Systems of Viewing
July 1 through August 17, 2019
“Modern art, involved as it is with abstract languages of form and with systems of viewing that are withdrawn from literal projections of reality, has been particularly dependent on the medium of drawing.” This observation by the art historian Rosalind Krauss lays the ground for her thorough 1976 essay on Western Gallery's American Works on Paper collection. Here she found quintessential works representing major movements of postwar American art, which allowed her to explore these systems of viewing and trace their changes. This exhibition follows and summarizes Krauss’ analyses.
The collection American Works on Paper (1945-1975) was assembled in 1976 by the art collector Virginia Wright, with expert advice from the legendary art dealer Richard Bellamy. A group of seven museums, the Washington Art Consortium, was formed to maintain and exhibit the works but the collection was gifted to the Western Washington University in 2017, when the Consortium disbanded. The collection offers a survey of postwar American art through 97 works by 48 artists. A visionary art patron, Ms. Wright has also given Western many of the sculptures on campus and supported the acquisition of others.