|Jimmy De Sana|
Marker Cones, 1982
Jimmy De Sana Trust
The art produced during the 1980s veered between radical and conservative, capricious and political, socially engaged and art historically aware. This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s provides viewers with an overview of the artistic production of these heady days, as well as impart the decade’s sense of political and aesthetic urgency by placing many of the decade’s competing factions in close proximity to one another.
The exhibition is divided into four sections: “The End is Near” toggles between discourses of the end of painting, the end of the counter culture, and the end of history. In the “Democracy” section we see a renewed interest on the part of artists with working in the street, the burgeoning awareness of the importance of the mass media (particularly television) the rise of Central American artists and artists of color to increasing prominence, and the pervasive commitment to the political that shaped the period. The section titled “Gender Trouble” elaborates upon the implications of the 1970s feminist movement with work that expanded our sense of societal gender roles, and smuggled in new ideas about sexuality and figuration. Finally, there is a section called “Desire and Longing” in which artists working with appropriation techniques are presented in relation to the emergence of queer visibility brought on by the AIDS crisis. By crossing these wires the exhibition hopes to suggest that despite the claims of cynicism or overarching irony sometimes leveled at the work of this period, often what we find are artists struggling to articulate their wants, needs, and desires, in an increasingly commodified and seemingly impenetrable world.
Organized by MCA Chicago, This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s is guest-curated by Helen Molesworth, Chief Curator of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.
For more info and listing of related events, visit the MCA website