Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s

Feb 11–Jun 3, 2012

With signature decorative flair, Lari Pittman’s paintings from the mid-1980s feature politicized texts in fields of vibrant color and ornamental excess. In this elaborate canvas Pittman pairs bulbous forms and geometric solids, delicate strings of dotted lines and rectilinear grids, with the pale pink circle at center lending the work an erotic tone. The loopy script that fills the lower half of the painting is taken from Abraham Lincoln’s (American, 1809–65) Gettysburg Address (1863), which reiterated the foundational American principle that “all men are created equal.” Painted in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s 1986 decision to uphold sodomy laws in Georgia, Pittman presents this statement for fresh consideration, drawing attention to its unspoken exceptions.