Fran Bull, (American, b. 1938), Lincoln Center/Dusk, 1979, Serigraph, Gift of Saul Taylor, 1980.29.5 ©Fran Bull
May 23-September 8, 2019

Mediated Reality

Cityscapes by Photorealists

The late 1960s and 1970s witnessed the rise of several art movements that redefined American visual culture. Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptual Art, and Abstract Expressionism dominated the art world. In direct reaction to the emotional, gestural, and energetic aesthetics of one of these movements, Abstract Expressionism, a new artform emerged: Photorealism. Though initially criticized for being strictly representational, the technique quickly gained momentum. Photorealism is a style of painting that utilizes multiple photographic studies, among other methods, to achieve an effect as close to a photograph as possible. The artists executed, with extreme detail, painstaking precision, and heightened clarity their versions of everyday life to challenge our perception of the world, creating mediated reality.

With special attention to surface, reflections, and light, artists during this period found endless inspiration in lively urban environments, so much so, that scenes of the city appeared synonymous with the Photorealist movement. This exhibition, Mediated Reality features the Cornell Fine Arts Museum’s Cityscapes Portfolio created in 1979, with the unique perspectives of ten artists. Originally paintings, each of these works have been transformed into prints to share these intricate, dynamic urban scenes with a larger public.

The full list of artists represented in this exhibition are John Baeder, Charles Bell, Arne Besser, Thomas Leo Blackwell, Fran Bull, Hilo Chen, Han Hsiang-Ning, Ron Kleemann, Noel Mahaffey, and Ching-Jang Yao.

Noel Mahaffey, (American, b. 1944), Night-time Square, 1979, Serigraph, Gift of Saul Taylor 1980.29.9 ©Noel Mahaffey

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