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Paintings Deficient of Paint: Merging History, Conservation-Restoration and Contemporary Art in the Verso

Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - 15:06
Description: This text presents the results of independent research of 21st century artworks and museum presentations that focus on the backs of paintings—the verso. This phenomenon is distinguished by a use of alternative media and various modes of presentation. Examples of photographic works, sculpture, installation art and art intervention are all delineated, which stand in marked contrast to the historical depiction of the verso found primarily in paintings. The discussion makes reference to the work of international artists: Dora Longo Bahia, Gerard Byrne, Paco Cao, Ben Geoghegan, Merlin James, Anne Koskinen, Vik Muniz and Antti Oikarinen. Presentations occurring at the Mauritshuis, Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (MASP) and Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto (MART) are also noted. In select cases, comments deriving from direct communication with the artist or curator are included. Conservation matters are brought into the discussion of some artists' works. While these contemporary artworks and art projects form the prime focus of the survey, 21st century exhibitions that examined the verso from a technical perspective, as opposed to an artistic one, and a brief overview of historical antecedents (late 16th to late 20th centuries) provide background.