Pattern and Decoration. Viaggio al termine del modernismo

Pasquale Fameli

Abstract


The Pattern and Decoration movement, which emerged in New York in the mid-Seventies, was one of the most significant reactions to the minimalist and conceptual reductionisms of the previous artistic season. This phenomenon anticipated some of the fundamental problems of the art of the Eighties, such as the return to the materiality of the work, the recovery of the sensitive values of form and colour and, above all, the reassessment of decorativeness, still considered less important compared to other ways of the image. Supported by the gallery owner Holly Solomon and the critics Amy Goldin, John Perreault, Jeff Perrone and Francesca Alinovi, this movement was immediately successful, unfortunately followed by a rapid decline. However, its rediscovery is necessary, as proved by the concomitance of some exhibitions recently held in some of the major European and American museums. Thanks to the proscription of avant-garde formalism and the direct confrontation with the logic of Kitsch, Pattern and Decoration marked the end of modernity and its rationalizing models, deconstructing the canons of modernism and legitimizing a multi-ethnic and pluralistic aesthetic. The operational strategies of Pattern Painting also seem to faithfully reflect some of the fundamental concepts of more mature postmodernism, with particular reference to the thinking of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. The two philosophers contrast the “striated” space of modernity, based on rationalizing criteria, with the “smooth” space of postmodernity, which follows the logic of patchwork and constitutes the ideal paradigm of a nomadic, syncretic and rhizomatic culture. Starting from all these considerations, the essay focuses on the aesthetic assumptions of the movement, examining the critical reflections of Goldin, Perreault, Perrone and Alinovi and the poetics of some its exponents, including Valerie Jaudon, Robert Kushner, Kim MacConnel, Joyce Kozloff and Miriam Schapiro. The comparison with the theories of Deleuze and Guattari and other authors engaged in the re-evaluation of the decorative allows us to confirm the importance of its proposal for the cultural context of the Eighties.


Keywords


Pattern; Decoration; Kitsch; Postmodern; Deleuze

References


Alinovi, Francesca. “Cosmesi della pelle del pianeta”. In L’arte mia, 187–91. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1984.

Alinovi, Francesca. “Il ritorno alla decorazione nell’arte, nell’architettura e nel «design»”. In L’arte mia, 31–41. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1984.

Alinovi, Francesca. “L’arte decorativa”. In L’arte mia, 99–102. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1984.

Alinovi, Francesca. “Quel che piace a me”. In L’arte mia, 175–9. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1984.

Alloway, Lawrence. Systemic Painting. New York: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1966.

Altea, Giuliana. Il fantasma del decorativo. Milano: Il Saggiatore, 2012.

Appelhof, Ruth A. “Interview (May 1978 and February 1979)”. In Miriam Schapiro. A Retrospective 1953-1980. Wooster: College of Wooster Art Museum, 1980.

Auther, Elissa. “The Decorative, Abstraction, and the Hierarchy of Art and Craft in the Art Criticism of Clement Greenberg”. Oxford Art Journal, vol. 27, no. 3 (2004): 341–64.

Auther, Elissa. Surface/Depth: The Decorative After Miriam Schapiro. New York: Museum of Art and Design, 2018.

Balducci, Temma. “The Elephant in the Room: Pattern and Decoration, Feminism, Aesthetics and Politics”. In Pattern and Decoration: An Ideal Vision of American Art 1975-1985, edited by Anne Swartz, 43–8. New York: Hudson River Museum, 2007.

Barilli, Renato. “Una mappa per gli anni Ottanta” (1985). In Il ciclo del postmoderno. La ricerca artistica negli anni ’80, 124–38. Milano: Feltrinelli, 1987.

Bell, Clive. L’arte. Palermo: Aesthetica, 2012.

Bloch, Ernst. “Iconoclastia e ornamenti”. In Ornamenti. Arte, filosofia e letteratura, 71–98. Roma: Armando, 2012.

Bohele, Esther and Manuela Ammer. A cura di. Pattern and Decoration. Ornament als Verspreschen. Aachen: Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst; Wien: Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig; Köln: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 2018.

