Project Painting

Basilico Fine Arts and Lehmann Maupin, New York

September 10 – October 11, 1997

Sean Number Three


Oil on linen

60 x 84 inches; 152 x 213 cm

Matthew Antezzo, Peter Cain, Chuck Close, John Currin, Carroll Dunham, Ellen Gallagher, Guillermo Kuitca, Laura Owens, Lari Pittman, Matthew Ritchie, Christian Schumann, Shazia Sikander, Nicola Tyson, Matthew Weinstein, Sue Williams, Lisa Yuskavage


Lehmann Maupin and Basilico Fine Arts are pleased to announce their exhibition Project Painting which will be held at both galleries concurrently.


What has painting been doing during the last decade? Largely obscured from the kind of public scrutiny it received in the 1980s, it has been undergoing a sea change, a metamorphosis - less obvious in form than in function.


The concerns of both ‘modern' painting and ‘postmodern' painting are now both taken as given, allowing the various practitioners the freedom to pursue other questions central to the entire activity. What are paintings for? What can they describe? What can they address that other media cannot? In presenting this selection of well-known and emerging artists, we hope to show some of the directions painting has taken and some of the themes they share. A few are obvious: a concern with the figure, with the history of painting and with worlds within worlds; others are more elusive.



This is not a survey show, it concentrates on what can be accomplished inside the canvas - in contrast with recent group shows that have investigated re-definitions of the formal terms of painting or shows that specifically addressed the many issues of ‘abstraction'. Abstraction, like figuration, is treated by these artists as one language among many, neither privileged nor reactionary. Spanning several generations, they work with an optimism and pictorial intelligence that argues for absolute freedom within the medium. Their work is at ease within history but not overwhelmed by it. They take painting as an unfinished project, a work in progress, as mysterious and necessary as ever.