'Beyond the Classical: Imagining the Ideal Across Time' on view at the National Academy Museum
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'Beyond the Classical: Imagining the Ideal Across Time' on view at the National Academy Museum
William Pedersen, LOOP de LOOP chair series, 2009-2014, photo by Jock Pottle.

NEW YORK, NY.- The National Academy Museum is presenting Beyond the Classical: Imagining the Ideal Across Time, which features 19th- and 20th-century works from the Academy’s permanent collection, including works by Edwin Blashfield, Asher B. Durand, George Lober and Maxfield Parrish, alongside works on loan by major modern and contemporary artists, including Marcel Duchamp, Anselm Kiefer, Robert Rauschenberg, Kiki Smith, Cy Twombly, Susana Solano and Mickalene Thomas, to reveal a variety of classical and “anti-classical” perspectives.

Beyond the Classical is conceived as an investigation of past and present, exploring the ways in which artists have referenced classical themes such as history, mythology, allegory and idealism over the course of 200 years. Whether rejecting or responding to the Classical, artists are conditioned and influenced by its framework. From this point of view, classicism is present in virtually every age, culture and civilization. The exhibition is curated by Maurizio Pellegrin, Filippo Fossati and Diana Thompson.

“Beyond the Classical demonstrates how classicism has been understood and expressed by artists for centuries, and the ways in which their response to classicism and classical subjects still resonates in the cultural dialogue,” says Pellegrin, the National Academy’s Creative Director and the show’s co-curator. “A show such as this one, which creates a dialogue around the undeniable links between past, present and future, honors the spirit of the National Academy with its historic connection to the Hudson River School and its current embrace of a range of contemporary artistic practices.”

As a companion show to Beyond the Classical, the National Academy presents Reflections on the Classical, featuring works by Academy students and faculty on view in the School’s Sonia Gechtoff Gallery.

Also on view at the National Academy during the run of Beyond the Classical is Gestures: The Designs of Wendell Castle and William Pedersen, on view in the National Academy’s Curatorial Laboratory, a newly dedicated project space. This space will present smaller, focused exhibitions in three adjacent galleries, providing an opportunity to engage with living artists, architects and designers. Each lab will display a small selection of works along with videos and other supporting materials highlighting the process, ideas and journey of each presenter.

Gestures showcases large-scale works by Wendell Castle, including Leotard Chair (1969), Fat Albert (1969), and Sluggo (1969); and William Pedersen's Loop de Loop chair series (2014). The exhibition reveals a pivotal intersection of art and design: The visual presence and wit of Castle’s works blur the line between sculpture and furniture, while Pedersen’s dramatic chairs show a union of both aesthetics and intended functionality.

Pictured on the front cover is Kathleen Gilje's Lady with an Ermine, Restored. Oil on wood panel, 1997, 21 9/16 x 15 inches. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

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