This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s
November 15, 2012 - March 3, 2013
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago has organized This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s, an ambitious presentation that represents the diversity and complexity of art produced during the 1980s—from the Pictures generation to neo-expressionism, from the rise of photography to the emergence of abject art—offering a historical overview while situating our contemporary moment within the history of art of the recent past.
The exhibition is divided into four sections: The End is Near toggles between discourses of the end of painting, the end of the counter culture, and the end of history. In the Democracy section we see a renewed interest on the part of artists with working in the street; the burgeoning awareness of the importance of the mass media (particularly television); the rise of Central American artists and artists of color to increasing prominence; and the pervasive commitment to the political that shaped the period. The section titled Gender Trouble elaborates upon the implications of the 1970s feminist movement with work that expanded our sense of societal gender roles, and smuggled in new ideas about sexuality and figuration. Finally, there is a section called Desire and Longing in which artists working with appropriation techniques are held in relation to the emergence of queer visibility brought on by the AIDS crisis. By crossing these wires the exhibition hopes to suggest that despite the claims of cynicism or overarching irony sometimes leveled at the work of this period, often what we find are artists struggling to articulate their wants, needs, and desires, in an increasingly commodified and seemingly impenetrable world.