curated by Alison Gingeras
“Today everyone (including those bourgeois who should have been stunned and scandalized) recognize as artistically beautiful all those works that had horrified their fathers. The ugliness of the avant-garde has been accepted as a new model of beauty, and has given rise to a new commercial circuit.” Umberto Eco, On Ugliness (2007)
Pretty and Ugly, while both somewhat pejorative terms in intellectual circles, are handy, if deliberately sophomoric, positions that might be used to describe how artists try to aesthetically shape their work, two adjectives that encapsulate the complex history of art making albeit reducing it to a simple polar opposition.
Pretty Ugly, on view summer 2008 at Gavin Brown’s enterprise and maccarone, attempts to address how artists strategically engage aesthetics; not attributing a validity of one concept over the other, it goes without saying that concepts of beauty and ugliness are always in flux and depend on specific historical and cultural contexts.
Pretty Ugly will instead present an ever-shifting continuum through the eclectic selection of artists from the historical avant-garde to those practicing today, endeavoring to cultivate a deliberate ambiguity in regard to what might be understood in terms of conventional tastes or art world convention. This knowingly subjective, stream of consciousness placement of objects is not without art historical thinking yet surely endeavors to break with museographic conventions. Organized in two different galleries on either corner of a single block, the fluidity of “pretty” and “ugly” will be played with and almost posit “pretty ugly” as a third term which might apply to a vast range of artists and works, thereby fusing the two galleries into a single exhibition.
Everything and anything, in a way, can be pretty ugly.
ARTISTS INCLUDE: Pierre Alechinsky, John Alexander, Ida Applebroog, John Armleder, Kristin Baker, Georg Baselitz, Hans Bellmer, Lynda Benglis, Carol Bove, Glenn Brown, Guy Bourdin, Louise Bourgeois, Günter Brus, Bernard Buffet, Chapman Brothers, James Lee Byars, Brian Calvin, Chivas Clem, Ann Craven, Roberto Cuoghi, John Currin, Verne Dawson, Otto Dix, Richard Diebenkorn, Louise Fishman, Mark Flood, Llyn Foulkes, Gelitin, Isa Genzken, Nan Goldin, Leon Golub, Mark Grotjahn, Marsden Hartley, Eva Hesse, Jonathan Horowitz, Gary Hume, Jörg Immendorff, Tony Just, Alex Katz, Karen Kilimnik, Martin Kippenberger, Bruce LaBruce, Eugéne Leroy, Lee Lozano, Markus Lüpertz, Edward Middleton Manigault, Paul McCarthy, Cory McCorkle, John McCracken, Otto Muehl, Takashi Murakami, Hermann Nitsch, Jim Nutt, Albert Oehlen, Chris Ofili, Laura Owens, Raymond Pettibon, Elizabeth Peyton, Francis Picabia, Jack Pierson, Rob Pruitt, Carol Rama, Charles Ray, Anselm Reyle, Julian Schnabel, Rudolf Schwarzkogler, Tamuna Sirbilaze, Agathe Snow, Frances Stark, Pat Steir, Haim Steinbach, Richard Tuttle, Piotr Uklanski, Kaari Upson, Stan VanDerBeek, Erik van Lieshout, Abraham Walkowitz, Andy Warhol, Hans Weigand, Franz West, Hannah Wilke, Sue Williams and others….