Carl Ostendarp: Pulled Up: RISD Museum, Providence, Rhode Island



Carl Ostendarp, Aaarrgh, 2009 (detail)

February 13 – August 23, 2009

The RISD Museum of Art presents Carl Ostendarp, “Pulled Up,” an exhibition in its Lower Farago Gallery that not only borrows its title but also its optimism from the 1977 Talking Heads song of the same name. “Pulled Up” will feature works chosen by the artist from the Museum’s collection together with new paintings of his own. Ostendarp (American, b.1961) has taught and exhibited widely, and his artwork is held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among other museums.

Ostendarp came to the attention of Judith Tannenbaum, the Museum’s Richard Brown Baker curator of contemporary art, when she encountered an installation at Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt, Germany, called All Tomorrow’s Parties. In this work—which took its name from the 1967 Velvet Underground recording with German singer Nico—Ostendarp presented Pop Art classics by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and others against bright pink walls bordered with red drips. Last year, the Elizabeth Dee Gallery (New York) presented an 18-year retrospective of Ostendarp’s work; a review in the New Yorker described the installation as “tangy conflations of Pop, minimalism, color-field, and cartoons.”

After seeing Ostendarp’s work in Frankfurt and New York, Tannenbaum invited him to produce an installation at The RISD Museum. During a visit to view the collections, he was drawn to works on paper by a range of master artists in styles as varied as Dada and Surrealism to Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, and Pop. In the completed installation, these works from the collection will be juxtaposed with two new paintings by the artist and hung on a two-color, drip-pattern mural designed by Ostendarp and painted by him with the assistance of several RISD graduate students. The works from the collection range from Odilon Redon, Hans Arp, and Joan Miró, to Adolph Gottlieb, Barnett Newman, Roy Lichtenstien, Andy Warhol, John Wesley, and Ed Ruscha, among others.
While pulling works from the Museum’s collection, Ostendarp was keenly aware of the 1970 intervention at The RISD Museum by Andy Warhol for his historic “Raid the Icebox” exhibition. Ostendarp also has been inspired by music in much of his work and for the RISD installation, he borrowed the title from the Talking Heads because of their connection to RISD– Tina Weymouth and Chris Franz are both graduates.

Ostendarp’s work is both cheerful and sly. Typically spare and often including simple biomorphic forms or words, his compositions are flooded with flat color. Often inspired by music, Ostendarp will create multi-sensory experience for visitors by playing the Talking Heads 1977 album in the gallery, producing a total experience that invites visitors to see these older pieces in a new light.

Carl Ostendarp Lecture
Thursday, February 26, 6:30 pm
Michael P. Metcalf Auditorium, Chace Center
In his lecture, Ostendarp talks about this project as well as his interest in late Modernism, including Pop Art and Minimalism.