“The Decorative Impulse”

Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania

Most of the artists Janet Kardon has chosen for “The Decorative Impulse” are established New York personalities: Cynthia Carlson, Joyce Kozloff, Robert Kushner, Kim MacConnell, Lucas Samaras, Miriam Schapiro, Frank Stella, George Sugarman, Robert Zakanitch, and Barbara Zucker. The only exception is Billy Al Bengston, whose art has not previously come under consideration as part of the new decorative movement. Kardon’s interest lies not in giving exposure to unknown quantities, but in a consideration of a phenomenon larger than any one individual artist—she wants to do something more ambitious than assemble another decoration show. The major critical focus must be on the issues raised in her carefully considered catalogue essay, because they address themselves to a controversial movement whose proponents have been practicing their form of “decorative art” long enough to have begun moving

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