What is painting? That is the question that runs across a rectangle of canvas exhibited in the new installation of the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York:
WHAT IS PAINTING
DO YOU SENSE HOW ALL THE PARTS OF A GOOD PICTURE ARE INVOLVED WITH EACH OTHER, NOT JUST PLACED SIDE BY SIDE? ART IS A CREATION FOR THE EYE AND CAN ONLY BE HINTED AT WITH WORDS.
John Baldessari’s painting, What is Painting (1966-68), sparked the attention of Austin Lee when he saw the work at the Museum of Modern Art last fall. “It’s been stuck in my head ever since,” Lee recounts. “I think of painting as evidence of a state of mind. Documentation of thoughts. That can take form in an infinite amount of variations.”
Good Pictures, curated by Austin Lee, expands Baldessari’s investigation into what it takes to make a good painting, or more generally, a good picture. In Good Pictures, Lee has brought together artists with whom he has a personal history, some of which he considers part of his artist community. As Lee reveals, “They are artists who have influenced what my idea of painting is. Some through years of discussion, some from only seeing the work online.”
The works in Good Pictures embrace the holistic idea suggested by Baldessari’s painting that “all the parts of a good picture are involved with each other, not just placed side by side.” The exhibition showcases a mix of styles and techniques with some technological experimentation. Baldessari’s ironic painting is an invitation to celebrate seemingly simple “fundamentals of art.” The show is not meant to answer the question, but provide a prompt for artists in a group show to do what they always do.
Austin Lee was born in Las Vegas and currently lives and works in New York. During the past two years, he has presented exhibitions all over the world from Kaikai Kiki in Tokyo to Mosaic Art Foundation in Istanbul to his ambitious solo exhibition at Jeffrey Deitch in New York in 2019.
A checklist of the exhibition is available at this link.
The artists participating in Good Pictures are:
Marina Adams Michael Ambron Kevin Beasley Genesis Belanger Judy Chicago Oliver Clegg Holly Coulis Somaya Critchlow Julie Curtiss Awol Erizku Louis Fratino Dominique Fung Lenz Geerk Kati Gegenheimer Mark Thomas Gibson Sayre Gomez Adam Green Meena Hasan David Humphrey Marcus Jahmal Haley Josephs JPW3 Hein Koh Emily Ludwig Shaffer Dustin Metz Marilyn Minter Mario Moore Katrina Mortorff Jayson Musson Dona Nelson Odili Donald Odita Erik Parker Lamar Peterson Rachel Rossin Rafaël Rozendaal Koichi Sato Jacolby Satterwhite Sally Saul Peter Schuyff Li Shurui John Szlasa James Ulmer John Wesley Xu Zhen