ROBERT INDIANA: PEACE PAINTINGS
Legendary “American Painter of Signs”Returns with New Works on a Political Theme
PAUL KASMIN GALLERY is pleased to announce Robert Indiana: Peace Paintings, an exhibition of 20 bold new canvases on a political theme by this iconic American artist. The exhibition will be on view April 21 – May 29, 2004. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10am – 6pm.
Indiana, who is 75 years old, returned to the public eye in 2003 when he had his first New York solo exhibitions in more than a decade and his monumental number sculptures were installed outdoors on Park Avenue. When looked at fresh, his work revealed itself to be “Pop in its graphic appearance but un-Pop in its emotional density and self-referentiality,” wrote critic Barbara MacAdam, who noted the pointed political commentary to be discovered in some of the recent paintings. “While America has set the parameters of his work,” she concluded, “Indiana has enriched it with a world of literary and art-historical experience.”
This complexity, as well as the satirical bite, had been present in Indiana’s work from the first. The artist’s career was launched in 1962, when The Museum of Modern Art purchased his startling painting The American Dream #1. As the poet and critic Nathan Kernan has written, the work was “a kind of overture, introducing many of the themes and images that will reappear in later paintings: numbers, stars, words, circles, polygons, and diagonal ‘hazard’ bars.” The meaning, according to the artist, was personal in origin and national in import. “I was born in 1928,” he told the critic Francine Koslow Miller. “The crash occurred in 1929….We moved twenty-one times before I was seventeen. In my first painting of The American Dream, quite simply, the American dream was broken. It was no longer in effect for us and for lots of other people…”
Indiana’s continuing concern with public events is in evidence in his new series of 20 Peace Paintings. Painted in 2003 in response to the Iraq war, the diamond-format works are boldly colored designs executed in the artist’s characteristic hard-edge, geometric style. The paintings feature gnomic slogans about peace, painted within a circular band crossed by a “hazard” bar, and have at their core the forked peace sign—a symbol that Indiana began incorporating into his paintings with his now-classic 1961 Melville Triptych.
Concurrent with the showing of Robert Indiana: Peace Paintings, the acclaimed Price Tower Arts Center in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, will present a thematic exhibition titled Robert Indiana 66: Paintings and Sculpture (April 23-July 4, 2004), guest curated by Adrian Dannatt. Encompassing both classic and recent works, the exhibition reveals key autobiographical sources for Indiana’s art in his biography and in the Great Plains landscape. Information on the Arts Center, which is housed in Frank Lloyd Wright’s landmark Price Tower skyscraper, is available at www.pricetower.org.
For further information or images about Robert Indiana: Peace Paintings, please view our website at www.paulkasmingallery.com or contact Bree Jeppson, The Kreisberg Group, 212-799-5515.