"The exhibition samples an extraordinarily lively history that’s been hiding in plain sight for half a century." Ken Johnson, The New York Times
What Nerve! reveals a hidden history of American figurative painting, sculpture and popular imagery. It documents and/or restages four installations, spaces or happenings, in Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit and Providence, which were crucial to the development of figurative art in the United States. Several of the better-known artists in What Nerve! have been the subject of significant exhibitions or publications, but this is the first major volume to focus on the broader impact of figurative art to connect artists and collectives from different generations and regions of the country. These are: from Chicago, the Hairy Who (James Falconer, Art Green, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Suellen Rocca, Karl Wirsum); from California, Funk artists (Jeremy Anderson, Robert Arneson, Roy De Forest, Robert Hudson, Ken Price, Peter Saul, Peter Voulkos, William T. Wiley); from Detroit, Destroy All Monsters (Mike Kelley, Cary Loren, Niagara, Jim Shaw); and from Providence, Forcefield (Mat Brinkman, Jim Drain, Leif Goldberg, Ara Peterson). Created in collaboration with artists from these groups, the historical moments at the core of What Nerve! are linked by work from six artists who profoundly influenced or were influenced by the groups: William Copley, Jack Kirby, Elizabeth Murray, Gary Panter, Christina Ramberg and H.C. Westermann. Featuring paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs and videos, as well as ephemera, wallpaper and other materials used in the reconstructed installations, the book and exhibition will broaden public exposure to the scope of this influential history. The exuberance, humor and politics of these artworks remain powerfully resonant. Much of the work in this book, including installation photos, exhibition ephemera and correspondence, is published for the first time. What Nerve! represents the first historical examination of the circumstances, relationships and works of an increasingly important lineage of American artists.
An informative catalgoue, published in conjunction with the exhibition, is Nadel’s attempt to tell the story of this artistic lineage in full. While many of the artists in “What Nerve!” have colourful biographies,. Nadel says that he is wary of overemphasising this aspect. ‘The work defies any easy one-liners. The story is the work.’
Art News, Arnie Cooper
'This exhibition proposes an alternate history of figurative painting, sculpture, and vernacular image-making from the 1960 to the present that has been largely over-looked and undervalued,' Nadel writes in the accompanying catalogue, published by D.A.P.
Art in America, Ellen Schafer
'What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present' gives pride of place to misfit artistic subcultures that mainstream institutions have long ignored.
Blouin Artinfo, Scott Indrisek
What Nerve! is a book-length survey of four unconventional American art scenes, spanning from the 1960s to present day. The unifying factor behind all of these artists is their distance from New York’s art scene, which may have hurt their visibility at times, but certainly not their wildly eccentric creative output. It’s enough to make you want to move to Dayton or Milwaukee and start getting weird.
I put together a little bibliography of PictureBox. Those interested in some background could do no better than Trinie Dalton’s lovely article at The Brooklyn Rail. Otherwise, correct me if anything looks funny, but here’s the list:
The Ganzfeld, Fall 2000 edited by Tim Hodler, Dan Nadel and Patrick Smith
The Ganzfeld 2 edited by Dan Nadel and Peter Buchanan-Smith
The Ganzfeld 3 edited by Dan Nadel and Peter Buchanan-Smith
The Wilco Book by Wilco and PictureBox
Paper Rad, B.J. and da Dogs by Ben Jones and Paper Rad The Hobbit by Marc Bell and Peter Thompson Carrot for Girls by Matthew Thurber Batman by Ben Jones and CF Chimera by Frank Santoro The Ganzfeld 4 edited by Dan Nadel Free Radicals edited by Leif Goldberg
Incanto by Frank Santoro Cold Heat 1 by Ben Jones and Frank Santoro Cold Heat 2 by Ben Jones and Frank Santoro Cold Heat 3 by Ben Jones and Frank Santoro Cold Heat 4 by Ben Jones and Frank Santoro Gore by Black Dice and Jason Frank Rothenberg Me a Mound by Trenton Doyle Hancock Ninja by Brian Chippendale The Drips by Taylor McKimens Elle-Humour by Julie Doucet Utility Sketchbook by Anonymous Nog a Dod: Prehistoric Canadian Psychedoolia edited by Marc Bell Blockhead Blues by Eddie Martinez Comics Comics #2 edited by Tim Holder and Dan Nadel
1-800 MICE #1 1-800 MICE #2 Cold Heat Special #1 by Frank Santoro, Ben Jones and Jon Vermilyea Storeyville by Frank Santoro Cartoon Workshop/Pig Tales by Paper Rad Powr Mastrs Vol. 1 by CF Maggots by Brian Chippendale Wu-Tang Comics by Ben Jones Some Kinda Vocation by Cheryl Dunn Wipe That Clock off Your Face by Brian Belott New Engineering by Yuichi Yokoyama Trenton Doyle Handbook by Trenton Doyle Hancock Tuff Stuff by Joe Bradley Real Fun by Ashod Simonian Comics Comics #3 edited by Tim Hodler and Dan Nadel Assorted silkscreen print editions by Charles Burns, Jim Drain, Ara Peterson, Melissa Brown, Gary Panter, Paper Rad, Rebecca Bird & Matthew Thurber.
