In Pictures: The Drawing Center’s Raucous Summer Show Is an Ode to All Things Ornament, From Japanese Woodblock Prints to Graffiti
As its title tells you, “The Clamor of Ornament” is a raucous explosion of color and pattern. The Drawing Center’s summer show throws pretty much everything that might plausibly be fit in the category of “ornament” into its mix. As a result, there is truly something for everyone here.
The title of the show is an art history joke: It riffs on Owen Jones’s famous Victorian style manual, The Grammar of Ornament. But while Jones tried to create a system that connoted taste and decorum, this show—curated by Emily King with Margaret-Anne Logan and Duncan Tomlin—is anti-systematic and wildly eclectic. From William Morris wallpaper to Japanese woodblock prints, and from graffiti tags to scrimshaw, the show is like a stream of consciousness riff on its subject, breathlessly channel-changing between centuries and media.
It’s not without its critics either. In the New York Review of Books, critic Jed Perl unleashed a 3,000-plus word attack on the show, declaring it emblematic of the degeneracy of contemporary taste. But even Perl admitted, “There’s real fun to be had here.”
See some of the highlights of “The Clamor of Ornament,” below, and judge for yourself.
“The Clamor of Ornament” is on view at the Drawing Center, New York, though September 18, 2022
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