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What Nerve!
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'This exhibition proposes an alternate history of figurative painting, sculpture, and vernacular image-making from the 1960 to the present that has been largely over-looked and undervalued, ' Nadel writes in the accompanying catalogue, published by D.A.P.--Arnie Cooper "Art News "
'What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present' gives pride of place to misfit artistic subcultures that mainstream institutions have long ignored.--Ellen Schafer "Art in America "
A demonstration of how widly diverse the range of sub-cultural artistry has always been outside of the dominant New York art world.--Matthew Erickson "Frieze "
An informative catalgoue, published in conjunction with the exhibition, is Nadel's attempt to tell the story of this artistic lineage in full. While many of the artists in "What Nerve!" have colourful biographies, . Nadel says that he is wary of overemphasising this aspect. 'The work defies any easy one-liners. The story is the work.'--Jonathan Griffin "The Art Newspaper "
Generally speaking, the art is grotesque, garish and exuberant, cranky, sometimes menacing, often hilarious and, in the case of the Hairy Who and Destroy All Monsters, particularly fresh.--J. Hoberman "The New York Review of Books "
I walked away from the show sensing that these artists were not experimenting but refining fully formed aesthetics...What they produced wasn't high or low imagery, but publics and taste that were wholly their own.--William S. Smith "Art in America "
It's enough to make you want to move to Dayton or Milwaukee and start getting weird.--Scott Indrisek "Art Info "
It's wonderful how authentic, vital, and even inspiring their whippersnapper principles feel, fifty years later.--Peter Schjeldahl "The New Yorker "
This focus on early works catches the artists when they were young, feeding off the creative energies of their comrades and responding most nakedly to their historical times.--Ken Johnson "The New York Times "
This published companion to an exhibition of the same title at the Rhode Island School of Design's museum of Art in Providence connects some widely spaced dots. Starting with the figurative artists of the "Hairy Who" in Chicago and West Coast Funk artists and their assorted allies, it recontextualizes painters as various as William N. Copley, Elizabeth Murray and Gary Panter; encompasses the rogue artist/musicians of Destroy All Monsters; and concludes with the erstwhile Providence collective Forcefield. It may not make total sense, but it greatly broadens the view beyond the usual academic and market suspects.--Holland Cotter "The New York Times "
This show, along with the excellent catalog...teems with ideas that other curators should build on.--Roberta Smith "The New York Times "
What Nerve!, the latest exhibit from the RISD Museum, uncovers four underground art movements. These contemporary American scenes span the United States, with moments in Chicago, San Francisco, Ann Arbor, and Providence. Remaining separate from major art-historical movements mostly centered in New York--including Pop art, Minimalism, and Conceptual art--the works in What Nerve! bring the artists' subversive messages to light.--Molly Elizalde "Conde Nast Traveler "
I found "What Nerve!" hugely stimulating. Not only because it's filled with brilliant and original work, but because it's also sprinkled liberally with clunkers -- truly groan-inducing, deeply ordinary art. As a result, the show gives your critical criteria a really good workout. Better yet, it raises such interesting questions. Does art thrive in collectivist settings? Is the energy of groups more productive -- or just more viable in the worldly sense -- than the heat given off by solitary creators? Is the collective, as an expression of youthful idealism, an end in itself? Or is it, at best, a kind of shell protecting creative individuals in their embryonic stages, best broken out of?--Sebastian Smee "The Boston Globe "
"What Nerve!" opens up the narrow trajectory of art history into a dizzying knot of possible interconnections and influences, suggesting the shapes and lines formed by art history are works of art in themselves.--Priscilla Frank "Huffington Post "
A provocativ--Carrie Hojnick "Architectural Digest "

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