Andrew Wyeth: Rebel
Patricia Junker, Ann M. Barwick Curator of American Art, Seattle Art Museum. Andrew Wyeth was always far from the mainstream in American art, but not simply because he was a realist painter at a time that saw the dominance of abstract expressionism. Wyeth refused to take sides in the art world controversies of the late 20th century. He was never a defender of realism for its own sake, but believed that abstract art challenged realist painters to find their own means to shock viewers with an unconventional and new approach. Wyeth confounded critics time and again, and especially with his late series—the Helga pictures. In this lecture recorded on October 19, 2014, Patricia Junker suggests a context for Wyeth’s subversive streak and a surprising affinity that Wyeth shares with 20th-century America’s other great artistic outlier, Marcel Duchamp. This program coincides with the exhibition Andrew Wyeth: Looking Out, Looking In, organized by the National Gallery of Art and seen only in Washington from May 4 through November 30, 2014.