Denny Dimin Gallery is pleased to announce Fringe, a group exhibition featuring twelve artists at the gallery’s New York location, on view from July 8th to August 20th, 2021.
Fringe was inspired by recent exhibitions of the Pattern and Decoration (P & D) art movement from the 1970s and its resonance and resurgence with many contemporary artists. The movement’s privileging of materials such as textiles and ceramics, its promotion of female artists and its interest in domestic space as a place for creativity, all connect it strongly to the concerns of contemporary artists half a century later.
P & D exalted the artists, mediums, cultures, and aesthetics the then current artworld snubbed. It sought out what was on the periphery, on the fringe of mainstream and turned it on its head. The references to fabric design, quilting, stained glass, manuscripts, textiles, pottery, mosaics, embroidery and most non-Western Art, continue to proliferate in the works of contemporary artists and upend traditional art historical narratives.
In her essay introducing a seminal exhibition on P & D, Anna Katz points out that it is not wholly satisfying to declare it an anti-minimalist movement, as there were many formal connections, such as an interest in architecture and in repetition and the grid. What was significantly challenged was instead the hierarchies of importance assigned to fine art over decorative art, and the significant codification of this in institutional and academic settings. 1
Fifty years later, the challenge P & D posed to institutional art history and the market for non-white, non-male artists continue to be a struggle for contemporary artists. Only 14% of all exhibitions at 26 prominent U.S. museums over the past decade were of work by women artists.2 A data analysis of 18 major U.S. art museums found that their collections are 87% male and 85% white.3 The deployment of materials and approaches that are coded female or are by artists of diverse backgrounds continues to be a way to challenge this status quo.
One radical element of P & D was its commitment to unveiling the realm of the domestic. Private life could become public art. Pattern acted as a visualization of the repetition of daily life. Its unabashed presentation of mundane daily labors, sewing, floral arrangement, sitting and drafting from the kitchen table, have never been more relevant than from our present moment, when our domestic routines have become all encompassing, endless, and unprecedentedly challenging. Many artists have had no choice but to embrace the kitchen table as art studio.
1“P & D unsettled and troubled the coding by the academic, the discipline of art history, the museum, and the market of the wide range of arts historically associated with women’s traditional activities in the home and non-Western cultures as decorative and thus secondary, or worse.” Anna Katz, Lessons in Promiscity: Patterning and the New Decorativeness in Art of the 1970s and 1980s.
2Julia Halperin and Charlotte Burns, “Museums Claim They’re Paying More Attention to Female Artists. That’s an Illusion,” Artnet, from the series “Women’s Place in the Art World.” September 19, 2019.
3Chad Topaz, Bernhard Klingenberg, Daniel Turek, Brianna Heggeseth, Pamela Harris, Julie C. Blackwood, C. Ondine Chavoya, Steven Nelson, Kevin M. Murphy. “Diversity of Artists in Major U.S. Museums,” Public Library of Science (PLOS). Published March 20, 2019.
Please join us for an opening reception for the artists.
Exhibition publication for “Fringe” at Denny Dimin Gallery, New York from July 8 to August 20, 2021. Essay by Alexandra Verini.