Meyer Vaisman: The Beaver Show

April 5–May 7, 1989
Beaver College Art Gallery

Exhibition Postcard

Large scale pictures by New York artist Meyer Vaisman will be on view April 5 to May 7, 1989 at Beaver College Art Gallery, located in the Spruance Art Center on campus, Church and Easton Roads.

Installation view

The exhibition, entitled "The Beaver Show", will open April 5, 1989,  with a public reception from 7:00–9:00 PM in honor of the artist. At 6:00 PM, immediately preceeding the opening, the artist will lecture on his work in the College's Little Theatre. Both events are free and open to the public.

Vaisman is one of the most provocative young artists to have emerged in the last few years; he has been linked with other artists whose work has been labeled "neo-geo", "neo-conceptual", and "smart art". His works address the problems of representation and meaning in art as they explore the art world system and its relation to other systems of cultural distribution. The show examines his production from 1985 to the present.

Vaisman's works are a species of painting and wall relief; they characteristically employ the magnified texture of canvas weave silkscreened on to actual canvas and amplified by assorted forms or frames — ovals or circles for example — that project at varying depth from their backgrounds. Superimposed on the weave are images ranging from depictions of old coins, souvenir jugs, and cartoon characters to caricatures of the artist and his friends; these image are then often juxtaposed with sections of blank canvas.

Vaisman's difficult and controversial work appears a parodic renditions of high art. Critic Kate Linker has described them as "...portraits of portraiture, depictions of depiction, in which the humanistic pretensions of art are resoundingly debunked...indeed, [Vaisman] isolates the principle elements of painting: the canvas, the frame, the composition, the artistic persona, even the works' commodity status...demonstrating the void of expressive pretensions." This debunking can be seen as cynical or tonic. Vaisman, however, like Andy Warhol, views the artist's role as that of holding a mirror to society; that we may find the reflection problematic and difficult does not necessarily contradict its accuracy.

Installation view, rear gallery.

Vaisman is represented by Castelli Gallery, Sonnabend Gallery, and Jay Gorney Modern Art, all in New York City. He has had one person exhibitions at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art in California; the Jablonka Galerie in Koln, West Germany, Leo Castelli and Jay Gorney in New York and Daniel Weinberg in Los Angeles. In addition his work has been included in numerous group exhibitions including the prestigious Carnegie International; and "Binational: Art of the Late 80s". His work has also been displayed at the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Saatchi Collection, London, the Aldrich Museum in Conneticut and the Kunstverein in Munich. His work has been reviewed by critics in Artforum, The Village Voice, Artscribe, and Flash Art.

The exhibition is free and open to the public. It has been funded in part by Henry S. McNeil Jr., the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington D.C., the Friends of Beaver College Art Gallery, and the Fine Arts Department.