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Six Painters and the Object
Published in 1963
28 pages, fully illustrated
All of the painters in the 1963 exhibition Six Painters and the Object were born between 1923 and 1933, making them, at the time of the exhibition, either emerging artists or artists who were mid-career Although some of these six artists were commonly referred to as “object-makers,” this exhibition focused on the artists as painters and the canvas as subject. The six artists who were highlighted in this exhibition include: Robert Rauschenberg, Jim Dine, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, and Andy Warhol. In his catalogue essay, curator Lawrence Alloway underscores a shared similarity between the artists to be found in “the common use of objects drawn from communications network and the physical environment of the city.” On the cusp of Pop art’s explosion in the art world, the exhibition marks a significant moment in art history and the accompanying catalogue an essential guide to understanding the nascent exhibitions leading up to a movement that would sweep the art world. The catalogue includes a list of works in the exhibition and reproductions of selected works in the exhibition.
Object-makers, like the producers of happenings (often they are the same person), work towards the dissolution of formal boundaries and sponsor paradoxical cross-overs between art and nature. However, the painter, committed to the surface of his canvas and to the process of translating objects into signs, does not have a wide-ranging freedom in which everything becomes art and art becomes anything. Because the painters have been identified with the object-makers, under various slogans, the definition of painting qua painting has been attached recently, more than it need have been, to abstract art. It is hoped, therefore, that by presenting six painters in this exhibition, they can be detached from an amorphous setting and, also, that the definition of painting can be extended to cope with the problem that the work presents.