Exhibition / Museum
Dorothy Iannone, Ever Daring!25 Sep 2019 - 6 Jan 2020
The event is over
Discover the exhibition at the Centre Pompidou by the American artist Dorothy Iannone, which brings together a collection of works from 1963 to the present. Highlights of the exhibition include the sixty-nine drawings retracing The Story of Bern (1970) and the imposing retable Follow Me (1977). An injunction or an invitation, as you prefer, to follow the artist born in 1933.
Influenced by abstract impressionism, her early forays into art revealed a great talent for visual art but it was when she moved away from abstraction that she found her true path, discarding pictorial matter in favour of storytelling and its graphic expression. Exuberant words, figures and ornaments jockey for position, to the point of saturation.
11h - 21h, every days except tuesdays
Presentation by the curator of the exhibition
Dorothy Iannone began to paint after first studying law, then literature. She first made headlines in 1961 when she brought a case against the American government which still banned Henry Miller's Tropique du Cancer, published in France in 1934. Influenced by abstract expressionism, her early artistic works demonstrate great artistic mastery, but she discovered her own personal path when she broke away from abstraction, abandoning pictorial material in favour of narrative and its graphical expression. Texts, figures and exuberant ornamentation jockey for position to the point of saturation, as with many unique art figures.
Having co-founded and organised a New York gallery in the early 1960s, Iannone also established contact with collage artists in the Beat movement, like George Herms, and discovered the Fluxus spirit with poet Emmett Williams. Dorothy Iannone's drawing quickly developed the illustrative form which she would never abandon. One remarkable characteristic dates from 1966: regardless of whether her characters were presented naked or dressed, the artist deliberately revealed their genital organs, adopting a quasi-identical code for the two sexes: with or without a penis. This eccentricity took on an irreverent aspect when, in the series of figures entitled People, she sketched portraits of President Johnson and Robert and Jackie Kennedy, in the middle of the Vietnam war. Her own clashes with censorship began in 1967 at a solo exhibition in Stuttgart, which was completely confiscated by the police, who convened a tribunal of critics and art historians. They finally refuted the pornographic character attributed to the works, citing various extra-European artistic examples, references that were corroborated by Iannone's many travels at the time, particularly to India.
Invited by artist Dieter Roth to take part in a group exhibition at the Kunsthalle in Berne in 1969, she was again confronted with the same problems, this time because of the other participants and the organiser, Harald Szeemann, who asked her to cover the omnipresent sexual organs, the sight of which disturbed them. Dorothy Iannone's work is autobiographical. Her meeting with Roth, her muse, mentor and lover, constitutes a decisive milestone in her personal life and a tirelessly refashioned motif in her work, which implicitly advocates equality of the sexes and explicitly advocates the virtues of sexual activity, a blend of lived experience and mystical celebration.
Frédéric Paul, Curator, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou
In Code couleur n°35, september-december 2019, p. 18-19