Avant-Garde Art-Poetry Works on Display at WFMA

During the turbulent 1950s, '60s, and '70s, artists and poets worked together to create accessible and affordable artworks by printmaking. Poets and painters reveled in the intersection between the ephemeral nature of works on paper and the art object, between individual and cooperative production, and between text and image.

"Poets, Painters, and Paper: Post-World War II American Avant-Garde Art," an exhibition of that fusion of prints and poetry broadsides, is on display now through Nov. 5 at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU. "The Happening" reception for the exhibit will be held from 6-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, and will feature a lecture, poetry reading, and jazz music. The event is free and open to the public.

The exhibition, co-curated by WFMA curator Danny Bills and Assistant Professor of English Dr. Todd Giles, explores the cross-fertilization of the visual and literary arts made possible by the printmaking renaissance of the '60s and '70s, and fostered by studios and workshops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, and New York.

"Poets, Painters, and Paper" presents a number of poetry broadsides from Giles' personal poetry collection. The artworks are supplemented with numerous small press poetry journals such as Yugen, Origin, Dissent, and INTRANSIT, as well as other print ephemera from the period, including Lawrence Ferlinghetti's infamous 1975 "Letter to Stanley Kunitz." The exhibition includes broadsides that were signed and numbered by Robin Blaser, Robert Creeley, Gary Snyder, and Lenore Kandel.

The exhibition includes lithographs, etchings, and screenprints from the WFMA's permanent collection ranging from works by abstract expressionists Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner, Robert Motherwell, and Willem De Kooning. Important neo-Dadaists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, are also represented in the exhibition, as well as pop artists Tom Wesselmann, Andy Warhol, and James Rosenquist, among others.

The exhibition is made possible in part by an Intramural Research and Creative Endeavors grant from MSU's Office of Sponsored Programs & Research. For more information, contact the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU at 940-397-8900 or Giles at 940-397-4124.