STILL LIFE: 1970s PHOTOREALISM AT NASSAU COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART IN ROSLYN HARBOR THROUGH NOVEMBER 9
July 21, 2014 -- This past Friday evening, the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn Harbor hosted an opening reception for the exhibit Still Life: 1970s Photorealism, featuring the works of several notable painters and sculptors of that decade who, using photographs of the seemingly ordinary as their subject matter, provide an accurate representation of the image, although sometimes changing the scale, or cropping the image to focus on a particular aspect of the larger scene.
Inspired by Pop Artists of the 1960's, such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, in their portrayal of the recognizable, exhibit curator Cathleen Chafee writes that "rather than taking on subject matter already made iconic through mass circulation, the Photorealists selected photographs that were recognizable because they were banal - anyone could have taken the snapshots of buildings, objects, and people on which they based their paintings."
Dr. Chafee argues that 1970's photorealism perhaps has not gotten its due recognition, and is deserving of reappraisal. "The Photorealists captured aspect of life in the 1970's that is both grittier and more melancholy than has previously been acknowledged," she writes. "Although the scale of the paintings is often spectacular, the frank images of trash, of alienated and isolated figures, of old cars and building facades, can unblinkingly reflect the negative effects of the nationwide economic stagnation of the early 1970s." Additionally, Dr. Chafee asserts that the photorealists, who in "the image-saturated culture of the 1970's, . . . necessarily had to make that decade's increasingly mediated reality part of their subject matter," are as relevant today as ever in an age when "a steady stream of snapshots infiltrates our daily lives."
Dr. Chaffee, who organized Still Life for the Yale University Art Gallery and is now curator at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, will present her lecture, Imitations of Life: Reassessing 1970s Realism at Nassau County Museum of Art on Saturday, July 26 at 3 p.m. Admission to the lecture is $15 ($5 members) and includes entry to the museum.
On September 20, at 3 pm, artist Ben Schonzeit, whose work is exhibited in Still Life, will lecture on the Origins of Photorealism.
Still Life runs through November 9th.
Nassau County Museum of Art is located at 1 Museum Drive in Roslyn Harbor, just off Northern Boulevard, Route 25A, two traffic lights west of Glen Cove Road, and just east of the Roslyn (William Cullen Bryant) Viaduct. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-4:45 p.m.
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