Bovier, Lionel, Franck Gautherot, and Seungduk Kim. A cura di. Pattern, Decorative and Crime. Genève: Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, 2018.

Bruderlin, Markus. A cura di. Ornament and Abstraction. The Dialogue between non-Western, Modern and Contemporary Art. New Haven: Yale University Press; Basel: Fondation Beyeler; Köln: DuMont, 2001.

Buci-Glucksmann, Christine. Filosofia dell’ornamento. Palermo: Sellerio, 2010.

Carboni, Massimo. L’ornamentale. Tra arte e decorazione. Milano: Jaca Book, 2000.

Carchia, Gianni. “L’ornamento come dono”. In Rivista di Estetica, vol. 22, no. 12 (1982): 53–9.

Costa, Mario. Dall’estetica dell’ornamento alla computer art. Napoli: Tempo Lungo, 2000.

Danto, Arthur Coleman. “Pattern and Decoration as a Late Modernist Movement”. In Pattern and Decoration: An Ideal Vision of American Art 1975-1985, edited by Anne Swartz, 7–11. New York: Hudson River Museum, 2007.

Deleuze, Gilles, and Felix Guattari. Mille piani. Capitalismo e schizofrenia. Roma: Castelvecchi, 2003.

Dorfles, Gillo. “Riscoperta dell’ornamento”. In Rivista di Estetica, vol. 22, no. 12 (1982): 10–5.

Dorfles, Gillo. Il Kitsch. Antologia del cattivo gusto. Milano: Mazzotta, 1990.

Fry, Roger. Visione e disegno. Milano: Minuziano, 1947.

Goldin, Amy. “Matisse and Decoration: The Late Cut-Outs”. Art in America, no. 63 (July-August 1975): 49–59.

Goldin, Amy. “Patterning and Decoration”. In Patterning & Decoration, 3. Miami: The Museum of the American Foundation for the Arts, 1977.

Goldin, Amy. “Patterns Grids and Paintings”. Artforum, vol. 14, no. 1 (September 1975): 50–4.

Goldin, Amy. “The «New» Whitney Biennal: Pattern Emerging?”. Art in America, no. 62 (May-June 1975): 72–3.

Goldin, Amy. “The Body Language of Pictures”. Artforum, vol. 16, no. 7 (March 1978): 54–9.

Gombrich, Ernst. Il senso dell’ordine. Studio sulla psicologia dell’arte decorativa. Torino: Einaudi, 1984.

Hoeveler, J. David. The Postmodernist Turn. American Tought and Culture in 1970s. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004.

Jaudon, Valerie and Kozloff, Joyce. “Art Hysterical Notions of Progress and Culture”. Heresies: Women’s Traditional Arts: The Politics of Aesthetics, vol. 4 (Winter 1977–8): 38–42.

Jaudon, Valerie. “Figuring Abstraction”. Tema Celeste, no. 34 (January-March 1992): 91.

Jaudon, Valerie. “Limited Immunity”. New Observations, no. 68 (June 1989): 8–9.

Jensen, Robert and Patricia Conway. Ornamentalism. The new decorativeness in architecture and design. New York: C.N. Potter, 1982.

Johnston, Patricia. “Joyce Kozloff: Visionary Ornament. An Overview”. In Joyce Kozloff. Visionary Ornament. Boston: Boston University Art Gallery, 1986.

Kardon, Janet. “The Decorative Impulse”. In The Decorative Impulse. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Institute for Contemporary Art, 1979.

Katz, Anna. A cura di. Pattern and Decoration. Los Angeles: The Museum of Contemporary Art, 2019.

Katz, Anna et al., With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972-1985. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019.

Kingsley, April. “Introduction”. In Islamic Allusions. New York: Alternative Museum, 1980.

Kozloff, Joyce. “Interview with Robin White”. View, vol. 3, no. 3 (1981).

Kushner, Robert. “Do Real man Paint Flowers?”. In Robert Kushner. Portraits and Perennials. New York: DC Moore Gallery, 2017.

