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American Painting: The Eighties Revisited

March 12–October 11, 2021 (Galleries 301, 302, and 303)
New Presentation: November 20, 2021–January 30, 2022 (Schiff Gallery and Balcony, Galleries 234 and 235)

Free admission. Press Release


Reconstituting the landmark exhibition American Painting: The Eighties from New York University’s Grey Art Gallery exhibition in 1979, American Painting: The Eighties Revisited captures a pivotal moment in twentieth century art. It features abstract paintings by artists, including Sam Gilliam, Nancy Graves, and Elizabeth Murray, all of whom were new to the New York art scene at the time. American Painting: The Eighties toured to Houston, Texas, then to 13 cities abroad, from Paris to Tel Aviv.

Along the way, a lively argument ensued about the direction that art was headed: would the best paintings reflect back on the Abstract Expressionism of the 1950s, or would they launch from the subsequent Pop Art or Minimalist movements?

All 41 artists featured in the original exhibition are shown here, including 35 paintings shown at the Grey Art Gallery. This collection has been acquired by the Cincinnati Art Museum through the generosity of Ronnie and John Shore.

Organized by the Cincinnati Art Museum, Guest Curator Kate Bonansinga


Explore American Painting: The Eighties Revisited from your device with this immersive digital tour. Featuring narration by guest curator Kate Bonansinga (Director of the School of Art, College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati), this virtual walkthrough gives visitors a deeper experience with this groundbreaking exhibition.


Experience The Virtual Tour


Watch this online conversation with Joan Thorne, one of the artists featured in American Painting: The Eighties Revisited that took place on August 25, 2021. Joan shares images of her body of work while talking about her life and artistic process with guest curator Kate Bonansinga.