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The List Gallery is pleased to present Rackstraw Downes: A Wider View, March 5–April 5, 2020
Presentations and a discussion will be held on Thursday, March 5, 4:30–5:30 PM in the Scheuer Room, Kohlberg Hall. “The Radical Possibility of Seeing What is Directly in Front of You,” by John Yau will be prefaced by an introduction by Andrea Packard, List Gallery director and exhibition curator and a short film by Tess Wei ’17. A reception will follow in the List Gallery, 5:30–7:00 PM. The List Gallery is located in the Lang Performing Arts Center, which is adjacent to Kohlberg Hall. The Department of Art and Art History at Swarthmore College is pleased to honor Rackstraw Downes as the 2020 Donald J. Gordon Visiting Artist. More information about a closing reception featuring a gallery talk by Robert Storr ’72 will follow.
John Yau has published more than 50 books of poetry, artists’ books, fiction, and art criticism. Yau was the arts editor of The Brooklyn Rail from 2007-2011, and has subsequently served as weekend editor for the online magazine, Hyperallergic. Yau’s numerous honors include awards from Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.
Curated by List Gallery Director Andrea Packard, Rackstraw Downes: A Wider View features more than 20 paintings created between 1966 and 2017. The selected works reflect the artist’s intense focus on the appearance, history, and evolving character of his chosen subjects, be they farmlands in Maine, underpasses or architectural interiors in Manhattan, landfills in New Jersey, or radio towers in Texas. This mini-survey presents acclaimed panoramas–one measuring more than nine feet long–side by side with smaller and lesser-known landscapes, portraits, and figure studies from the mid-1960s and 1970s. The exhibition also features several recent paintings of spaces in or near Downes’s New York City studio.
Rackstraw Downes: A Wider View was made possible by the Donald J. Gordon Visiting Artist Fund and the ongoing support of the Gordon family. An accompanying catalog, with essays by Andrea Packard and Alfred Mac Adam, was made possible by the Kaori Kitao Endowment for the List Gallery and additional gifts from Kaori Kitao, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor Emerita of Art History, Swarthmore College.