Lancioni, Daniela. “Può un’eccellente opera d’arte contemporanea essere ornamentale o decorativa?”. Predella, no. 37, 2015: 175–89.

Mecacci, Andrea. Il Kitsch. Bologna: Il Mulino, 2014.

Meyer, Melissa and Miriam Schapiro. “Waste Not, Want Not: An Inquiry into What Women Saved and Assembled – Femmage”. Heresies: Women’s Traditional Arts: The Politics of Aesthetics, vol. 4 (Winter 1977–8): 66–9.

Meyer, Ruth Krueger. “Kim MacConnel”. In Arabesque. Joyce Kozloff, Robert Kushner, Kim MacConnel, Rodney Ripps, Barbara Schwartz, Ned Smyth, 12. Cincinnati: The Contemporary Arts Center, 1978.

Meyers-Kingsley, Dara and Catherine Morris. “Off the Wall: The Development of Robert Kushner’s Fashion and Performance Art, 1970–1976”. Fashion Theory, vol. 5, no. 3 (2001): 311–30.

Moles, Abraham. Il Kitsch. L’arte della felicità. Roma: Officina, 1979.

Nigro Covre, Jolanda. Astrattismo. Temi e forme dell’astrazione nelle avanguardie europee. Milano: Motta, 2002.

Otten, Holger. “Pattern and Decoration revisited – Matisse und die Politiken der Kunstgeschichte in den USA der Nachkriegszeit”. In Pattern and Decoration. Ornament als Verspreschen, edited by Esther Bohele and Manuela Ammer, 33–8. Aachen: Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst; Wien: Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig; Köln: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 2018.

Palmero, Piero. “Empatia, astrazione, arte ornamentale: Worringer, Jung, «Mille plateaux»”. Rivista di Estetica, vol. 22, no. 12 (1982): 91–8.

Perreault, John. “Issue in Pattern Painting”. Artforum, vol. 16, no. 3, November 1977: 32–6.

Perrone, Jeff. “Approaching the Decorative”. Artforum, vol. 15, no. 4, December 1976: 26–30.

Perrone, Jeff. “Joyce Kozloff at Tibor de Nagy Gallery”. Artforum, vol. 18, no. 3, November 1979: 78–9.

Picchione, John. Dal modernismo al postmodernismo. Riflessioni teoriche e pratiche della scrittura. Macerata: EUM, 2012.

Rickey, Carrie. “Joyce Kozloff”. Arts, January 1978: 2.

Rickey, Carrie. “Pittura decorativa e ornamentale, pattern e utilitarismo. Quattro tendenze in cerca di un Movimento”. Flash Art, vol. 13, nn. 90–1 (June–July 1979): 24–7.

Schapiro, Miriam. The Politics of the Decorative. New York: Guild Hall of East Hampton The Museum, 1992.

Soulillou, Jacques. Le décoratif. Paris: Kilinksieck, 1990.

Swartz, Anne. “Pattern and Decoration und Feminismus”. In Pattern and Decoration. Ornament als Verspreschen, edited by Esther Bohele and Manuela Ammer, 23–30. Aachen: Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst; Wien: Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig; Köln: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 2018.

Swartz, Anne. A cura di. Pattern and Decoration: An Ideal Vision of American Art 1975-1985. New York: Hudson River Museum, 2007.

Szeemann, Harald. “Retrogression and Progression Towards the «Dignity of the Decorative»”. Du. The Arts Magazine, no. 6 (June 1979).

Tusini, Gian Luca. La pelle dell’ornamento. Dinamiche e dialettiche della decorazione tra Otto e Novecento. Bologna: Bononia University Press, 2008.

Welch, Stuart Cary. A King’s Book of Kings. The Shah-nameh of Shah Tahmasp. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972.

Worringer, Wilhelm. Astrazione e empatia. Torino: Einaudi, 1975.

Zevi, Adachiara. Arte USA del Novecento. Roma: Carocci, 2000.




DOI: 10.6092/issn.2611-0563/9427

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2019 Pasquale Fameli

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.