NASHVILLE, Tenn. – “Chaos and Awe: Painting for the 21st Century,” a survey of paintings from around the world that invite contemplation of contemporary society is on display June 22-Sept. 16 in the Ingram Gallery at Frist Art Museum.
Artists in the exhibition convey the destabilizing effects of globalism, mass migration, the resurgence of radical political agendas, and the rapidly expanding impact of communications and information technology. These forces are dramatically altering social relations in unpredictable ways, provoking emotions from anxiety to excitement about life in the present and future.
Affirming painting’s unfailing relevance as an art form in the digital era, “Chaos and Awe” celebrates the visual freshness, complexity, and associative richness of this age-old medium.
Organized in seven sections, “Chaos and Awe” begins with “No Place,” a meditation on complex technological systems that have enhanced the connectedness of people and cultures around the world, but also led to a heightened vulnerability in our social, political, and technical infrastructures. Paintings in “Shadows” and “Collisions” express reemerging racism, nationalism, and conflicting belief systems. “Interzone” explores encounters between different cultures, portraying global migration. “Virtuality” relates to the impact of the digital age. Paintings in “The Boundless” depict atmosphere, fluid, and smoke as symbols of the vastness of the human imagination. The exhibition concludes with “Everything,” which features works that convey worldviews that can accommodate multiple understandings, welcoming the dissolution of fixed ideas and borders.
Artists in “Chaos and Awe:” Franz Ackermann ; Ahmed Alsoudani ; Ghada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh; Korakrit Arunanondchai; Radcliffe Bailey ; Ali Banisadr; Pedro Barbeito; Jeremy Blake; Matti Braun; Dean Byington; Hamlett Dobbins; Nogah Engler; Anoka Faruqee; Barnaby Furnas; Ellen Gallagher; Wayne Gonzales; Wade Guyton; Rokni Haerizadeh; Peter Halley; Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga; Rashid Johnson; Guillermo Kuitca; Heather Gwen Martin; Julie Mehretu; Jiha Moon; Wangechi Mutu; James Perrin; Neo Rauch; Matthew Ritchie; Rachel Rossin; Pat Steir; Barbara Takenaga; Dannielle Tegeder; Kazuki Umezawa; Charline von Heyl; Sarah Walker; Corinne Wasmuht; and Sue Williams.
The Frist Art Museum has produced an exhibition catalogue, “Chaos and Awe: Painting for the 21st Century,” published by The MIT Press with seventy-six full-color illustrations. It provides various perspectives on painting as a medium that is well suited to describing perceptions of growing instability, contradictory information, and warring extremisms, as well as celebrating the sublime and how artists represent connections in the unseen universe. Edited by Mark W. Scala, with essays by Media Farzin, Simon Morley, and Matthew Ritchie, the book addresses readers who seek patterns of meaning in culture through the lens of perception and aesthetics.
Media Farzin is a writer, editor, and educator. Her writings have appeared in Bidoun, Artforum, Afterimage, and Art-Agenda online. She is a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts and the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, New York.
Simon Morley is an artist and professor at Dankook University in Korea. He is the author of “Writing on the Wall: Word and Image in Modern Art” and editor of The Sublime (MIT Press/Whitechapel Gallery).
Matthew Ritchie’s work is regularly exhibited worldwide and in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. He has written for Artforum, Flash Art, Art & Text, October, and the Contemporary Arts Journal. He lectures widely and is currently a mentor professor in the graduate visual arts program at Columbia University.
Platinum Sponsor: HCA Foundation on behalf of HCA Healthcare/TriStar Health
Hospitality Sponsor: Union Station Hotel
Education and Outreach Sponsor: First Tennessee
This exhibition is supported in part by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support provided by an NEA Art Works Grant.
Ellen Jones Pryor
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