As Painting, which accompanies an exhibition of the same name at the Wexner Center for the Arts, offers thought-provoking new perspectives on the evolution of painting in the United States and Europe since the mid-1960s. It illuminates the flexible boundaries of what can be seen or interpreted "as painting" and that medium’s interrelationships with sculpture, photography, and installation, highlighting points of convergence and divergence.

The featured artists include such major figures as Daniel Buren, Donald Judd, Imi Knoebel, Sherrie Levine, Agnes Martin, Gerhard Richter, Robert Ryman, and Robert Smithson, as well as artists who are much less known, at least in the United States. Pivotal to the discussion is the work of a number of significant but relatively unfamiliar French painters, including Martin Barré, Christian Bonnefoi, Simon Hantaï, Michel Parmentier, and François Rouan. The book serves as an introduction to their work while providing fresh interpretations of the more familiar artists. Also highlighted are several artists not usually thought of as "painters," among them Polly Apfelbaum, Mel Bochner, Judd, Smithson, Anne Truitt, and James Welling.

The book features two extended essays, detailed commentaries on each of the twenty-six artists in the exhibition, and fourteen additional essays by artists and commentators noted for their engagement with the issues raised here. These include a commentary on Simon Hantaï by Alfred Pacquement, Director of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris; original essays by French critics Catherine Millet and Christian Prigent; interviews with artists Martin Barré and Mel Bochner; and a little-known set of notes by Jacques Lacan on the painting of François Rouan.

Exhibition Information:
Wexner Center for the Arts
Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio
May 11-August 12, 2001

A luminous comet shooting across the late 70s constellation of photographers and artists that included Nan Goldin, David Armstrong, Jack Pierson and Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Mark Morrisroe produced an incredibly rich and various body of work in the brief ten-plus years in which he was active. He survived a fraught childhood and teen years as a prostitute (he was once shot by a client) to attend the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where he made friendships with Goldin, Armstrong and others, performed in drag under the name Sweet Raspberry, cofounded the punk zine Dirt (“he sort of invented the Boston punk scene,” Jack Pierson later recalled) and eventually graduated from the school with honors. Shortly after, Morrisroe moved to New York, acquired a Polaroid camera and began photographing. Most of his photographs are portraits–of hustlers, lovers, friends and of himself–or hand-painted photograms. Morrisroe is also famed for his X-ray self-portraits, which show the bullet lodged near his spine after his shooting. All of his output carries this reckless, go-for-broke character, and an edge of urgency and necessity. After his death (from AIDS-related illnesses), more than 2,000 Polaroids were found among his possessions. This first comprehensive monograph compiles photographs and ephemera from the early punk years to Super-8 films, photograms and the late self-portraits. More than 500 photographs are reproduced here, alongside essays and an extensive biography. Born to a drug-addicted mother, Mark Morrisroe (1959-1989) left home at 13, began hustling at 15 and at 17 was shot in the back by a client. The entirety of Morrisroe’s brief life was characterized by danger and poverty, and mythologized by him as such: his mother was a friend and neighbor of Albert DeSalvo (aka the Boston Strangler) and Morrisroe claimed to be his illegitimate son. Morrisroe died in 1989.

Uniting the five leading lights of the Boston School of American photography, this is a showcase for some of the most striking and compelling imagery on the contemporary scene. Drawing on a similar range of influences — fashion’s studied glamour, Larry Clark’s haunting lowlife, and the casual beauty of the snapshot — all five contributors realise their visions in contrasting and highly idiosyncratic ways. Nan Goldin is famous for her sexually polymorphous subjects, the way she transforms her models into Warholesque “superstars”, and her keen sense of irony and humour. Intimate Goldin associate David Armstrong works with stark black and white portraits of confession and loss. Mark Morrisroe is the tragic figure of the group, who died of AIDS age 30, a dark romantic whose work combined narcissism and explicit poetry. Jack Pierson is an impressionist, for him the photograph is a postcard sent from a “pure moment”. Working through an obsession with television imagery, Philip-Lorca DiCorcia stages and composes his models into images of mediated desire. This is the photography of a generation raised on television and chemicals, a stunning documentation of friendship, lust and love at the end of the millennium.

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