"Investigations: Probe, Structure, Analysis"
September 27 - December 4 1980

Investigations: Probe • Structure • Analysis

Organized by Lynn Gumpert and Allan Schwartzman

"The works included in Investigations: Probe - Structure - Analysis do not adhere to Matisse's maxim that art should be 'a mental soother, something like a good armchair in which to rest from physical fatigue.' This art does not relax, rather it challenges, stimulates and provokes. . . . Not content to merely skim the surface of an idea, they probe deeply to reveal the underlying structures. Theirs is analytic sensibility that investigates what is hidden, unique, or complex." Lynn Gumpert and Allan Schwartzman, Investigations catalogue. “The artists participating in Investigations are not content merely to skim the surface of an idea, but instead probe deeply to reveal its underlying structure. Their individual investigations have led to a common questioning and analysis of the fundamental nature of perception. By incorporating strategies from such diverse concerns as science, linguistic, mathematics and philosophy, this work requires the viewer to unify the information through his or her own activity. Agnes Denes restructures information derived from many disciplines in order to create new ways of thinking and behaving. For instance, in her drawings form the Pyramid Project, Denes gives form to a theoretical system which she translates into a symbol. She then subjects the form, a pyramid, to a series of visual transformations. Lauren Ewing has constructed a long, dark, narrow tunnel leasing to an enclosed space with two video monitors. By introducing video, sound and texts in an orderly succession, she leads the viewer on a journey of physical and mental encounters. The archetypal building which she uses is a metaphor for the mind in that it shelters, isolates, and eventually integrates each component in a compete encounter. Vernon Fisher also juxtaposes texts and images. He incorporates writing into his paintings by actually sanding words through painted, drawn or photographed images. The correlations between the simple actions and predicaments he describes in his texts and the everyday images and object he depicts evoke elusive layers of meaning. Stephen Prina’s installation in this exhibition reveals a step-by-step analysis of a metronome’s two essential functions—time duration and marking beats—and subjects them to four operations that utilize a full range of thirty-nine possible speeds. He then translates this aural and visual information into a film sequence and an audiotape. At all stages of the work, Prina also makes the operations visible in drawings. David Reed aligns two canvases pr panels—the left containing a solid color field, the right having one or more large gestural strokes on either a black or white ground—thus separating the elements of color and line. Through his theoretical research on how the mind works, Reed has intuitively isolated, in visual terms, the specialized functions of right and left hemispheres of the brain.” -From The New Museum Press Release

New Museum curators
Courtesy the Artist and New Museum