The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Friday, October 22, 2021


Forum Gallery opens an exhibition of thirty-five works created between 1980 and 1989
Raphael Soyer, Putting on Stockings, 1984, oil on canvas, 50 x 42 inches © Estate of Raphael Soyer; Courtesy of Forum Gallery, New York, NY.



NEW YORK, NY.- Forum Gallery presents That Eighties Show (July 15 - September 18, 2021), a summer exhibition of thirty-five works created between 1980 and 1989, a decade of meteoric growth and accelerated modernization in economy and culture. The dedicated artists in the show responded in diverse ways to these heady, turbo-charged times that saw a dramatic return to figurative and representational means of expression. Following on from That Seventies Show, presented at Forum Gallery in the summer of 2011, That Eighties Show celebrates Forum Gallery’s sixtieth year since opening in 1961 and its dedication to figurative art.

Reflecting the individual approaches to creative expression of artists working in the decade, That Eighties Show features magnetic yet intimate portraits and landscapes by Robert Bauer, Lucian Freud, Michael Leonard, David Levine and Joseph McNamara, as well as self-portraits by William Beckman, Francesco Clemente and Susan Hauptman that unapologetically confront the viewer. Sensitively rendered paintings and works on paper by Oleg Vassiliev and Alan Magee are counterpoints to the electric, Pop Art figuration in oil and Liquitex of Tom Wesselmann. Interior scenes by Claudio Bravo, Raphael Soyer and Alan Feltus, point to the ways in which artists working in the 1980s synthesized classical realism to create distinctive figurative compositions that simultaneously captured the fashion of the times. Alex Katz, well known for portraying his social circle, created a colorful, graphic suite of woodcuts portraying intimate pairings of ten couples, while a joyful large scale aquatint by Eric Fischl transports us to the beach in the work, Beach Balls.

Gregory Gillespie and Wade Schuman injected Surrealist elements into their unique, narrative paintings, while Red Grooms incorporated Dada and Pop Art sensibilities into whimsical, humorous three-dimensional works of art that defy categorization. A linear wooden construction in French blue by Structurist artist Charles Biederman gracefully projects from the wall in a lyrical contrast to the conceptual sculpture dominant in the preceding decade.

Turning their observations to the streets, precise works by Robert Cottingham interpret store facades of the decade in tightly cropped compositions while atmospheric, panoramic visions of New York City in the 1980s are offered by Craig McPherson and Frederick Brosen.

A further testament to the endurance of American realism, That Eighties Show features two breathtaking watercolors in a grand scale by Andrew Wyeth. Created during this important decade in the Artist’s oeuvre, Sea Level is a coastal Maine landscape, and The Blonde Study depicts Wyeth’s muse, Helga Testorf wearing her classic, green Loden coat.










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