsthe classical figure withRenaissance coloring andSurrealist mood. Carlo Maria Mariani, La Mano ubbidisce allintelletto, 1983. Oil on canvas, . Collection unpublished.
TransavanguardiaSandro Chia (b. 1946)•Chia drew from the Neo-Classicismproduced in Italy during the 1920sand 1930s.•Chia distorts the images created byartists including Ottone Rosai andGiorgio de Chirico.•He challenges the strictness of theNeo-Classical style and the austerityof Minimalism through theintroduction of light and comicalsubject matter, brilliant color, andpainterly surfaces. Sandro Chia, The Idleness of Sisyphus, 1981. Oil on canvas, in 2 parts: top: 6’9” x 12’ 8 ¼” and bottom: 3’5” x 12’ 8 ¼”. Museum of Modern Art, NYC.
TransavanguardiaSandro Chia (b. 1946)•Works like The Idleness of Sisyphuspresent contemporary peoplewithin classical storylines.•The Idleness of Sisyphus representsthe discourse Neo-Expressionistpainters had with modern art intheir attempt to re-introduce grandnarrative. Sandro Chia, The Idleness of Sisyphus, 1981. Oil on canvas, in 2 parts: top: 6’9” x 12’ 8 ¼” and bottom: 3’5” x 12’ 8 ¼”. Museum of Modern Art, NYC.
TransavanguardiaFransesco Clemente (b. 1952)•Came of age while Arte Povera andConceptualism were en vogue.•Unlike these movements, he valued thefigure and sought to breathe new life intopainting-a medium declared dead withConceptualist aesthetic.•Typical of Neo-Expressionist subjectmatter is Semen.•Like Baselitz he takes the personalsubject matter of masturbation as ametaphor to examine masculinity in thepostmodern era.•The incomplete nature of the imagelends itself to the moment depicted. Fransesco Clemente, Semen, 1983. Oil on linen, 7’9” x13’. Private Collection.
TransavanguardiaFransesco Clemente (b. 1952)•This later work represents the artist at theheight of his sensual creativity.•Its exoticism is typical of his style, followedby the sexual nature of its subject, andhybridity of form.•The artist uses color and form to exaggeratean element of anxiety and violence.•This is aided by the presence of the scissorsand fragmentation of the bodies presentedby the artist.•Clemente’s visual metaphor is grounded inthe form. Fransesco Clemente, Scissors and•His take on the three graces evokes a cynical Butterflies, 1999. Oil on linen, 92” xpostmodern mood. 92”. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY.
American Neo-Expressionism• American Neo-Expressionism is driven in its reaction to Minimalist and Conceptualist aesthetics.• Neo-Expressionism brought with it a renewed interest in the love of bold gesture, large-scale and heroic proportions, reintroduction of mythic content, and a return to figuration.• This was all in response to the vacancy of Conceptualism and Minimalism.• 1980s America was witness once again to heroic art, art with religious content and the figure. – This helped to renew an interest in “high” art.
American Neo-Expressionism• Julian Schnabel (b. 1951)• David Salle (b. 1952)• Eric Fischl (b. 1948)
American Neo-ExpressionismJulian Schnabel (b. 1951)Im the closest thing to Picassothat youll see in this fuckinglife. -Julian Schnabel Julian Schnabel, The Sea, 1981. Oil on wood, with Mexican pots and plaster. 9’ x 13’. Saatchi Gallery.
American Neo-ExpressionismJulian Schnabel (b. 1951)•Schnabel’s work is indicative of Neo-Expressionist tendencies in America.•Amongst 1980s artist, he was a rock star.•He is best known for his work that combinesthree dimensional material on a two dimensionalsurface, objects including broken plates andsaucers on canvas. – These became known as his plate pieces.•Schnabel’s work joined thematic content withtraditional high art. Julian Schnabel, Hopper, 1999.•His portrait of actor/artist Dennis Hopper joins Mixed media (oil, wax, bondo and ceramic plates on wood),postmodern crisis with pop culture and 72½” x 60½” x 5”. The Dennistraditional portrait painting. Hopper Collection.
