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Unfurled: Supports/Surfaces 1966-1973

Supports/Surfaces installation view. Work by Patrick Saytour, Louis Cane, André-Pierre Arnal, Pierre Buraglio. Courtesy of CANADA

The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit presents the first exhibition in the Midwest and most comprehensive show to date of the French art movement Supports/Surfaces. This group of twelve artists, along with several others who were closely affiliated, lived and worked in the south of France, producing artwork marked by an interest in materiality, a lyrical use of color and expansive ideas of what constitutes a painting. French society was undergoing social protests and upheavals in the 1960s that mirrored the civil rights and anti-war movements in the USA. The Supports/Surfaces artists sought new forms and methods to reflect their times: standard art materials were dropped in favor of homespun non-art materials (bed sheets, rope, dish rags) and figuration was replaced by loose, permeable grids that hinted at a more democratic method of art-making and a proposal for humane society.

Impacted by the social upheaval of the time, these artists sought to redefine art and eliminate the traditional barriers. Standard art materials were dropped in favor of homespun non-art materials  and figuration was replaced by loose, permeable grids that hinted at a more democratic method of art-making and a proposal for humane society.

Supported by Étant donnés Contemporary Art, a program of the FACE Foundation, developed in partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, with the support of Institut français-Paris, the French Ministry of Culture, the Florence Gould Foundation, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Comité professionnel des galeries d'art, and private donors.

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