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Past Exhibitions


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Target Practice: Painting Under Attack 1949–78

Thu Jun 25 – Mon Sep 7 2009

Seattle Art Museum

Target Practice is an international, historical survey of the attacks that painting endured in the years following World War II. For the artists in the show, painting had become a trap, and they devised numerous ways to escape the conventions and break the traditions that had been passed down to them over hundreds of years. This phenomenon occurred in all parts of the world, and the exhibition documents why artists felt compelled to shoot, rip, tear, burn, erase, nail, unzip and deconstruct painting in order to usher in a new way of thinking.

The exhibition shows how well-known artists like Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, as well as lesser-known peers around the globe, worked to undermine the supremacy and sanctity of painting. Comprised of more than 70 objects including documentary photographs and video, Target Practice presents a compelling way to appreciate the breakthroughs made by a new generation of artists in the fertile years between 1949 and 1978.

–Michael Darling, Jon & Mary Shirley Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art

An audio tour featuring multi-media performing artist Laurie Anderson and SAM curator Michael Darling is free with museum admission. Produced by Acoustiguide and the Seattle Art Museum. Listen now!

Educational Resources
To explore this exhibition a little deeper, attend some of the related programs and events for kids, teens and adults or download our bibliography.