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Present Tense: Prints from the Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation
September 29, 2016 - January 14, 2017
Meloy and Paxson Galleries
Present Tense: Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation contains a selection of prints by contemporary artists that incorporate text or language. In the past several decades, visual artists have explored language, text, words and even single letters to address serious social and political issues such as gender, violence, pollution and racism. But they also have used language to intrigue us, to make us curious or to make us smile. The use of text in art often compels the viewer to slow down and carefully consider the words, not only their superficial meaning but also their deeper meaning as symbols of larger ideas.
Included in the exhibition are works by John Baldessari, Mark Bennett, Mel Bochner, Jonathan Borofsky, Louise Bourgeois, Robert Cottingham, Simon Donaldson, Lala Essaydi, Tony Fitzpatrick, Robert Gober, Jenny Holzer, Julia Jacquette, Chris Johanson, Jasper Johns, Barbara Kruger, Silvia Levenson, Glenn Ligon, Allan McCollum, Bruce Nauman, Jim Riswold, Ed Ruscha, Jonathan Seliger, Lorna Simpson, and Andy Warhol.
Sponsored with generous support from the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.
This exhibition focuses on pioneering artists with important Montana ties, who lived or traveled in Montana at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20thcentury and significantly contributed to the aesthetic and cultural milieu of the state. Included are Beatrice Howie Mackey, Frances Faick Walker, Fra Dana, Josephine Hale, Frances Carroll Brown, Marguerite O. Stevens, Evelyn Cameron and Mamie Elizabeth Burt as well as artists associated with Winhold Reiss’s Glacier School: Elizabeth Lochrie, Elsa Jemne, and Caroline Granger.
The creative output of these artists defies typical Western iconography. They abandoned imagery celebrating territorial conquest or the mythological cowboy. Instead, they turned toward adapting European pictorial traditions like French Impressionism to uniquely western subject matter, capturing the practical character and unsentimental aesthetic of the region through personal portraits and scenes of domestic life. Spontaneous photographs frequently documented specific moments in the history of the Treasure State, as in Marguerite Stevens’ 1911 photograph, First Flying Machine in Montana. Other works contemplate human frailty in an environment where natural forces overwhelmingly determined one’s daily experience. Viewers might identify such allegorical content in the wilting cabbage in a delicate still-life by Josephine Hale.
A publication of the same name will accompany the exhibition, generously funded in part by the Morris and Helen Silver Foundation.