Your History is Not Our History
Haunch of Venison New York is pleased to announce a group exhibition from March 5 - May 1 organized by artists David Salle and Richard Phillips of works produced in the 1980s by artists working in New York City. These two painters from two different generations share the belief that the different manifestations of art in the 1980s - painting as well as the so called critique art came out of the a shared feeling for life "in extremis" and the oppositional characterization of those ways of making art, as if one is an antidote to the other, is wrong and obscures the deeper structures of meaning at work. "Your History is Not Our History strives to help us better understand the web of influences that conjoined in the 1980s to produce a strikingly original and inventive new artistic environment. We reject the sterilized view that is offered in hindsight and hope to offer a more accurate portrayal of the energy and experimentation that was permeating the city during that time," says Richard Phillips.
Salle and Phillips believe that the best work of the 1980s shares a belief in the necessity to take forms, ideas, and content to their extremes, along with a mistrust of all authority and have chosen to focus on those artists whose work is grounded in "the pictorial"- a specific structural as well as emotive sensibility as distinct from the solely "presentational." The purpose of the show is to place these works side by side and let them speak to each other (and to us) in ways that have previously been denied.
The selection of works in this show will serve to lay to rest one of the most entrenched critical conceits of the last 30 years; that the 1980's are cleaved between painting, which was seen as regressive and market driven and the so-called "critique" strategies which took the form of photography and/or text. Re-thinking this misconception is long overdue. 'Your History is Not Our History' is not an overview of the decade but rather a meditation on the commonalities shared by artists responding to a specific cultural situation, referring back to traditions of historical modernism as a means of informing the present. "As we find ourselves in another era of massive historical and technological change and shifting power, appropriating lessons from some of art's greatest achievements can help us build the new artistic infrastructures that will carry us into the decades ahead - and reignite our historical consciousness in a world that is increasingly interconnected," says Phillips.
Indeed, New York in the 1980s was a place of staggering change and progress where now-iconic artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ross Bleckner, Francesco Clemente, Eric Fischl, Barbara Kruger and Julian Schnabel, among others, created experimental work that evolved into an artistic ecosystem and expanded the aesthetic horizons for generations to come. "The emotional current that runs through much of the best work of that time and is in some way its real subject is loneliness. The heroic or the abjectly un-heroic - the improvisational and the directorial - all resulted from a situation of dissipation that had to be upended: nowhere to go and no one much to go with," Salle writes in the catalog.As a young gallery with no ties to this era and the fact that Haunch of Venison New York represents none of the artists included in this exhibition, Salle and Phillips determined the gallery to be a welcoming platform toward supporting an unbiased look at the history. "We are pleased to be a part of the exhibition and to experience the period through the artists' eyes," said Senior Director, Emilio Steinberger.
A fully illustrated catalogue will be published to accompany the show.