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Several of the better-known artists in What Nerve! have been the subject of significant exhibitions or publications, but this is the first major volume to focus on the broader impact of figurative art to connect artists and collectives from different generations and regions of the country. These are: from Chicago, the Hairy Who (James Falconer, Art Green, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Suellen Rocca, Karl Wirsum); from California, Funk artists (Jeremy Anderson, Robert Arneson, Roy De Forest, Robert Hudson, Ken Price, Peter Saul, Peter Voulkos, William T. Wiley); from Detroit, Destroy All Monsters (Mike Kelley, Cary Loren, Niagara, Jim Shaw); and from Providence, Forcefield (Mat Brinkman, Jim Drain, Leif Goldberg, Ara Peterson). Created in collaboration with artists from these groups, the historical moments at the core of What Nerve! are linked by work from six artists who profoundly influenced or were influenced by the groups: William Copley, Jack Kirby, Elizabeth Murray, Gary Panter, Christina Ramberg, and H.C. Westermann. Featuring paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, and videos, as well as ephemera, wallpaper, and other materials used in the reconstructed installations, the book and exhibition will broaden public exposure to the scope of this influential history. The exuberance, humor, and politics of these artworks remain powerfully resonant. Much of the work in this book is published for the first time. What Nerve! represents the first historical examination of the circumstances, relationships, and works of an increasingly important lineage of American artists.
Dan Nadel (ed.), with Roger Brown, Robert Cozzolino, Naomi Fry, Dominic Molon, Michael Rooks, Nicole Rucick, John W. Smith, Judith Tannenbaum
D.A.P. | RISD Museum, 2014