The Utah Museum of Fine Arts presents a large selection of its permanent collection of late Modern and contemporary works in Then and Now. The exhibition is an exploration of developments in Modern and contemporary art since the 1970s, and how art addresses socio-political realities of the past four decades. Viewers are encouraged to recognize parallels between art of the recent past and art of the present and the various ways this art manifests social realities of then and now.
Artists such as James Rosenquist and Vito Acconci confronted revolutionary politics relevant to their work in the ’70s; Bruce Nauman’s painting “Raw War” (1971) is an aggressive reaction to intense politics of that era. Conversely, sculpture by Carl Andre and Donald Judd (whose untitled 1991 sculpture is pictured above)—leading Minimalists in their day—allow viewers to draw their own conclusions. Art such as Andre’s sculpture “Fermator” (1997) reflects the undefined political, social and economic climate of its time, allowing a freer personal connection with the work. Other notable artists including Robert Smithson, Frank Stella and Wayne Thiebaud link the gulf between these past and present perspectives.
This work is an opportunity for viewers to approach art of the recent past in relation to the present, and consider how this art connects with their own reality. This retrospective approach to looking at Modern art is not limited to Modern art alone, but enables an infinitely engaging experience.