SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

Richmond Art Center, 2450 Barrett Avenue, Richmond

Exhibition: The Return of Abstract Expressionism (25th September-2nd November 1969)

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When Jackson Pollock and Morris Louis let the paint leave their hands, gravity formed the shape of the stain on the raw canvas. This exhibition of abstract expressionism is a direct extension of the painting of the ‘50s; the action is the same only the dimensions are different. The gesture is the same and the procedure similar if more athletic. The artists exhibit the same love of organic and natural forces, they place a familiar emphasis on the role of accident and chance.

The renewed interest in natural forces and raw materials exists for several reasons. There is, certainly, a tremendous dissatisfaction with the destructive forces of modern culture: war, pollution, and the generally widespread ignorance of nature. Another influence is the popularity of drug use, and the religious importance that it places on an awareness of our environment and also upon the reality of natural processes and environment. But perhaps more important, the artists are not interested in producing objects. The majority of the pieces exist only for the duration of the show. There are no photographs in the catalogue because some work cannot be seen before installation. In fact, several artists have sent only instructions for the creation of their works. It would harm the intent of the work to frame or reduce them to the degree needed for reproduction and, the nature of the work precludes reproduction. For the first time, the artist is freeing himself from the object. As a result the historian is now faced with the responsibility of recording the work. The artist is involved with the direct manipulation of materials that posses qualities of spontaneity and improvisation, and that normally produces dispensable work.

It is the act of creation which is art. (Marioni 1969)

Curator(s): Tom Marioni

Participants: Bob Anderson, Paul Crowley, Allan Fish (Tom Marioni), Terry Fox, Ron Goldstein, Mel Henderson, Paul Kos, Phil Linhares, N.E. Thing Co. Ltd, Dennis Oppenheim, Sherry Stewart, Jo Ann TeSelle, Peter Veres, Tony Gnazzo, John Woodall.