In the past 50 years in the United States and beyond, artists have sought to break down social and political hierarchies that include issues of identity, gender, power, race, authority, and authenticity. Unsurprisingly, these decades generated a reconsideration of the idea of pattern and decoration as a third option to figuration and abstraction in art. From 1972 to 1985, artists in the Pattern and Decoration movement worked to expand the visual vocabulary of contemporary art to include ethnically and culturally diverse options that eradicated the barriers between fine art and craft and questioned the dominant minimalist aesthetic. These artists did so by incorporating opulence and bold intricacies garnered from such wide-ranging inspirations as United States quilt-making and Islamic architecture.
Too Much Is Just Right: The Legacy of Pattern and Decoration features more than 70 artworks in an array of media from both the original time frame of the Pattern and Decoration movement, as well as contemporary artworks created between 1985 and the present. The artworks in this exhibition demonstrate the vibrant and varied approaches to pattern and decoration in art. Sections will explore the history of pattern and decoration’s use in American art during and after the now formally recognized movement was established. Artworks from the 21st century elucidate contemporary perspectives on the employment of pattern to inform visual vocabularies and investigations of diverse themes in the present day.
Artworks drawn from the Asheville Art Museum’s Collection join select major loans and feature Pattern and Decoration artists Valerie Jaudon, Joyce Kozloff, Robert Kushner, and Miriam Schapiro, as well as Anni Albers, Elizabeth Alexander, Sanford Biggers, Tawny Chatmon, Margaret Curtis, Mary Engel, Cathy Fussell, Shan Goshorn, Samantha Hennekke, John Himmelfarb, Anne Lemanski, Rashaad Newsome, Peter Olson, Don Reitz, Sarah Sense, Billie Ruth Sudduth, Mickalene Thomas, Shoku Teruyama, Anna Valdez, Kehinde Wiley, and more.
This exhibition is organized by the Asheville Art Museum and guest curated by Marilyn Laufer & Tom Butler.