“Contemporary Screens”

Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati

The very existence of an exhibition of this kind—including 25 decorative screens by painters, sculptors, printmakers, and an architect—might suggest that in the past 20 years—that is, since the height of the Modernist era—the visual arts have begun to converge, to concern themselves with more than just the properties of their own media. But in this show (which will travel to a number of other institutions) at least, the various art forms have not merged much. The differences between the screens on display are far greater than the similarities. The painters’ screens are painterly, pictorial, and textured. The sculptors’ are spatially complex, affirmatively material, and assertively standing in real space. The architect’s screen (by Robert A. M. Stern) looks as if it were made out of fragments of a building, even if they have been flattened out and used in a purely decorative way. The esthetic

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