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A yellow book cover depicting a wall with a floral wallpaper and text reading "Cynthia Carlson: Sixty Years."

Cynthia Carlson | Sixty Years


The first retrospective on a fascinating protagonist of the 1970s Pattern & Decoration movement, who defied Minimalist orthodoxy with humorous multimedia explorations of domesticity and ornament

This is the first comprehensive volume on Cynthia Carlson (born 1942), a key artist of the Pattern & Decoration group who responded to Minimalism’s dominance in the 1970s. The work of this group has recently been revisited and reappraised in exhibitions and by art scholarship. A Chicagoan under the influence of the Chicago Imagists, Carlson landed in New York City in 1965 and has exhibited widely (she was included in Lucy Lippard’s seminal 1971 exhibition 26 Contemporary Women Artists at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art). Her interest in the domestic―as a source of shapes and as a realm of familial experiences, chores and memories―intersects with the works of contemporaries ranging from Jennifer Bartlett to Joel Shapiro and Elizabeth Murray. Carlson's utilization of architectural motifs might align at one moment with the vernacular embraced in the buildings of Venturi & Scott Brown and, at another, with the postmodern rehabilitation of Beaux-Arts ornament. Her hand-painted "wallpaper" is considered a significant contribution and influence on contemporary installation art. Carlson’s artistic identity continues to morph: from room-size wallpaper and a life-size gingerbread house to unexpected shaped canvasses, architectural constructions and pet portraits. Whatever she creates, however eccentric, is high-spirited, genial and insightful.

Hardcover, 223 Pages