American Neo-ExpressionismJulian Schnabel (b. 1951)•Schnabel’s work is indicative of Neo-Expressionist tendencies in America.•Amongst 1980s artist, he was a rockstar.•He is best known for his work thatcombines three dimensional materialon a two dimensional surface, objectsincluding broken plates and saucers oncanvas.•Schnabel’s work joined thematiccontent with traditional high art. Julian Schnabel, The Sea, 1981. Oil on wood, with Mexican pots and plaster. 9’ x 13’. Saatchi Gallery.
• Schnabel’s signature style was inspired by the work of Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí. Julian Schnabel, The Sea, 1981. Oil onAntoni Gaudi, Detail of surrounding wall, Güell wood, with Mexican pots and plaster. Park, 1900-1915. Barcelona. 9’ x 13’. Saatchi Gallery.
American Neo-ExpressionismDavid Salle (b. 1952)•Salle’s work helps definepostmodern sensibility in itsmarrying of figuration with varyingpictorial language.•His work is some of the morecontroversial of Neo-Expressionists.•In Tennyson, Salle combinesConceptual background andstenciling with Duchampian foundobjects (the wood ear), and nudefemale body strewn across aColorfield backdrop. David Salle, Tennyson, 1983. Oil and acrylic on canvas, 6’6” x 9’9”. Private Collection, NY.
American Neo-ExpressionismDavid Salle (b. 1952)•In postmodern style, Salle’s workjoins the erotic image of a female, thename of a Victorian poet, and thefound object.•Like Rauschenberg’s combinepaintings, Salle juxtaposes theseemingly unrelated to realize hiswork.•Opting to use poses more commonlyassociated with pornography than thehistory of the nude in art, Salle’s workis critical of the position the femalenude has been relegated to David Salle, Tennyson, 1983. Oil andthroughout art history. acrylic on canvas, 6’6” x 9’9”. Private Collection, NY.
• What may seem random may actually capture the artist’s connection to Neo-Dada artist, Japer Johns.• Like John’s Salle figures Tennyson’s name stenciled on his canvas. Jasper Johns, Tennyson, 1958. Encaustic and collage on canvas. 73David Salle, Tennyson, 1983. Oil and acrylic on ½” x 48 ¼”. Des Moines Art Center, canvas, 6’6” x 9’9”. Private Collection, NY. IA.
• Salle also makes reference to Johns through his inclusion of the ear which was featured in several of Johns’ target pieces. Jasper Johns, Target with Plaster Casts, 1955. Encaustic and collage on canvas with wood construction and plaster David Salle, Tennyson, 1983. Oil and acrylic on casts. 51” x 44” s 3 ½”. Leo Castelli canvas, 6’6” x 9’9”. Private Collection, NY. Gallery, NY.
American Neo-ExpressionismEric Fischl (b. 1948)•Fischl shared Salle’s concern over thehuman form and makes it the focus of hispaintings he refers to as his “fleschscapes.”•His personal upbringing amidst alcoholismand the county-club lifestyle fuels his art.•His paintings present an upper middle classcast self-absorbed yet aware.•His imagery parallels the superficiallifestyle led by those that value image overcontent, something he echoes in the designof his compositions. Eric Fischl, The Old Man’s Boat and the Old Man’s Dog, 1982. Oil on canvas, 7’ x 7’. Collection Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lehtam, Washington, D.C.
• Like early modern American masters Hopper and Homer, Fischl’s work investigates the place of alienation in America. • His paintings go beyond this too in their exploration of subjects like alcoholism, voyeurism, decadence, homosexuality, and incest.Eric Fischl, The Old Man’s Boat and theOld Man’s Dog, 1982. Oil on canvas, 7’ Thomas Eakins, The Swimming Hole, x 7’. Collection Mr. and Mrs. Robert 1885. Oil on canvas, 27⅜ in × 36⅜. Amon Lehtam, Washington, D.C. Carter Museum, Fort Worth TX.
American Neo-ExpressionismEric Fischl (b. 1948)•His style is at once expressionist yettied to traditions of Realism.•Fischl’s India series is apostcolonialist deconstruction ofOrientalism prevalent in 19th centurypractice and art.•Fischl conceptualizes his images notin the tradition of Ingres or Delacroix,but as tourist snapshots of anotherworld. Eric Fischl, On the Stairs of the Temple, 1989. Oil on canvas, 11’8” x 9’7”. Private Collection.
