Logical Conclusions: 40 Years of Rule-Based Art
A remarkable group exhibition featuring more than 50 fundamental works by key artists from the 20th century who use objective systems to explore the complex and chaotic realms of the subjective, Logical Conclusions: 40 Years of Rule-Based Art will be on view at PaceWildenstein, 534 West 25th Street, New York City from February 18 through March 26, 2005. Many of the works are on loan from private collections, galleries, and museum collections worldwide including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; The Dallas Museum of Art; The Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York. A full color catalogue with reproductions and an in-depth essay by Marc Glimcher on the history of rule-based art accompanies the exhibition.
Logical Conclusions explores the work of dozens of artists who apply a system of rules to their process of creation, resulting in artwork that ultimately becomes created, generated, and constructed by the imposed algorithm. As Glimcher states in his essay, the rule-based art on exhibit is “created utilizing one or more logic-based systems to direct the design and creation of the object.” The systems may be based on or derived from mathematics, logic, and game theory and therefore can range from the use of scientific proofs to arbitrary yet personally consequential rules. The processes extend from formula based systems with deterministic outcomes to variable systems that allow for the artist’s hand to show through to systems of chaotic processes whose results are completely unpredictable.
Investigating the historical and cultural evolution of four decades of rule-based art, Logical Conclusions commences with Abstract Expressionist artists Josef Albers, Alfred Jensen, and Ad Reinhardt who in the late 1950s used systems of color theory to create their paintings. Neo-Dada and Pop artwork from the early 1960s demonstrates an interest in new subject matter and materials, with artists Jasper Johns, Ed Ruscha, and Andy Warhol who experimented with serial and grid divisional systems and the conceptual interest in the mechanical production of art.
The Minimalists and Conceptualists followed the lead of earlier artists interested in rule-based art, but applied more objective methodologies using mathematical and logic-based systems. Artists such as Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Sol LeWitt, and Carl Andre focused on spatial organization through sculpture while On Kawara and Hanne Darboven were concerned with temporal organization and the use of notational systems to record and categorize time. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a group of experimental artists diversified the form and content of systematic art. Through artists like Richard Serra and Bruce Nauman, rule-based art extended to action and performance pieces that took on visual media forms of object-making and video performance. Simultaneously, Chuck Close applied constructivist logic to traditional systems of portraiture and transcribed images onto the canvas using a technique of grid squares.
While certain art historical authorities and texts argue the cessation of rule-based art in the late 1970s, works by Jeff Koons, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and Peter Halley in the 1980s prove otherwise. With socio-political interests in mind, Koons’ and Gonzalez-Torres’ works on view analyze process and entropy while Halley references society’s sub-structures and framework (“cells”, “prisons”, “walls”, “conduits”) to create his geometric paintings. Representing a new generation of artists in the present day, the exhibition also includes works by James Siena and Tara Donovan, who use a system of predetermined sets of subunits to create work that results in multiple variations, and media artists, Michal Rovner and Paul Pfeiffer. Other contemporary artists on view include Gary Hill, Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, Julie Mehretu, Vik Muniz, Keith Tyson, and Andrea Zittel.
PaceWildenstein gratefully acknowledges the artists, galleries, museums, and private collectors whose participation and cooperation made this exhibition possible: Josef Albers, Carl Andre, Jo Baer, John Baldessari, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Mel Bochner, Marcel Broodthaers, Chuck Close, Hanne Darboven, Tara Donovan, Dan Flavin, Tom Friedman, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Peter Halley, Tim Hawkinson, Gary Hill, Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, Alfred Jensen, Jasper Johns, Joan Jonas, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Jeff Koons, Sherrie Levine/Joost van Oss, Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Piero Manzoni, Julie Mehretu, Mario Merz, Jonathan Monk, Vik Muniz, Bruce Nauman, Paul Pfeiffer, RSG, Charles Ray, Ad Reinhardt, Michal Rovner, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, James Siena, Tony Smith, Frank Stella, Keith Tyson, Corban Walker, Andy Warhol, and Andrea Zittel. Ace Gallery, Andrea Rosen Gallery, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, The Broad Art Foundation, Cheim & Read, Feature Inc., Haunch of Venison, Leo Castelli Gallery, Mary Boone Gallery, Michael Werner Gallery, Paula Cooper Gallery, The Project, Sonnabend Gallery, Yvon Lambert Gallery, and Xippas Galerie. Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY), The Dallas Museum of Art, The Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA), The Museum of Modern Art (New York), The New York Public Library, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York). A list of private collections may be obtained at the gallery.