Thursday, June 22, 6 - 8 pm
There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the November 2016 presidential election changed the political landscape forever and touched every U.S. resident in every corner of the country. For The Painting Center’s annual juried exhibition, FIGHT OR FLIGHT, we asked artists how the turbulent political environment has affected their work. Did they become more politically active by fighting—protesting, calling representatives, writing letters or did they retreat into their studios to shut out the frenetic world? Or did they adopt some combination of both approaches?
Looking back to specific artists’ reactions to unsettled times, Picasso’s Guernica and Gerhard Richter’s cycle of paintings October 18,1977 are prime examples of artists channeling the political world into their work. While in contrast, Matisse created his joyful collaged paper cutouts for his Jazz series during World War II in France, and Jackson Pollock’s poured paintings were created in the 1950's during the McCarthy era. Creativity can feed off the inspiration of current events or a personal vision.
We received an outpouring of interesting and timely work, and it is our hope that this selection provides some insight into the psyches of artists responding to the times in which we live in 2017. This exhibition is in no way a comprehensive representation but rather a curated selection of work both political and apolitical. We hope that it provides a starting point for an important conversation.