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Surface Tension: Pictorial Space in 20th-Century Art

April 21, 2018 - May 12, 2019

Esteban Vicente, Interior Landscape, 1987, Oil on canvas. Gift of the Estate of Esteban Vicente.

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Since the beginning of the 20th century, the artist’s handling of the picture plane has shifted dramatically from the “window on the world” first described by theorist Leon Battista Alberti in the 15th century. In the modern era, one-point and atmospheric perspectives, which enable the depiction of illusionistic three-dimensional space, have been replaced by an approach that boldly insists on the two-dimensional nature of the painted surface. Surface Tension: Pictorial Space in 20th-Century Art traces this transformation, from early modernist works influenced by Cubism through the age of Abstract Expressionism. Illusionism in 20th-century art is explored in works based on color theory and in Op art that confounds perception. Featured artists include Ilya Bolotowsky and Esphyr Slobodkina, Elaine de Kooning, Nicolas Carone, Alfonso Ossorio, Robert Richenburg, Esteban Vicente, and Richard Anuszkiewicz, among others

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