William Anastasi
opposites are identical

November 14, 2008 – January 17, 2009
at Peter Blum Chelsea

Peter Blum is pleased to announce the exhibition William Anastasi: opposites are identical, opening on November 14th, 2008 at Peter Blum Chelsea, 526 West 29th Street. This will be Anastasi’s first exhibition with the Peter Blum Gallery.

opposites are identical brings together works from four decades, with the earliest work dating back to the early 1960s and the latest from the year 2000. One of the first practitioners of Minimal and Conceptual art, Anastasi, throughout his career, has questioned the structure of cognition and perception, often probing the edges of traditional art practices. Despite creating a number of works that anticipate many of the key artistic themes of Minimal and Conceptual art, Anastasi has been relatively overlooked by the art historical canon. As a keen observer and close friend of John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, Anastasi developed a distinctive practice that combines a Duchampian sense of play with the analytic rigor of Conceptualism.

A central trope in Anastasi’s art is the relationship between the object and its context. Frequently, the gallery itself becomes the frame for this exploration. For example, Untitled (1966-2008) is a new interpretation of a piece originally shown in Anastasi’s “Six Sites” exhibition at Virginia Dwan Gallery, New York, in 1967. The photo-silkscreen on canvas pictures exactly the gallery wall on which it is hung—that is a full fifty percent of the size of the wall itself (the 1967 version was ninety percent of the wall size). This piece is one of many examples of where Anastasi investigates the tension between presence and representation.

Anastasi has consistently introduced chance and randomness into his works. In an attempt to yield control of his creative process, he executed graphite on canvas drawings with his eyes closed. These pieces demonstrate how in Anastasi’s art the ideas always generate the choice of medium.

William Anastasi was born in 1933 in Philadelphia, PA. His first exhibition in New York was in 1964 at the Washington Square Gallery, followed by four shows at the Virginia Dwan Gallery (1966, 1967, two in 1970). Important solo exhibitions include: P.S.1, New York (1977), Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf, Germany (1979), Whitney Museum, New York (1979 and 1981), The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA (1993), two retrospectives: Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, PA (1995), and Nikolaj – Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center (2001). Selected public collections: Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum, New York; The Jewish Museum, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.