Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries

ReDefining the Object

Academic Year: 
Sunday, February 21 to Sunday, April 3, 1988

ReDefining the Object explores ways in which some of the most interesting works of art being produced today subject objects to new uses, re-uses and misuses. This new trend has been variously called Neo-Pop, NeoMinimal, or Neo-Conceptual. But it should not be seen as a retreat to the 1960s; rather, it is a movement consistent with our time. It does, however, assimilate Pop-Art's focus on contemporary culture, Minimal Art's insistence on the essence of good design and craftsmanship, and Conceptual Art's contention that "quality" is the product of the mind. The new art incorporates these values by appropriating ordinary housewares, (or their images) , and displaying them so as to please the eye, yet upset the viewer's mundane associations.

Pop-Art used mass-marketing images innocently, whereas the new art does not celebrate commercialism; it seeks to expose the social and political problems in our capitalistic, consumer society. Themes relating to class structure, the desire for ownership, and the threat of nuclear holocaust are evident in this new exhibition.

Clean design is an obvious component of the work presented here, and, like the art of the Minimalists, the subjects are often fabricated, and the artist's hand is seldom visible. However, the art in this exhibition attempts to break down the boundaries between abstraction and representation, as no other art movement before has done. For these artists, design is the strategic placement of appropriated objects.

Unlike conceptual art, this work upholds the importance of visual pleasure, while insisting on an ideological or philosophical basis. Several of the artists in this exhibition use as their subject visual pleasure as the primary stimulus to our acquisitive nature.

Art work from this exhibition comes from many of the most important galleries and contemporary art collections in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. The artists in ReDefining the Object include: Arman (France), John Armleder (Switzerland), Richard Artschwager (NYC), Christian Eckart (NYC), Jenny Holzer (NYC), Jeff Koons (NYC), Dennis Kowalski (Chicago), Donald Lipski (NYC), Christian Marclay (NYC), Stuart Sherman (NYC), Thomas Skomski (Chicago), Mark Stahl (NYC), Haim Steinbach (NYC), William Stone (NYC), Tony Tasset (Chicago), Richard Wentworth (Great Britain).

Dan Cameron, New York Art Critic and writer for Artforum and Arts Magazine, will speak about new trends in contemporary art, and about the exhibition, ReDefining the Object. Mr. Cameron's talk will be held in The Galleries at 10:30 AM on Monday, February 22, 1988.


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