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THE 80S. Art of the Eighties

Category: Exhibition 22. October 2021

After conceptual art and other theory-heavy art movements of the 1960s and 70s, the 1980s are usually regarded in art history as the decade of the rediscovery of painting. In the debates about the classification of this epoch, there is often talk of regression or reactionary aesthetics, of the economic pressure of the art market, the galleries' need for marketable products, and flagrant examples of imposture.

The retrospective curated by the director of the Albertina modern, Angela Stief, together with Martina Denzler, shows the art of the 80s on the basis of 165 works in 13 rooms as an art that draws from the reservoir of the past and generates something new from it.
The art of the eighties is characterized by a pluralism of styles, colorful and extremely multifaceted. After beginnings in architecture, literature and philosophy in the 1970s, postmodernism in the visual arts really takes hold in this decade. There is a return to figuration and narrative and a departure from the distanced intellect-heavy abstraction of the previous decade.

After the exhibition "The Beginning", which focused on Austrian art, a large part of the 60 artists exhibited this time are of international provenance. Famous names, from Jeff Koons and Keith Haring to Basquiat and Cindy Sherman, are among them, as are less familiar but no less interesting positions such as Isolde Joham, Herve Di Rosa and Alois Mosbacher.
In addition to Mosbacher, other Austrian artists can be found in the show, such as the neo-expressionist Neue Wilden around Schmalix, Brandl, Scheibl or Anzinger.

The influences on the artistic creation of the 80s are manifold: street art, advertising, mass media, kitsch, comics play a major role in the works of the new art movements, such as Wild Style (Julian Schnabel, David Salle), New Image Painting or Neo-Pop (Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf).

Another important movement of the time, Appropriation Art, the art of copying and appropriation, is also honored in its diversity, for example through works by Cindy Sherman, Mike Bidlo, and Franz Gertsch.

With its methodological and aesthetic diversity, the exhibition, which consists of two-thirds loans, offers an extremely colorful overview of a decade that, according to the exhibition organizers' thesis, represents a key art-historical period for understanding the art of our 21st century. (written by Cem Angeli)

The exhibition will be on view at the Albertina modern until February 13, 2022.

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