"Curator's Choice: People, Places, and Things," which opens at the University of Virginia Art Museum on Jan. 20, features works by artists that reference the visual world while exploring new ways of representing reality.
After the first purely abstract painting was created 100 years ago, many believed that traditional artistic genres would be abandoned. Such fears were amplified during the postwar period with the rise of gestural abstraction and color field painting, when numerous artists were more concerned with pursuing exploration of pure optics and various media than depicting subjects rooted more directly in reality.
Ultimately such fears proved to be unfounded as, throughout the 20th century and now in the 21st century, artists continued to make reference to the visual world, creating work that featured representations of people, places and things – categories known more academically as portraits, landscapes and still lifes. Such classifications, however, expanded to accommodate such things as the significant role of photography and film, the influence of psychoanalysis, the trauma of multiple wars, the impact of commercial culture, the role of abstraction and an increasingly diverse group of artistic voices.
"With approaches ranging from Cubism and Surrealism to Pop and Photo-Realism on view, 'Curator's Choice' shows the diverse ways in which modern and contemporary artists engaged such themes and, by extension, the visible world," said Jennifer Farrell, the museum's curator of exhibitions, who organized the show.
Drawn from the museum's collection, the exhibition will feature work by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Sally Mann, Joseph Cornell, Christo, Arman, Eugène Atget, Lyonel Feininger, Nancy Graves, Philip Guston, Robert Indiana, Alex Katz, Franz Kline, Malcom Morley, Dieter Roth, Jean Tinguely and Paul Thek.
The exhibition, which runs through May 20, is supported by Albemarle Magazine, Arts$, The Hook and Ivy Publications LLC's Charlottesville Welcome Book.