The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World

Introduction to *The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World*

Introduction to The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World

GLENN LOWRY: Welcome to The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World, an exhibition of works by seventeen contemporary painters. Curator Laura Hoptman.

LAURA HOPTMAN: Atemporality is a new and strange state of the world in which, courtesy of the Internet, all eras seem to exist at once. Atemporality can be observed in literature, in popular music, and in fashion as well as in art.

Painting has always been the battleground on which some of our most important art historical issues have been fought. So it's not surprising that the painted surface is where this notion of atemporality is illustrated, in the clearest possible manner.

GLENN LOWRY: Artists in our time feel free to draw from any century, any art movement, any inspiration. And they enter art history from many different points.

LAURA HOPTMAN: The notion that one is able to use atemporality to get past one's self or one's environment is a very potent one. So when you look at a contemporary painting, all the markers on the art historical road that we might be familiar with are scrambled.

A modern artwork is an artwork that is progressive, that has gone somewhere. The idea that history moves from cave painting to abstraction, is one on which our modern culture is based. But in our atemporal moment we're going in every direction. Because of the availability of information, we have the possibility of enacting culture from any time on the timeline now, and we do.

GLENN LOWRY: Although their works and points of view are very different, the artists in this exhibition share an easy relationship with the history of art, allowing them to use a grab bag of styles, motifs, and references in inventive ways. On this tour, you’ll hear from several of the artists about their work, on painting today, and, in the case of Laura Owens, on contemporary painting exhibitions and how to look at them.

MoMA Audio+ is supported by Bloomberg.

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