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Exhibition at Dickinson shows the disruptive dialogue that connects contemporary artists with the past
Ahmet Civelek, Untitled (Light Blue Puzzle), 2015.

NEW YORK, NY.- Pablo Picasso explained: “At the time, everyone talked about how much reality there was in Cubism. But they didn’t really understand, it’s not a reality you can take in your hand. It’s more like a perfume — in front of you, behind you, to the sides. The scent is everywhere, but you don’t quite know where it comes from.” The early 20th century art that Picasso describes appeared to follow a kind of geometrical order, something one intuits or senses rather than something one perceives with the eyes.

In the mid 20th century, as the Abstract Expressionists stepped in and took the reins of modern art, Jackson Pollock - following the disruptive tendency of Cubism - created works infused with the same kind of perfume. In “Scent”, 1955, Pollock seemed to have disrupted the cubist tradition from a hermetic geometry to a free and pulsating dissolving serenity. Pollock’s distillation of formal and compositional means became quintessentially American and paved the way for the Minimalists and the Pop. Jasper Johns, who around the 1950s created art based on universality, dedicated seven years (1973 – 1980) to create works inspired by a purely invented pattern. Crisp in its ordering, Johns’ “Scent”, 1975, appeared as a systematization of the idea of gestural abstraction. Johns had achieved the complete opposite of Pollock’s sense of automatic release.

This exhibition shows the disruptive dialogue that connects contemporary artists with the past. The artists in this exhibition remind us that breaking down does not yield certainty, but its opposite, which is ambiguity. By making simpler things we do not make things any simpler.

The works in this exhibition show a range of influences: the seemingly rigorous reducing geometry of the Cubists, the gestural abstraction of the Abstract Expressionists, the modularity and repetition of the Minimalists and the very clearly planned mental program of execution praised by the Pop. With this exhibition, Dickinson intends to prove that the tradition of dissolving distinctions is still appealing for the new generation of artists. Finally, the exhibition suggests that this scent, which has been with us for over a century, continues to drive modernity and is more alive than it ever was.

Featured artists: Daniel Boccato, Lorenzo Bueno, Esteban Cabeza de Baca, Ahmet Civelek, Julio Felix, Gabriela Forgo, Rachel Garrard, David Gbur, Heidi Howard, Joel Israel, Doron Langberg, Charles Lutz, Matt Mignanelli, Nicole Reber, David Siever, Marisa Tesauro, Owen Westberg, Darryl Westly

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