Bob Nickas talk. 7 pm monday night. 10/3/16

Barnard College
Louise McCagg Gallery, 3009 Broadway, 4th floor, Diana Center
1 train to 116th Street/Columbia University (walk 2.5 blocks north to the Diana Center at Barnard)

One painting per year, in chronological order, representing the span of a hundred years. Beginning with Malevich's Red Square, the talk ends with a furniture sculpture by John Armleder, borrowing Marcel Duchamp's Apoliniere Enameled and Norman Rockwell's Painting the Little House as its dual its image-announcement, suggesting that painting is, and maybe has always been, an assisted readymade. There are some perverse choices, admittedly, and more than a few glaring omissions. After all, part of the intention of this talk is to reclaim history as written by each of us, as a means to both participate and to playfully interrupt narratives that are long-standing and no longer resistant to revision. As such, the selection was made in a personal, free-associative way, spontaneously/intuitively accumulating one work after another, engaging with the idea of art history as a game of exquisite corpse—to examine the body in question, the body of painting. 

The audience will trace and imagine the narrative as the story unfolds, since its telling accounts for the various "rugs being pulled out from under" in the span of a hundred years' time: from the monochrome—which is not necessarily the refusal of an image—and the readymade, to the 1st world war, Dada and dis-figuration, the Jazz age, antagonisms towards the market, the stock market crash of 1929, regionalism, degenerate art, Grandma Moses, visionaries, action painting, the optical unconscious, destruction in art, the painting as surrogate, schizophrenia and art's split personality, repetition and difference, strategies of parody and appropriation, the subject of time and collective memory: "time is thin around the cause and dense around the effect." Along the way Andrew Wyeth meets Patty Hearst—and that only brings us to 1975.

- bill 10-02-2016 1:02 pm

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