L&M Arts is proud to announce Beyond Black, White, and Gray, a retroactive and contemporary look at this reductive aesthetic, inspired by the historic 1964 exhibition curated by Samuel Wagstaff for the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford.
For the original exhibition, Black, White, and Gray, Wagstaff transcended stylistic and generational boundaries to unite a broad body of work with visually minimal affinities. The result was a provocative exhibition that recognized analogous anti-subjective tendencies in fine art, literature, philosophy, and fashion, shepherded in mainstream acceptance of the minimal style, and inspired critical debate. One objection was to the show's bottom-line. Wagstaff believed this austere sensibility emphasized a pervasive move away from "emotion… handwriting… brushwork… or attempt to please or ingratiate," and accordingly, he deemed new art anti-expressive.
With Beyond Black, White, and Gray L&M Arts considers work with a similar colorless palette by minimal and pop artists included in the original exhibition, additional important proto and post-minimal figures, and well-known contemporary artists. Although some of the examples selected are deliberately erroneous (Indiana's silver Love replaces the original black and white Die), the overall impact is, like the original, unprejudicedly stark. While such a bare aesthetic may downplay disparate artistic processes and intentions, we hope visitors will take a second look. In fact, this reductive art can be quite expressive. Which leads to the clichéd, yet appropriate question – maybe things are not so black and white?