‘What Nerve’ At The RISD Museum

Don’t forget, no admission on Sundays.

Up now through January 4th is “What Nerve: Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present” which

. . . proposes an alternate history of figurative painting, sculpture, and vernacular image-making from 1960 to the present that has been largely overlooked and undervalued. At the heart of What Nerve! are four mini-exhibitions based on crucial shows, spaces, and groups in Chicago (the Hairy Who), San Francisco (Funk), Ann Arbor (Destroy All Monsters), and Providence (Forcefield)—places outside the artistic focal point of New York. These moments are linked together by six influential or intersecting artists: H. C. Westermann, Jack Kirby, William Copley, Christina Ramberg, Gary Panter, and Elizabeth Murray.

The Westermann prints are very Steig, and very cool. And seen here is the unique aesthetic vision of Forcefield, an informal collaboration that came out of the Fort Thunder community. The wall text informs us that between 1996 and 2003, Mat Brinkman, Jim Drain, Leif Goldberg, and Ara Peterson “explored themes of fantasy and anonymity . . . Their output includes eight albums of music, and a handful of singles . . . the shrouds or knitted garments worn by Forcefield members in films and performances.” As well as the highly coveted flyers and posters.

RISD Museum, 224 Benefit Street, 20 North Main Street, (directions)

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