NO!art and the Aesthetics of Doom opened at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, in the fall of 2001. Curated by Estera Milman, the show was the first North American retrospective exhibition devoted to a pivotal mid-twentieth century collective of artists who powerfully responded to the Holocaust, atomic crises, and conformist, commercially driven culture. The NO!art collective was active in New York’s Tenth Street Galleries and the uptown Gallery Gertrude Stein during the late 1950s and early 1960s. This groundbreaking exhibition and its accompanying catalogue examined 57 of the collective’s most important works, in which political and social protest were linked to the development of assemblage art. NO!art and the Aesthetics of Doom forced a reconsideration of the traditional narrative of postwar modernism, which presented the New York art world of the early 1960s as largely apolitical, by reasserting the key influence of these intensely political, activist artists. Funded, in part, by the National Endowment of the Arts.
“I was startled to see that the centerpiece of this show is a half dozen pieces that are quite literally “Holocaust porn” --- my pet term for art that would deserve trashing. But these searingly original works are part of what makes this one of the best exhibitions of 2001."
Fred Camper, The Naked and the Dead, The Chicago Reader
The publication marked the twentieth anniversary of the Alternative Traditions in the Contemporary Arts (ATCA) project and accompanied four exhibitions of works drawn from the ATCA collection: Alice Hutchins: Arenas for Happenings, Artfacts of the Eternal Network, Ken Friedman: Art[net]worker Extra-Ordinaire, and Latin American Realities/International Solutions. Funded, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts.
“This publication is offered in opposition to current attempts to revise our cultural canons within the boundaries imposed by unitary, universalist historiographic models.”
- The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage
Leo Jensen, Sighs on the Midway, 1965
Mixed Media Construction, Oil on Wood, photomontage, toy gun and other found Objects
In the early/mid 1960s, Leo Jensen was counted as a major player in the burgeoning Pop Art Community. From our current perspective, Jensen’s artifacts, constructions, oversized interactive games of chance and two dimensional works occupy the complex cultural space between Pop Art and the authentically vernacular. Leo Jensen: TOTAL POP ART opened at the Amarillo Museum of Art in October, 2010 and ran through January 2011. Composed of 20 of the artist’s large scale, Pop Art constructions, the show was Jensen’s first retrospective exhibition. Curated by Estera Milman, the exhibition included all of the pieces the artist had exhibited at the Amel Gallery that are not as yet held in corporate, public or private collections, alongside the majority of all other, as yet available, works from Jensen’s Pop Art period.