January 14 – February 28 1978
The freedom with which these artists mix classical and popular art-historical sources, kitsch and traditional images, archetypal and personal fantasies, constitutes a rejection of the concept of progress per se… . It would seem that, without a specific idea of progress toward a goal, the traditional means of valuing and validating works of art are useless. Bypassing the idea of progress implies an extraordinary freedom to do and to be whatever you want. In part, this is one of the most appealing aspects of “bad” painting - that the ideas of good and bad are flexible and subject to both the immediate and the larger context in which the work is seen.
A show of so-called ‘bad’ paintings and drawings by fourteen artists who consciously reject traditional concepts of draftsmanship in favor of personal styles of figuration…In keeping with the museum’s policy of showing new and provocative work by living artists from throughout the United States, ‘Bad’ Painting raises several controversial issues about the nature and use of imagery in recent American art. The artists whose work will be shown have discarded classical drawing modes in order to present a humorous, often sardonic, intensely personal view of the world. Although for the most part they are well known in their own communities (they are from such diverse parts of the United States as Detroit, Chicago, Sacramento, Madison (Wisconsin), Houston and New York) their work has not generally been seen in New York.“
According to Marcia Tucker, The New Museum’s director, "‘Bad’ Painting” is an ironic title for ‘good painting, which is characterized by deformation of the figure, a mixture of art-historical and non-art resources, and fantastic and irreverent content. In its disregard for accurate representation and its rejection of conventional attitudes about art, ‘bad’ painting is at once funny and moving, and often scandalous in its scorn for the standards of good taste. - from The New Museum Press Release