On view in the upstairs gallery, Bladen in Context is an exhibition of works on paper by Bladen’s sculptor peers. At it’s core is the young group of artists who started at Park Place and were made famous by the exhibition “Primary Structures” at the Jewish Museum. A seminal moment in the history of sculpture, the work on view offered a sober, intellectual counterpoint to its painterly predecessor.
In her essay “10 Structures in 20 Paragraphs” the art critic Lucy R. Lippard frames Tony Smith and Ronald Bladen in both conjunction and opposition to their younger contemporaries: “Both had underground reputations before their work was seen, relatively late. Both consider themselves sculptors rather than anti-sculptors. Both retain the ‘romantic’ values of a previous art.”
Bladen in context offers a glimpse of this dialogue as it is caught on paper. Works by Carl Andre, Stephen Antonakos,Larry Bell,John Chamberlain,Tom Doyle,Mark di Suvero,Michael Goldberg, Robert Grosvenor, Al Held, Eva Hesse, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Robert Morris, Forrest Myers, Robert Murray, Salvatore Romano, Richard Serra, Tony Smith, David Smith, Robert Smithson, George Sugarman, Anne Truitt, David von Schlegell, Dorothea Rockburne, Connie Reyes, Richard Van Buren and Ruth Vollmer illustrate how notions about form and content began to diverge as a radical group of artists came into its own.