CONTEMPORARY ART MOVEMENTS

PUBLISHER
RISD MUSEUM OF ART/D.A.P.

BOOK FORMAT
Paperback, 8.75 x 10.5 in. / 368 pgs / 300 color.

PUBLISHING STATUS
PUB DATE
Active

DISTRIBUTION
D.A.P. EXCLUSIVE
CATALOG: FALL 2014 p. 23   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9781938922466 TRADE
LIST PRICE: $39.95 CDN $50.00

AVAILABILITY
In stock

EXHIBITION SCHEDULE

Providence, RI
Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, 09/19/14-01/09/15

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RISD MUSEUM OF ART/D.A.P.

What Nerve!

Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present

Published by RISD Museum of Art/D.A.P.
Edited with text by Dan Nadel. Text by Robert Cozzolino, Dominic Molon, Roger Brown, John Smith, Naomi Fry, Michael Rooks, Nicole Rudick, Judith Tannenbaum.

Karl Wirsum's "Show Girl I" (1969) is reproduced from the Hairy Who chapter in <I>What Nerve!</I>What Nerve! reveals a hidden history of American figurative painting, sculpture and popular imagery. It documents and/or restages four installations, spaces or happenings, in Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit and Providence, which were crucial to the development of figurative art in the United States. Several of the better-known artists in What Nerve! have been the subject of significant exhibitions or publications, but this is the first major volume to focus on the broader impact of figurative art to connect artists and collectives from different generations and regions of the country. These are: from Chicago, the Hairy Who (James Falconer, Art Green, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Suellen Rocca, Karl Wirsum); from California, Funk artists (Jeremy Anderson, Robert Arneson, Roy De Forest, Robert Hudson, Ken Price, Peter Saul, Peter Voulkos, William T. Wiley); from Detroit, Destroy All Monsters (Mike Kelley, Cary Loren, Niagara, Jim Shaw); and from Providence, Forcefield (Mat Brinkman, Jim Drain, Leif Goldberg, Ara Peterson). Created in collaboration with artists from these groups, the historical moments at the core of What Nerve! are linked by work from six artists who profoundly influenced or were influenced by the groups: William Copley, Jack Kirby, Elizabeth Murray, Gary Panter, Christina Ramberg and H.C. Westermann. Featuring paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs and videos, as well as ephemera, wallpaper and other materials used in the reconstructed installations, the book and exhibition will broaden public exposure to the scope of this influential history. The exuberance, humor and politics of these artworks remain powerfully resonant. Much of the work in this book, including installation photos, exhibition ephemera and correspondence, is published for the first time. What Nerve! represents the first historical examination of the circumstances, relationships and works of an increasingly important lineage of American artists.

Karl Wirsum's "Show Girl I" (1969) is reproduced from the Hairy Who chapter in What Nerve!

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

Conde Nast Traveler

Molly Elizalde

What Nerve!, the latest exhibit from the RISD Museum, uncovers four underground art movements. These contemporary American scenes span the United States, with moments in Chicago, San Francisco, Ann Arbor, and Providence. Remaining separate from major art-historical movements mostly centered in New York—including Pop art, Minimalism, and Conceptual art—the works in What Nerve! bring the artists’ subversive messages to light.

The Art Newspaper

Jonathan Griffin

An informative catalgoue, published in conjunction with the exhibition, is Nadel's attempt to tell the story of this artistic lineage in full. While many of the artists in "What Nerve!" have colourful biographies,. Nadel says that he is wary of overemphasising this aspect. 'The work defies any easy one-liners. The story is the work.'

Art News

Arnie Cooper

'This exhibition proposes an alternate history of figurative painting, sculpture, and vernacular image-making from the 1960 to the present that has been largely over-looked and undervalued,' Nadel writes in the accompanying catalogue, published by D.A.P.

Art in America

Ellen Schafer

'What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present' gives pride of place to misfit artistic subcultures that mainstream institutions have long ignored.

