The Agreement: Chromatic Presences – Funky and Formal at Zurcher

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 Installation view of The Agreement: Chromatic Presences, curated by William Corwin at Zürcher Gallery. Photo: Adam Reich. Courtesy of Zürcher Gallery NY/Paris.

I’ll start with a question: does a critic have an obligation to propose a solution to an enigmatic puzzle an exhibition might pose? What has led to this, is reading William Corwin’s catalog essay for The Agreement: Chromatic Presences, in which he ignores recounting the history of sculpture and color—deemed for a very long time to be irreconcilable like fish and cheese. It is now common knowledge, sculpture till the time of the renaissance was largely polychromed, but a neo-classical notion of purity and essentialism came to be imposed upon it to differentiate it qualitatively from painting. As a result, sculpture came to be limited to the colors of its materials—marble, bronze and wood. In the West, this formalism was institutionalized by the Enlightenment’s and was the excepted norm until the mid-20th century, when art’s traditional forms began to morph. Consequently, we must ask if there is a more contemporary issue concerning color and form at the heart of Corwin’s The Agreement: Chromatic Presences, and if so, what might it be?

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