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Artists on Art: Fred Tomaselli

Friday, September 26, 2014
7:15 PM–8:00 PM

Admission to the museum’s galleries is free every Friday from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. Tickets for the talk are free, but limited in availability and given away on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 5:45pm. Limit two tickets per person.
In conversation with Francesco Clemente: Inspired by India exhibition curator Beth Citron, contemporary artists engage in informal dialogues about Francesco Clemente’s work and their own on select Friday nights at 6:15 p.m.

About the Artist

Drawing upon art historical sources and Eastern and Western decorative traditions, Fred Tomaselli’sworks explode in mesmerizing, psychedelic patterns that appear to grow organically across hiscompositions. In the introduction to a 2003 essay on Tomaselli’s work in Parkett magazine, curator JamesRondeau writes: “Over the course of the last ten years, Fred Tomaselli has established an internationalreputation for his meticulously crafted, richly detailed, deliriously beautiful works of both abstract andfigurative art. His signature pieces are compelling, hybrid objects: ersatz, or maybe surrogate paintings,or tapestries, or quilts or mosaics. Their various components—both over-the-counter and controlledpharmaceuticals, street drugs, natural psychotropic substances and other organic matter, collagedelements from printed sources, and hand-painted ornament—are all suspended in gleaming layers ofclear, polished, hard resin. Forms implode, explode, oscillate, buzz, loop, swirl, and spiral. Actualobjects, photographic representations, and painted surfaces co-exist without hierarchy on and in a singlepicture plane. The combined effect, neither determinably real nor fully illusionistic, is at once electrifyingand destabilizing.”
Starting in 2005, Tomaselli has developed a new body of works on paper that transform the front page ofThe New York Times with gouache and collage. The surreal compositions are ruminations on the absurdityof news cycles and provide him a space to respond to a variety of issues – from regional anecdotes toglobal crises. As Tomaselli has stated, “I think that maybe the Times collages are quietly political, in that Ican riff on anything I want, while the horrors of the world become the background buzz. Maybe I’msaying that the world may be going to hell, but I still keep painting.”
Fred Tomaselli (born 1956, Santa Monica, CA) has been included in numerous group internationalexhibitions including Open Ends, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2000), the Berlin Biennale (2001),the Liverpool Biennial (2002), the Whitney Biennial (2004), the 5th Site Santa Fe Biennial (2004), Ecstasy,Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2006), Prospect 1, New Orleans Biennial (2008), UniversalCode, Power Plant, Toronto and The World in The Body, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2009), Between TwoWorlds, Kunstmuseum Thun and The Beauty of Distance, the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010). Soloexhibitions include Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1999), Palm Beach Institute ofContemporary Art, Florida (2001), Site Santa Fe, New Mexico (2001), Albright-Knox Gallery of Art,Buffalo, New York (2003), Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2004), Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin(2005), The Rose Art Museum, Massachusetts (2005); a major mid-career survey which travelled to theAspen Art Museum (2009) and the Frances Tang Teaching Museum, New York and the BrooklynMuseum of Art, New York (2010); Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas and the University ofMichigan Museum of Art (2014). Tomaselli’s work can be found in the public collections of institutionssuch as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; theBrooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn; Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo; and the Museum of ContemporaryArt, Los Angeles. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.