Art Info

Scott Indrisek

What Nerve! is a book-length survey of four unconventional American art scenes, spanning from the 1960s to present day./p>The unifying factor behind all of these artists is their distance from New York’s art scene, which may have hurt their visibility at times, but certainly not their wildly eccentric creative output. It’s enough to make you want to move to Dayton or Milwaukee and start getting weird.

Architectural Digest

Carrie Hojnick

A provocativ

The Boston Globe

Sebastian Smee

I found “What Nerve!” hugely stimulating. Not only because it’s filled with brilliant and original work, but because it’s also sprinkled liberally with clunkers — truly groan-inducing, deeply ordinary art. As a result, the show gives your critical criteria a really good workout. Better yet, it raises such interesting questions. Does art thrive in collectivist settings? Is the energy of groups more productive — or just more viable in the worldly sense — than the heat given off by solitary creators? Is the collective, as an expression of youthful idealism, an end in itself? Or is it, at best, a kind of shell protecting creative individuals in their embryonic stages, best broken out of?

The New York Times

Ken Johnson

This focus on early works catches the artists when they were young, feeding off the creative energies of their comrades and responding most nakedly to their historical times.

The New York Review of Books

J. Hoberman

Generally speaking, the art is grotesque, garish and exuberant, cranky, sometimes menacing, often hilarious and, in the case of the Hairy Who and Destroy All Monsters, particularly fresh.

Huffington Post

Priscilla Frank

"What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, from 1960 to the Present." Instead of rendering a crisp guide from Art Then to Art Now, RISD presents a manic smorgasbord of artists, collectives and influences from creative hubs across the country. It's messy, aggressively so, and we suspect the artists on view wouldn't prefer it any other way.

It rambles on and squishes things together and mixes and matches disparate parts, as untamable and exaggerated as the works on view. "What Nerve!" opens up the narrow trajectory of art history into a dizzying knot of possible interconnections and influences, suggesting the shapes and lines formed by art history are works of art in themselves.

The New York Times

Holland Cotter

This published companion to an exhibition of the same title at the Rhode Island School of Design's museum of Art in Providence connects some widely spaced dots. Starting with the figurative artists of the "Hairy Who" in Chicago and West Coast Funk artists and their assorted allies, it recontextualizes painters as various as William N. Copley, Elizabeth Murray and Gary Panter; encompasses the rogue artist/musicians of Destroy All Monsters; and concludes with the erstwhile Providence collective Forcefield. It may not make total sense, but it greatly broadens the view beyond the usual academic and market suspects.

Frieze

Matthew Erickson

The wonderful exhibition 'What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present' proposed a possible counter history to textbook accounts of how the major postwar avant-garde movement in the US evolved. The show functioned as both a necessary educational corrective and a demonstration of how widly diverse the range of sub-cultural artistry has always been outside of the dominant New York art world.

The New Yorker

Peter Schjeldahl

It’s wonderful how authentic, vital, and even inspiring their whippersnapper principles feel, fifty years later.

The New York Times

Roberta Smith

…this show, along with the excellent catalog …l teems with ideas that other curators should build on.

What Nerve!

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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 7/8/2015

What Nerve! at Matthew Marks

What Nerve! at Matthew MarksJoin us in celebrating What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art 1960 to the Present, the companion exhibition to our best-selling book by curator Dan Nadel. Featuring work by Jeremy Anderson, Robert Arneson, Joan Brown, Roy De Forest, Jim Falconer, Forcefield, Art Green, Robert Hudson, Mike Kelley, Cary Loren, Niagara, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Ken Price, Suellen Rocca, Peter Saul, Jim Shaw, Peter Voulkos and Karl Wirsum, the exhibition opens at all three New York locations, Tuesday, July 7, 6-8PM.
continue to blog


FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 10/16/2014

ARTBOOK @ Swiss Institute Presents 'What Nerve' Panel, Signing and Screening

ARTBOOK @ Swiss Institute Presents 'What Nerve' Panel, Signing and ScreeningTuesday, October 21 from 6-8PM, ARTBOOK + Swiss Institute (SI) invite you to join Dan Nadel, Peter Saul, and members of Forcefield including Jim Drain and Leif Goldberg in celebrating the publication of What Nerve: Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present, published by D.A.P. The evening will include a viewing of the rare Forcefield video, Tunnel Vision, a conversation between Saul and Nadel, and a book signing with all of the contributors.
continue to blog


FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 10/28/2014

Grotesque, Garish, Exuberant American Art: 'What Nerve!' in the NYRB

Grotesque, Garish, Exuberant American Art: 'What Nerve!' in the NYRBIn today's New York Review of Books online, J. Hoberman writes, "What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present, the provocatively titled exhibit at the RISD Museum in Providence, presents a bracing counter to one prevailing way of telling the story of postwar American art. Somewhat simplified, this traditional account holds that European Surrealism led to Abstract Expressionism, which led to Pop Art and Minimalism, which were followed by Earth Art, Body Art, and Conceptual Art, the return of expressive painting, and so on up to the present, when no one city nor any single movement reigns supreme: a thousand flowers bloom."
continue to blog


FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 9/30/2014

Termite Art: 'What Nerve: Alternative Figures in American Art' in NY Times

Termite Art: 'What Nerve: Alternative Figures in American Art' in NY TimesThe New York Times' Ken Johnson writes, "In 1962 the film critic Manny Farber published the provocative essay White Elephant Art and Termite Art, in which he distinguished two types of artists: the White Elephant artist, who tries to create masterpieces equal to the greatest artworks of the past, and the Termite, who engages in 'a kind of squandering-beaverish endeavor' that 'goes always forward, eating its own boundaries and, likely as not, leaves nothing in its path other than signs of eager, industrious, unkempt activity.'"
continue to blog


FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 9/6/2014

'What Nerve' Previewed in ARTnews

'What Nerve' Previewed in ARTnewsArnie Cooper writes, "'For as long as I can remember, I've been interested in slightly off-kilter things and in what gets left out of history,' says Dan Nadel, 38, coeditor of the Comics Journal. 'I'm always immediately suspicious of canon-making.'
continue to blog


FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 7/7/2015

What Nerve!

What Nerve!Peter Saul's "Vietnam" (1966) is reproduced from What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present, the companion publication to the exhibition opening tonight at all three Matthew Marks galleries in New York. A "one-man movement" according to the exhibition's curator Dan Nadel, Saul was also part of the Funk group which showed at the University Art Museum at UC Berkeley in 1967, and included Jeremy Anderson, Robert Arneson, Joan Brown, William T. Wiley, Ken Price, Roy De Forest, Robert Hudson, Peter Voulkos and Saul. "These artists, grouped together under the term Funk, made sprawling, often grotesque work that refused to abide by the then-prevailing California cool." continue to blog


FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 7/8/2015

What Nerve!

Art Green: "Disclosing Enclosure" (1968)"Disclosing Enclosure" (1968), by Art Green, is reproduced from What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present, the companion publication to the exhibition on view at Matthew Marks through August 14. Green was a key member of the Chicago-based Hairy Who, who will appear on a panel and sign both What Nerve! and advance copies of the brand new book, The Collected Hairy Who Publications 1966-1969 tonight at the 523 West 24th Street gallery. "I never went to a museum as a child. My parents were not museum people," Green is quoted in What Nerve! "My father had a very low opinion of artists and would always snort when some artist was on radio or TV, as if it were beneath contempt. I had no idea of high art. In high school I took this quiz and didn’t know Renoir from Monet. My father was an engineer with a railroad. On Saturday he’d work on complicated drawings on big sheets of drafting paper. I liked the complexity. I wanted to be an inventor. I remember wanting to do impossible things.
I built a thing in my room that would control the whole universe. It had gyroscopes and magnets. I told a friend who liked the Lone Ranger that I could make silver bullets with my chemistry set. I spent an hour trying, and he finally turned and said, 'I don’t think you can make silver bullets after all.'" continue to blog


FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 7/6/2015

What Nerve!

