“Talk is Cheap: A Street Poster Exhibition, 1984”
In the 1970s and 80s much of downtown New York lay in decay but amidst the economic squalor a surprising art renaissance emerged along the district’s streets and walls. Most people remember the graffiti from that period but of equal interest was the profusion of street posters. Talk is Cheap, a short-lived 1984 street poster exhibition comprising 27 collaborative posters by 47 artists is a unique manifestation of this epoch. The project done under the auspices of the artist group Collaborative Projects Inc (COLAB). The fact that it was a street exhibition inspired some artists like John Hogan, Kiki Smith, Jane Dickson, Charlie Ahearn, Christy Rupp, Lauren Sunstein, Christof Kohlhofer and Dan Asher to make posters directly connected to the politics of the day. Others like Alan Moore, Seton Smith, Olivia Beens, John Morton, Andrea Callard, Jolie Stahl, Mitch Corber, Bobby G, Joseph Nechvatal, Rhys Chatham, Bradley Eros, Aline Mare, and Janet Stein created works that largely conformed to their customary art concerns.
pictured: Olivia Beens / Claire Seidl, Mammoth Cave, 1984
Fall 2014 Editor’s Pick
Opens Tues, Sept 9, 6-8p:
“RITE OF PASSAGE: The Early Years of Vienna Actionism, 1960 – 1966”
Günter Brus, Otto Muehl, Hermann Nitsch, Rudolf Schwarzkogler
Hauser & Wirth, 32 East 69th St., NYC
the first major New York City exhibition to explore, through rare paintings, collages, and photographs, the emergence of a critical 20th-century avant-garde movement. Various artistic developments in the second half of the 20th century have been influenced by a performative paradigm that emphasizes a move away from formal, static objects and toward more directly experiential, event-like, and sensorial gestures. In the early 1960s, the Vienna Actionists defined their radical style through a critique of painting, specifically that of European Art Informel and the Abstract Expressionism of the New York School. Under Austria’s Second Republic, Brus, Muehl, Nitsch, and Schwarzkogler sought out new possibilities for expression that could transcend the shadow of World War II. Motivated by material experimentation, they developed their art around radical body-centric performances through which authentic experiences of reality and incisive political statements could be directly and intensely perceived.
thru March 22:
“The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and Posters”
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
MoMA, 11 W53rd St., NYC
This exhibition, drawn almost exclusively from The Museum of Modern Art’s collection of posters, lithographs, printed ephemera, and illustrated books, is the first MoMA exhibition in 30 years dedicated solely to Lautrec, and features over 100 examples of the best-known works created during the apex of his career. Organized thematically, the exhibition explores five subjects that together create a portrait of Lautrec’s Paris. A section devoted to café-concerts and dance halls examines the rise of nightlife culture in France through the depiction of famous venues, including the celebrated Moulin Rouge. Another focuses on the actresses, singers, dancers, and performers who sparked the artist’s imagination and served as his muses, including Yvette Guilbert, acclaimed dancer Loie Fuller, and close friend Jane Avril. Lautrec’s sympathetic images of women are evident in a group of works that includes his landmark Elles portfolio, depicting prostitutes during nonworking hours, in quiet moments of introspection. Lautrec’s role in Paris’s artistic community is explored in a section devoted to his creative circle, highlighting designs for song sheets for the popular music that flooded Paris’s café-concerts, programs for the avant-garde theatrical productions that he attended, and his contributions to magazines and intellectual reviews. A final section looks at the pleasures of the capital, from horse racing at Longchamp and promenading on the Bois de Boulogne, to the new fad for ice skating and the enduring appeal of Paris’s culture of gastronomy.
Ecce Homo by Evelyn Bencicova
Young Romance #143 (1966)