Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Destroy the Picture at the MCA

Destroy The Picture at MCA Chicago

Painting is dead! Long live painting!

The debate over painting has been going on for a long time as artists dare to push beyond the limits of the picture plane, or obliterate it altogether. The artists whose work is on display at the MCA's exhibit Destroy The Picture: Painting the Void 1949-1962 have done exactly that. In some ways, their response to the destruction in the wake of World War II is similar to the reaction of the Dada artists to World War I. These postwar artists question the war machine and try to find ways to cope with the horrors they have seen: cities reduced to rubble, casualties, and nuclear devastation. These paintings have been covered in bandages, splayed open, burned, and shot. In addition to their social messages, these paintings challenge the viewer to see them as objects in and of themselves, and not just a two dimensional picture plane.


Destroy The Picture at MCA Chicago -  Otto Muehl
Otto Muehl

Destroy The Picture at MCA Chicago - Salvatore Scarpitta
Salvatore Scarpitta

Destroy The Picture at MCA Chicago - Salvatore Scarpitta
Salvatore Scarpitta

Destroy The Picture at MCA Chicago - Salvatore Scarpitta
Salvatore Scarpitta

Destroy The Picture at MCA Chicago - Lee Bontecu


Destroy The Picture at MCA Chicago - Lee Bontecu

Destroy The Picture at MCA Chicago - Lee Bontecu

Destroy The Picture at MCA Chicago - Lee Bontecu
Lee Bontecou


Destroy The Picture at MCA Chicago - Jacques Villegle
Jacques Villegle

Destroy The Picture at MCA Chicago - Alberto Burri

Destroy The Picture at MCA Chicago - Alberto Burri

Destroy The Picture at MCA Chicago - Alberto Burri
Alberto Burri


Destroy The Picture at MCA Chicago - Niki de Saint Phalle
Niki de Saint Phalle


Destroy The Picture at MCA Chicago - Kazuo Shiraga
Kazuo Shiraga






The museum has done an excellent job of providing information about the context in which these works were created. There is even a small library of books by important authors of the era. For those interested in art history or world history, this is a show worth seeing. I plan to see it again. Destroy The Picture will be on exhibit until June 2nd.

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