Delirious times demand delirious art, or so this exhibition proposes. The years between 1950 and 1980 were beset by upheaval. Around the globe, military conflict proliferated and social and political unrest flared. Disenchantment with an oppressive rationalism mounted, as did a corollary interest in fantastic, hallucinatory experiences. Artists responded to these developments by incorporating absurdity, disorder, nonsense, disorientation, and repetition into their work. In the process, they destabilize space and perception, give form to extreme mental, emotional, and physical states, and derange otherwise logical structures and techniques. “Delirious: Art at the Limits of Reason, 1950-1980” explores the embrace of irrationality among American, Latin American, and European artists. Alumni Mel Bochner (BFA ’62) and Dara Birnbaum (B.Arch ’69) are included in the exhibition, which is on view September 13, 2017 to January 14, 2018.
Bochner and Birnbaum will be joined by Nancy Grossman and Howardena Pindell to discuss their work, the exhibition, and the relevance of delirium today with Kelly Baum, Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Curator, Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. on November 3. A performance scripted by noted critic Brian O’Doherty will follow.