Jennifer Bartlett: History of the Universe -
Works 1970-2011

Amagansett Diptych #1, 2007-08, Oil on 2 canvases, 108 x 216 inches overall, Collection of the artist, New York

June 27 - October 13, 2013

Fisher Brooks Gallery, Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building

The thought of being a genius, preferably misunderstood, in any field always riveted me.” – Jennifer Bartlett

Read about this exhibition in The New York Times.

PAFA is pleased to present Jennifer Bartlett: History of the Universe —Works 1970-2011 organized by the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York.  Jennifer Bartlett emerged in the 1970s as one of the leading American artists of her time and one of the first female painters of her generation to be both commercially successful and critically acclaimed. When her monumental painting Rhapsody was first shown in 1976, it was regarded as a tour­de­force postmodern pastiche of the history of modern art. In Rhapsody, Bartlett illustrated with unprecedented intellectual and visual acuity her groundbreaking vision, in which all painting styles and forms are equally valid and available for artistic appropriation. Often such early initial success will inevitably overshadow an artist’s subsequent development. In Bartlett’s case, however, Rhapsody became merely a point of departure for an exceptionally prolific and inventive career.

Remaining true to her vision of painting as a never­ending associative construction that always leaves open connections to other ideas, Bartlett continues to experiment, always willing to subvert and unsettle the seeming happiness and simplicity of her imagery and words.

The exhibition provides an unprecedented 40-­year survey of Bartlett’s career, featuring both highly controlled abstract works and those reflecting a more painterly realism. Included are prime examples of works from all of Bartlett's major series, including the multi­paneled and multi­medium “House Paintings” and the critically acclaimed “In the Garden” series; the innovative pairing of sculpture and paintings depicting boats and houses; the “Air: 24 Hours” series painted between 1991 and 1992; the autobiographical “Earth Paintings,” which dealt which memories of child abuse and were painted between 1993 and 1995; her “Word Paintings,” begun in 2004, featuring short stories and dialogues “written” onto her signature enameled steel plates; and her most recent paintings depicting houses, trees, and plants surrounding her homes in Amagansett and Brooklyn.

Organizer: Jennifer Bartlett: History of the Universe —Works 1970-2011 organized by the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York.

Curator: Klaus Ottmann is director of the Center for the Study of Modern Art and curator at large at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. He has curated more than 50 international exhibitions, including Angels, Demons, and Savages: Pollock, Ossorio, Dubuffet; Jennifer Bartlett: Place – A Survey of Paintings and Sculpture; Per Kirkeby: Paintings and Sculpture; Rackstraw Downes: Onsite Paintings, 1972–2008;  Fairfield Porter: Raw – The Creative Process of an American Master; Still Points of the Turning World: SITE Santa Fe’s Sixth International Biennial; Life, Love, and Death: The Work of James Lee Byars; and Wolfgang Laib: A Retrospective.

Sponsors: Jennifer Bartlett: History of the Universe — Works 1970-2011 was organized by the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, and was made possible, in part, with the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation. The presentation of this exhibition at PAFA is made possible by contributing support from the Andrew J. and Christine C. Hall Foundation, Inc., Agnes Gund, Barbara and Ted Aronson, and Gene and Sueyun Locks, with additional support from Linda Lee Alter, Luther W. Brady, M.D., Gretchen H. Burke, Janice T. Gordon, Gabriele Lee, Mr. and Mrs. H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, Susan M. Maguire, and Mr. and Mrs. Morris Stroud.

PAFA's special exhibitions in 2013-14 are supported by generous contributions from Max N. Berry, Esq., William and Laura Buck, Donald and Linda Caldwell, Jonathan L. Cohen, Edward and Wendy Harvey, Lori Levine Ordover and Janusz Ordover, and Linda Seyda and Bob Boris.

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ public programs are funded in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency).




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