ST. LOUIS, MO.- The Saint Louis Art Museum
is presenting Buzz Spector: Alterations, a solo exhibition that spans more than 40 years of the artists works on paper. It opened Nov. 20 in Galleries 234 and 235.
Buzz Spector (born 1948) is a conceptual artist who explores the aesthetic possibilities of language, paper and books. A master at tearing paper, he brings a constructive energy to that otherwise destructive act. Sometimes he alters found books by methodically tearing their pages. At other times, he creates his own blocks of printed texts or images that he also transforms by tearing. Through this refashioning of printed materials, he poses questions about authorship, the history of art, and the written word.
Works on view in the exhibition range from early drawings presaging his torn-paper process to altered books, postcard collages and Spectors multifaceted exploration of the author and literature.
Taking cues from Marcel Duchamp and Marcel Broodthaerstwo influential 20th-century artists whose careers shaped the course of contemporary artSpector draws from art historical precedents and adapts borrowed materials, injecting poetic humor and philosophical musings along the way.
Examples of Spectors creative use of appropriation include Waterfalls, wherein postcards are arranged to show three images of a renowned 17th-century sculpture of a urinating boy whose natural fountain seems to feed into a tall cascade of images of rushing water. His Altered LeWitt, literally an artists book by Sol LeWitt that has been systematically torn and reassembled by Spector, is a sly and ultimately respectful homage to a fellow artist. LeWitts engagement with systems, language, and printed books was crucial to Spectors development.
Spector is internationally recognized for his contributions to the field of contemporary art. He taught painting, sculpture, and two-dimensional design at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis for a decade before retiring in 2019. This is the first presentation of the artists work at a St. Louis museum.
Buzz Spector: Alterations is curated by Gretchen L. Wagner, the former Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow for Prints, Drawings and Photographs; and Elizabeth Wyckoff, curator of prints, drawings and photographs; with Andrea Ferber, research assistant for prints, drawings and photographs. It will be on view through May 31.