Alan Shields

1944 - 2005 · United States

Artist biography

Alan Shields was an artist, who originated from the United States. Born in 1944, Alan Shields passed away in 2005. Also born in the United States around 1944 and of the same generation are Chuck Close, Dale Chihuly, Bruce Nauman, James Turrell and Barbara Kruger.

Galleries and Exhibitions

Alan Shields' work is on display at Van Doren Waxter located in New York, the United States. Alan Shields' work has most recently been displayed during the exhibition Fan Dance at Corbett vs. Dempsey in Chicago, the United States. The exhibition was open from 28 February 2020 until 09 April 2020. Alan Shields' work has also been exhibited at other exhibitions listed on Artland include the exhibitions Chroma (16 July 2019 - 15 August 2019) at Van Doren Waxter in New York and DUCK OR DOORKNOB (12 September 2019 - 01 November 2019) at Ratio 3 in San Francisco. Alan Shields' first listed exhibition in Artland's database was called Ben Estes, Alan Shields and took place at Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street in New York, the United States from the 18 April 2018 to 11 May 2018.

Historical Context of United States

The US, in particular New York city, endures as a central point that has played a substantial role in developing modern and contemporary art in the twentieth century. The concept of New York as a new multinational and highly influential art centre appeared in the post war era, and the city succeeded in affirming its dominance over Paris, which used to be regarded as the most powerful international art capital.

The authority of the political and economic institutions of the United States in the modern era has provided the country with a powerful influence on the visual culture of the world. Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptual Art, Neo-Expressionism, Graffiti and Street Art, are significant art movements that flourished in the US. These very movements also reverberated into a multitude of variations, such as alternative forms of Abstract Expressionism, as well as East and West Coast adaptations of Pop Art, among others. Some internationally distinguished U.S artists of the contemporary period age include Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella, Donald Judd, Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger, Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring.

Further Biographical Context for Alan Shields

Alan Shields was born in 1944 and was primarily influenced creatively by the 1960s growing up. In the art world, a multitude of significant changes were also taking place. Pop Art, embracing the culture of mass media through the works of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselmann, was slowly breaking down the foundations on which the creation and reception of art were built. Getting inspired from the imagery of popular culture and mass consumerism, the Pop Artists rejected the authority of highbrow art and created a ground-breaking movement, while Minimalism, simultaneously appearing, was rejecting any form of emotional manifestation and focused on art’s theoretical aspect – aspiring to pure visual responses.

Historically set in the context of the Cold War, the 1960s epitomize an extremely influential era which generated a significant number of disruptions and questioned the order of all things. In Europe, The Iron Curtain and the Berlin wall would permanently mark people and beliefs, while in the U.S, events such as the Cuban missile crisis and Vietnam war would forever impact generations to come. From education to gender issues and ideologies, a re-definition of social standards in Western society developed, with ground-breaking values and movements evolving in a cradle of inventiveness.

Simplicity and an void of emotions were key concepts in the highly influential movement of Minimalism, represented by artists like Frank Stella, Donald Judd and Agnes Martin. Uninterested in the gestural elements of Abstract Expressionism, Minimalist artists focused on delivering artworks mainly gathering polished, pure lines and geometrical elements.

Exploring further into some of the concepts inherent to Abstract Expressionism, artists such as Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland and Helen Frankenthaler practiced Colour Field Painting – decidedly relating to Minimalism, with a fundamentally ruled-based approach, emptied of any emotional features.

The very first flourishing of Conceptualism was highly influenced by the simplicity of Minimalism but went further in denying all pre-defined conceptions inherent to art, similarly to what Pop Artists were trying to attain, by elevating popular culture to the status of high art.

Several schools of philosophy deeply influenced creatives, Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti were artists fundamentally seduced by the ideas of Existentialism, who achieved worldwide success through their depiction of the human form and the lament often associated with the human condition. globally, an important number of art movements resounded with the radical changes of the 1960s, often prone to their own regional distinctions. In Italy, Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni initiated Spatialism, while in Germany, the Zero group embraced similar ideas under the leadership of Günther Uecker.

Alan Shields

  • Exhibitions 6

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