Core of Caligula Vol 1 by CF Powr Mastrs Vol. 2 by CF Mail Order Monsters edited by Kathy Grayson Travel by Yuichi Yokoyama Monster Men Bureiko Lullaby by Takeshi Nemoto The Ganzfeld 7 edited by Ben Jones and Dan Nadel Prospect 1: New Orleans, edited by Dan Cameron New Painting and Drawing by Ben Jones You’ll Like This Film Because You’re In It by Michel Gondry We Lost the War But Won the Battle by Michel Gondry Crazy Town by Paul Gondry The Good Life by Taylor McKimens Mythtym, edited by Trinie Dalton For the Love of Vinyl by Aubrey Powell and Storm Thorgerson Overspray by Norman Hathaway Gary Panter edited by Dan Nadel The Garden by Michael Williams The Magnificent Excess of Snoop Dogg Katherine Bernhardt by Katherine Bernhardt Comics Comics #4 edited by Tim Hodler and Dan Nadel Eddie Martinez and Chuck Webster by Eddie Martinez and Chuck Webster Mail Order Monsters, edited by Kathy Grayson Faded Igloo by Jim Drain Cold Heat Special #4 by Frank Santoro, Ben Jones and Jim Rugg Goddess of War by Lauren Weinstein
Multiforce by Mat Brinkman Sports Book by Jonas Wood
City Hunter by CF Xylor Jane by Xylor Jane H Day by Renee French My New New York Diary by Julie Doucet and Michel Gondry Heads, 44 by Mat Brinkman If ‘n Oof by Brian Chippendale Powr Mastrs 3 by CF I Was Looking for a Street by Charles Willeford
King Terry’s 100 Channels by King Terry Color Engineering by Yuichi Yokoyama Garden by Yuichi Yokoyama City Hunter by CF [Title] by Jessica Ciocci Sediment by CF Golf Wang by Odd Future Cockfighter by Charles Willeford Kramers Ergot 8 edited by Sammy Harkham Drawings 1967-70 by Karl Wirsum, edited by Dan Nadel 1-800-MICE by Matthew Thurber
Pompeii by Frank Santoro Bjornstrand by Renee French True Chubbo by Family Sohn Negron by Jonny Negron Dyes by Sam Moyer Blow Your Head by Diplo and Shane McCauley Everything Together by Sammy Harkham De Profundis by James Jarvis Return of the Repressed: Destroy All Monsters 1973-1977 edited by Mike Kelley and Dan Nadel The Dolls Weekly and the Crawlee Things by Rory Hayes Interiors by Jonas Wood Conceptual Art by Peter Saul DNA Failure by Famicon
Men’s Group by Ben Jones Coming Together, Coming Apart by Julia Chiang In the Good Name of the Company, edited by Brian Roettinger, Jan Tumlir and Christopher Michlig Heads Collider by Mat Brinkman Blow Your Head Vol. 2 by Diplo and Shane McCauley Drawings by Chris Martin So Long, Silver Screen by Blutch School Spirits by Anya Davidson INFOMANIACS by Matthew Thurber Pompeii [book] by Frank Santoro World Map Room by Yuichi Yokoyama Mere by CF Walrus by Brandon Graham Sun Ra: Space Interiors and Exteriors, 1972 The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame by Gengoroh Tagame Wes Lang by Wes Lang Paintings by Eddie Martinez Thought Process by Carroll Dunham Nudity Today, edited by Jesse Pearson The Last of the Mohicans by Shigeru Sugiura, edited, translated and with text by Ryan Holmberg Gold Pollen and Other Stories by Seiichi Hayashi, edited, translated and with text by Ryan Holmberg Contact High by Richard Kern, edited by Jesse Pearson The Mysterious Underground Men by Osamu Tezuka, edited, translated and with text by Ryan Holmberg
Joe Bradley Drawings by Joe Bradley 19991 by Xylor Jane
What Nerve: Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present by Dan Nadel (DAP/RISD, 2014) Dorothy and Otis: Designing the American Dream by Norman Hathaway and Dan Nadel (HarperCollins, 2014) Karl Wirsum edited by Dan Nadel (Derek Eller Gallery, 2013) Electrical Banana: Masters of Psychedelic Art by Norman Hathaway and Dan Nadel (Damiani, 2012) Art in Time by Dan Nadel (Abrams, 2010) Wilco Summer Tour Program (dBpm, 2009) Where Demented Wented: The Art and Comics of Rory Hayes (Fantagraphics, 2008) Art Out of Time by Dan Nadel (Abrams, 2006) We All Die Alone by Mark Newgarden, edited by Dan Nadel (Fantagraphics, 2006) Wunderground: Providence, 1995 to the present, Dan Nadel and Helene Silverman, creative direction (Gingko, 2006) Cheap Laffs by Mark Newgarden and PictureBox (Abrams, 2004)
"A lot of people are able to use social media more casually than I can and feel less conflicted about it. You go to an art-marketing class, and they tell you that you have to constantly remind people of your existence. Even if you’re not directly telling them to buy your thing, you should be…
1972 was a monumental year for musician, composer, and mystic Sun Ra. He finished recording his best known album, Space is the Place, on ABC/Impulse! Records and also scripted and starred in an auto-bio-pic of the same name. On the side, he released his second book of poetry Extensions Out: The…