Jim Nutt: "Her Face Fits" (1968)"Her Face Fits" (1968), by Jim Nutt, is reproduced from What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present, the companion publication to the exhibition opening at Matthew Marks Gallery Tuesday night. Nutt was a key member of the Chicago-based Hairy Who, whose new book, The Collected Hairy Who Publications 1966-1969 launches Wednesday at the 523 West 24th Street gallery. "The Hairy Who shared an attitude toward vitality and visual imagery in painting," Nutt is quoted in What Nerve! "About that time people were starting to say painting is dead. That old warhorse raises its head continually. I think if anybody said that to us, we would have said, What do you mean 'Painting is dead?' I'm trying to paint... We wanted to do things that were extreme and exaggerated and didn’t just look like other things we’d seen. Franz Schulze thought we were kidding about some material and ideas behind the paintings. He thought the grittier it was, the more we would like it, and that was never the case. I think it differed from artist to artist. We didn’t have a manifesto. We didn’t set down principles. We just seemed to have an understanding. That’s probably what made it work. I had the feeling that if I did something that I thought was really good, it would take care of itself." continue to blog


FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 9/19/2014

What Nerve! Destroy All Monsters

What Nerve! Destroy All Monsters"In this cultural suburban wasteland, there was only isolation and a sense of being betrayed. The strange brew of avant-garde experimentation and populism of late ’60s acid rock had failed in its social promises. To someone of my age (too young to be a hippie, too old to be a punk), there was definitely a feeling of resentment at having missed the short, hedonistic flowering of this dream... it seemed as if the world had ended, and all outside communication to whatever small outposts were left was cut off. Destroy All Monsters operated in this vacuum. We truly thought we were the only ones doing what we were doing." Cary Loren's Niagara as the Giant Sphinx (1975/2011) and excerpt of a passage quoting Mike Kelley are reproduced from the chapter on Destroy All Monsters in What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present. continue to blog


FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 9/18/2014

What Nerve! Christina Ramberg Rediscovered

What Nerve! Christina Ramberg Rediscovered"I think that it all came from when I was young. My father was in the military and I can remember sitting in my mother’s room watching her get dressed for public appearances. I got to put her hankie, lipstick, and compact mirror in one of those tiny beautiful little purses. I watched her getting dressed, and she would wear these—I guess that they are called 'merry widow[s]'—and I can remember being stunned by how it transformed her body, how it pushed up her breasts and slendered down her waist. Then she put on these fancy strapless dresses and went to parties. I think that the paintings have a lot to do with this, with watching and realizing that a lot of these undergarments totally transform a woman’s body... Watching my mother getting dressed I used to think that this is what men want women to look like, she’s transforming herself into the kind of body men want. I thought it was fascinating . . . in some ways, I thought it was awful." Christina Ramberg's 1971 Probed Cinch the and excerpted passage from Robert Cozzolino's catalogue essay on Ramberg are reproduced from What Nerve!, Dan Nadel's mind-boggling new study of alternative figures in American art from 1960 to the present. continue to blog


FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 9/16/2014

What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present

What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the PresentIn his chapter on visionary and comic-book artist Jack Kirby, one of the featured artists in What Nerve!, his must-see and much talked-about exhibition of alternative figures in American art from 1960 to the present, curator Dan Nadel describes Dream Machine (1970-75), a detail of which is reproduced here. "There’s nothing else quite like it in Kirby’s ouvre. It is, of course, deeply psychedelic, and reminds me of work by the British design collective Archigram, drawings by Ettore Sottsass, and the maximalist paintings of Icelandic pop artist Erro, but in relation to contemporary art, Kirby was working mostly in a vacuum, even as his comic-book art found wider and wider purchase via appropriations by Richard Hamilton (1956’s Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?) and Roy Lichtenstein (Image Duplicator, 1963). Dream Machine has an internal logic that reinforces its title. I imagine it to be for Kirby a fully operational machine, the likes of which he never had the chance to fully flesh out in narrative comics. This is not a sprawling indulgence—it’s formally coherent. Every part of the machine connects, and it looks as though it, with looming face, could lurch into motion, creating as-yet unknown artifacts from the future. Machines fascinated Kirby his entire life, and he loved reading Popular Mechanics and various science magazines. A child of the Depression and a World War II veteran who saw horrific action, Kirby always found the future glowing and full of possibilities. He was, despite it all, an optimist." continue to blog


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