In honor of the 40 year anniversary of the “Bad” Painting show at New Museum in 1978, V1 Gallery proudly presents New “Bad” Painting, an exploration of the concept of “bad” painting in contemporary art.
Marcia Tucker, the curator of the initial show, defined “bad” painting as: “It [“bad” painting] is figurative work that defies, either deliberately or by virtue of disinterest, the classic canons of good taste, draftsmanship, acceptable source material, rendering, or illusionistic representation. In other words, this is work that avoids the conventions of high art, either in terms of traditional art history or very recent taste or fashion.”
The show, a presentation of mostly unknown artists at the time, was not a showing of amateurish or poor artistic judgement, but was for Tucker a rebellion against the emotionless and conceptualized art that reigned in the 1970’s. Tucker’s use of the word “bad” was never used to denote the artists or their work, but was rather used ironically to elevate it from, or ignore, the common structures and ideas of what “good” art of time was, ie. conceptualism and minimalism. New “Bad” Painting tries to revive the ideas of Tucker, and explore their relevance and legacy today.
Much like the first show, the diversity of personalities, background and work of the artists make the grouping somewhat arbitrary. In no way can the exhibition be said to constitute a school or movement. What does link the artists is firstly their age, all of which are born after 1978, which ensures that none of them have a specific reference point in the first show, and secondly, their continuous eager in the investigation of the painting medium, through iconoclasm and idiosyncratic expressions. Obviously, the circumstances surrounding the initial show has changed, and it could be argued that painting has regained its legitimacy as a medium since 1978. In that way New “Bad” Painting does not possess the same subversive agenda as Tuckers show. That being said the purpose has never been to expand on the notion of art, but more to challenge the existing structures and elaborate on what is possible within these boundaries.