Unlimited: Painting and Political Upheaval

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Sharon Butler reviews Unlimited: Painting in France in the 1960s & 1970s at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Butler writes: “The incisive, elegantly installed exhibition in Philadelphia, comprising work made from 1964 through 1974, highlights some of the ideas that were percolating before and after the 1968 riots. Artists began to consider how they were using traditional materials in the service of painting images. Perhaps, they thought, there might be room for revolutionary activity in painting? Artists began looking at paintings as image-objects, using not just the canvas, but the wooden stretchers, too, as part of the painting… The exhibition is an eloquent reminder that while art may not be overtly political, it is born of politics. Painting, in particular, through process and materials, provides a rich arena for artists to explore collective feelings that bubble to the surface during times of difficult social and cultural disruption.”

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