Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s presents a focused look at painting from this decade with works drawn entirely from the Whitney Museum’s collection. Exhibition on view from January 27-May 14, 2017.
Murray’s drawings at the gallery Canada, on the Lower East Side, has a bittersweet, if-only undercurrent. It confirms the love of drawing and all its sundry instruments — from traditional pastel to ballpoint pen — at the heart of Murray’s art.
Held in conjunction with a solo presentation of the artist's work curated by Carroll Dunham and Dan Nadel at CANADA, the panel is moderated by writer Linda Yablonsky and will discuss Murray’s art, life and legacy with artists Yevgeniya Baras, Deborah Kass, Suzanne Mcclelland, Kianja Strobert, and Pat Steir.
Those who go in quest of the Holy Grail have little use for teacups. The painter Elizabeth Murray was known to take offense to having the cups in her paintings referred to as “teacups”, a pejorative term to an artist who was doing plenty of heavy lifting and battling the gender dragons of the art world. There is nothing dainty about Murray’s work or her handling of materials. She could bend a pipe as well as any strongman or pound a piece of paper into submission with an embossed line of a pen like a blacksmith’s hammer to a sheet of metal on an anvil.
This exhibition has been organized by Dan Nadel and Carroll Dunham. It grew out of their shared interest in Murray’s work from two different perspectives. Nadel came to Murray via her Chicago roots and saw her as both a rare “New York” artist who emerged in the 1970s, belonged to no school, and managed to be both successful and against the modernist grain. Dunham knew Murray and considers her an early influence on his work as well as a central and somewhat under-acknowledged participant in painting developments during the ’80s and beyond.
The paintings of Elizabeth Murray mark a strange point of fusion between pop and abstraction. This oeuvre, far too rarely seen in Europe, is precious, for it seems to condense in itself the vitality of a moment, a time that saw the pictorial practice change space and narrative systems, feeding itself particularly from raw energy coming from the street and comics.
The resurgent interest in contemporary painting in recent years has coincided with an explosion of new digital media and technologies. Contrary to canonical accounts premised on medium-specificity, painting’s most advanced positions since the 1960s have developed in productive friction with contemporaneous forms of mass media and culture.