The Easel

1st October 2019

A New Exhibit Of ‘Maximalism’ Shows How Artists Trounced Modernism And Made Art Inclusive In The 70s

The pattern and decoration movement had its heyday in the 1970’s. Its frontal attack on minimalism raised difficult issues for art theory. Dry though that debate can be, these issues are important. Is decoration bad art – or perhaps not art at all? What are the boundaries of art and who gets to decide what is in or out? The current flurry of museum shows on this subject suggests resolution is not imminent.

Reconsidering Ceramics Iconoclast Peter Voulkos at Burning in Water

A visit to Black Mountain College was Voulkos’ first exposure to New York abstraction. What an impact! He set about redefining ceramics, discarding many of its established practices. In particular, what some regarded as flaws he saw as “spontaneous creative accidents.” Voulkos wasn’t thinking pots anymore but rather expressionist sculpture. He was re-inventing American post-war ceramics.  A video (1 min) is here.