The Exiles's Return: Toward a Redefinition of Painting for the Post-Modern Era by Thomas McEvilley
This volume gathers together essays by the noted critic Thomas McEvilley which document and analyse the fundamental changes that have taken place in painting from the 1960s to the present. Sometime during the 1960s, the ideology of Modernism began to be perceived as a collapsing structure. In terms of the visual arts, this perception focused primarily upon the tradition of easel painting which was declared to be dead. After two decades, painting revived around 1980. Its return from exile, however, signaled new aims. Incorporating elements of conceptualism and performance, painting has assumed a new theoretical basis in postmodern cultural theory. Demonstrating the failure of artistic modernism in social and cultural terms, McEvilley elucidates the new theoretical context in which easel painting is practised today. He shows painting to be a more versatile and flexible medium than was previously thought, as well as a means of expression that can incorporate a variety of social and theoretical stances without compromising its focus on pictorial reality.
1. Introduction: the exile's return; 2. Seeking the primal through paint: the monochrome icon; 3. The opposite of emptiness; 4. Grey geese descending: the art of Agnes Martin; 5. The figure and what it says: reflections on the iconography of the 80's; 6. The case of Julian Schnabel; 7. The work of 'Georg Baselitz?'; 8. Carlo Maria Mariani's dialogue with history; 9. Pat Steir's confrontation with history; 10. Flower power: trying to say the obvious about Sigmar Polke; 11. Ceci n'est pas un Bidlo?: rethinking quotational theory; 12. Now read this; 13. Frontal attack: the work of Leon Golub.