American Neo-ExpressionismEric Fischl (b. 1948)•He presents his viewer with aninteresting image-we at oncecriticize a culture for itspractices yet are placed in theposition of wanting to see thiswoman, to consume her andare thrust into the position ofthe voyeur and become awareof our role in marginalizing thiswoman as “Other.” Eric Fischl, On the Stairs of the Temple, 1989. Oil on canvas, 11’8” x 9’7”. Private Collection.
Graffiti/Cartoon Artists and the East Village Art Scene • Keith Haring (1958-1990) • Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) • David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992)
Graffiti ArtKeith Haring (1958-1990)•Haring was a graffiti artist whose artworkresponded to New York City street culturein the 1980s.•He was a social activist and artist.•Haring’s first claim to notoriety was hadthrough his chalk drawings in the NYCsubway.•The artist would draw over alreadyexisting advertisements or removed oneswith his iconic images of what are bestdescribed as filled out stick figures.•His figures are archetypical imagesreminiscent to cartoon figures. Keith Haring, One Man Show, 1982. Installation view.
Graffiti Art• Radiant Baby derives from religious imagery of the Virgin of Guadalupe represented with rays to pronounce holiness. Gonzalo Corrasco, Queen of America, early 20th C Oil on canvas. Guadalupe, Keith Haring, Radiant Baby,Arizona, Basilica de Guadalupe. c. 1989.
Graffiti ArtKeith Haring (1958-1990)•Radiant Baby was born in the early 1980safter Haring moved to NYC and beganpainting in the subway.•His process was fast paced as he was usuallydrawing on the fly to avoid being arrested fordefacing property.•He used Magic Marker or black sumi ink andworked on paper, fiberglass, oak tag, andvinyl tarp-easily accessible materials.•Like Oldenburg he opened a shop called thePop Shop to make art available to those whonormally could not afford it.•Haring provided a link from the art world hecriticized to the street artists of graffiti. Keith Haring, Radiant Baby, c. 1989.
Graffiti ArtJean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)• Contemporary to Haring is Basquiat.• Basquiat rose to fame over night-he literally went from painting on doorways in alleys to selling out shows with canvases still wet.• His work represents 1980s graffiti artist usurped by the art market.• Like Haring, his imagery is personal.• His painting style is gestural Jean-Michel Basquiat, Grillo, 1984. Oil on and animated. wood with nails, 8’ x 17’ 6 ½” x 1’ 6”. Stefan T. Edlis Collection, Chicago.
Graffiti ArtJean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)• While still living on the streets of NY, Basquiat entered a partnership and invented the tag SAMO for Same Old Shit.• SAMO was an expression of the frustration Basquiat felt as a black man trying to make it in the art world.• SAMO was originally developed by Basquiat with friend Al Diaz, and Shannon Dawson while attending City as School High School, Brooklyn. Jean-Michel Basquiat, Photograph of SAMO moniker. Photograph taken by Henry Flynt, c. 1979.
Graffiti ArtJean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)•SAMO was used from 1977-1980 bythe trio of Basquiat, Diaz, andDawson.•The tag was usually accompaniedby some form of sarcastic prose.•Artist, philosopher, and musicianHenry Flynt began photographingSAMO in 1979 not realizing whosework he was photographing.•All images published here are fromhis collection. Henry Flynt’s photographs of SAMO works, c. 1979.
Graffiti ArtJean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)• His gallery work included schematic drawings of the figure-usually African with African masks for the face.• His designs were rich in color and varied in imagery.• He often included snarky phrases with his figures in typical graffiti fashion.• His symbols were diverse and colloquial.• The expressive quality and content of his work situate the artist within the Jean-Michel Basquiat, Grillo, 1984. Oil on wood with nails, 8’ x 17’ 6 ½” Neo-Expressionist tendencies of the x 1’ 6”. Stefan T. Edlis Collection, 1980s. Chicago.
Graffiti ArtJean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)•In 1984, Basquiat partnered withAndy Warhol on several projects.•Here the artists are featuredcombining their personal styles of Popsensibility with the scribble style ofgraffiti art. Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, Felix the Cat, 1984-1985. Acrylic on Canvas, 98" X 13’. Burkhard Maus, Germany.
