Hairy Who screening at RISD Museum,
"What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present"

RISD Museum Screenings: Hairy Who & The Chicago Imagists
SEP 21 | SUN 2-4 pm | Metcalf Auditorium
OCT 12 | SUN 2-4 pm | Metcalf Auditorium

RISD Museum's contemporary art curator, Dominic Molon, will introduce the screenings, which are featured in conjunction with a RISD Museum exhibition:

What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960s to the Present
Thursday, September 18, 2014 - January 4, 2015

About the Exhibition
This exhibition traces a history of figurative painting, sculpture, and vernacular imagery that has been largely overlooked and undervalued relative to modernist abstract and conceptual art. Since the 1960s, many artists working outside New York developed idiosyncratic forms of figuration, unsettling the strict rationales of dominant visual and theoretical trends.

The artists in What Nerve! devised distinctive idioms, creating works that are often earnest, sometimes narrative, frequently transgressive, and always individualistic. Rather than attempting to compete with mainstream modernism, their influences ran towards comics, folk art, and vernacular signage, as well as the vulgar, profane, and out-of-bounds. Each artist exaggerated familiar forms, calling into question what we know of ourselves and our urges.

When confronted with a system that might seem impenetrable, outsiders often band together. In the last 50 years, four important regional gatherings of artists—exhibiting groups or collectives in Chicago, the San Francisco Bay area, Detroit, and Providence—generated powerful ripples in the art world and beyond. The groups and individual artists represented in What Nerve! were not naïve or unaware of artistic tradition, they simply trafficked in an alternate history, one that this exhibition lays bare.

Artists in the Exhibition
At the heart of What Nerve! is re-creation of four crucial exhibitions or happenings in Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit, and Providence. Created in collaboration with artists from the Hairy Who, Funk Art, Destroy All Monsters, and Forcefield, respectively, the installations will be accompanied by artworks by singular artists who similarly grappled with figurative and expressive interests. Radiating outward as spokes of connection, the individual artists included in What Nerve! were markedly influenced by, or a crucial influence on, the artist groups at the hub of the exhibition.

About the Curators
Guest curator Dan Nadel is the owner of PictureBox, Inc., a Grammy Award-winning publishing company. Nadel authored Art Out of Time: Unknown Comic Visionaries, 1900–1969; Gary Panter; Art in Time: Unknown Comic Book Adventures, 1940-1980; and, most recently, co-authored Electrical Banana: Masters of Psychedelic Art. He is the co-editor of The Comics Journal, and has published essays and criticism in Frieze and Bookforum. As a curator, his exhibitions include: “Return of the Repressed: Destroy All Monsters, 1973-1977” in Los Angeles; “Karl Wirsum: Drawings, 1967-1970” in New York; the first major Jack Kirby retrospective, “The House that Jack Built” in Lucerne, Switzerland; and “Macronauts” for the Athens 2007 Biennale in Greece. Nadel teaches at the School of Visual Arts, NY.

Consulting curator Judith Tannenbaum is particularly interested in connections between visual art, craft, performance, and design. As Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art at the RISD Museum from 2000 to 2013, her exhibitions included “Painting Air: Spencer Finch” (2012); “Made in the UK” (2011); “Lynda Benglis” (2010); “Styrofoam” (2008); “Beth Lipman: After You’re Gone” (2008); “Wunderground: Providence, 1995 to the present” (2006); “Betty Woodman: Il Giardino Dipinto” (2005); “Island Nations: New Art from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and the Diaspora” (2004); “On the Wall: Wallpaper by Contemporary Artists” (2003); and “Jim Isermann: Logic Rules” (2000). From 1986 to 2000, Tannenbaum served variously as curator, associate director, and interim director at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), University of Pennsylvania.

RISD MUSEUM
224 Benefit Street
Providence, RI 02903
RISDMUSEUM.ORG