Graffiti ArtDavid Wojnarowicz (1954-1992)•Wojnarowicz, like Haring andBasquiat, also came of age in the timeof AIDS, drug epidemics, andhomophobia.•Much of his work is about the painof growing us gay in America.•His work is biting and controversial.•He was extremely literate and usedhis intellect to create images thatcondemn American politics andpolicy.•His work fuses a Romanticism withthe images of urban living. David Wojnarowicz, Fire, 1987. Acrylic and mixed media on wood, 72” x 96”. Museum of Modern Art, NYC.
Graffiti ArtDavid Wojnarowicz (1954-1992)•Like many graffiti artists, his imageryis cartoon-like in its style.•Fire, created the year both he foundout he had AIDS and his partner diedof the disease is an abrasive pairing ofthe natural and man made.•The work has been interpreted asthe artist’s belief of what would benecessary to create sense in theworld. David Wojnarowicz, Fire, 1987. Acrylic and mixed media on wood, 72” x 96”. Museum of Modern Art, NYC.
American Realism in the 90s• Artists John Currin and Lisa Yuskavage both attended Yale University in the mid-1980s.• Their styles are similar and so is their subject matter.• Both artists confront issues of contemporary identity-issues with the body, most especially.• They work from similar material-Cosmopolitan, Playboy and Hustler, and art history.• Their work is satirical and offensive• Each committed to the figure at a time when overtly political art was the fashion.
Realism in the 90s●John Currin (b. 1962)● Lisa Yuskavage (b. 1962)
Contemporary RealismJohn Currin (b. 1962)•Currin developed his satirical style offigurative painting while a graduatestudent at Yale.•He is best known for his figurativepaintings which deal with provocativesexual and social themes in a technicallyskillful manner.•The subject of his images is the psycheof the typical middle-class whiteAmerican male.•He traces his lineage through atradition of figuration that excludesCourbet and his legacy. John Currin, The Cripple, 1997. Oil on canvas, 3’ 8” x 3’. Hort Family Collection.
• Currin pulls from traditional imagery of the female form.• Here he creates a contemporary image drawing from Lucas Cranach’s Renaissance iconography of the nude with diaphanous veil. Lucas Cranach, Venus, 11529. Oil John Currin, The Veil, 1999. Oil on on wood, 15” x 10”. Musée du canvas, .Carnegie Museum of Art, Louvre, Paris. Pittsburgh.
John Currin, The Bra Shop, 1997. Oil on canvas, 48” x 38”. • He is best known however for his paintings that capture the juvenile fantasies of the straight American male.• His images however infuse the fantastical with the grotesque as the over-exaggerated features of the female form are comically enhanced to the point of discomfort.• He notes however that he pulls his inspiration images from issues of Cosmopolitan and Playboy, even the canon of art history. John Currin, Jaunty & Mame, 1997. Oil on canvas, 48” x 36”. Saatchi Gallery, London.
Lisa Yuskavage (b. 1962)•Like her contemporary, Yuskavagecreates overly exaggerated illogicalfemale.•Her images are saccharinized versions ofthose found in the pages of Playboy andHustler.•Yuskavage’s images are moreintroverted with the images of womanquite often reviewing their bodies orwaiting for their suggested (male)partner. Lisa Yuskavage, Honeymoon, 1998. Oil on linen, 6’ 5 ½” x 4’ 7”. Private Collection.
• Yuskavage’s imagery is a deconstruction of the sexist imagery often associated with pornography. Lisa Yuskavage, Day (detail),Lisa Yuskavage, various images. David Zwirner 1999-2000. Oil on linen, 77” x 62”. Gallery, NY.
Lisa Yuskavage (b. 1962)•Her images, lik Currin’s demonstrateskill of hand and understanding of colorand design.•Here, the robe the figure wears echoesthe color of the mountains in thebackground.•To achieve the atmosphericperspective the artist employschiaroscuro and employs sfumato tocreate the dreamy haze that covers theroom. Lisa Yuskavage, Honeymoon, 1998. Oil on linen, 6’ 5 ½” x 4’ 7”. Private Collection.