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February 07 - May 02, 2020

Bonjorni, Mary Ann
DeWeese, Josh
Karson, Terry
Smith, Jaune Quick-to-See
Spang, Bently
Out of Modernism

Shott Family Gallery

Bently Spang, Culture Cache Series #2, 1993, mixed media, museum purchase, Montana State
Cultural Trust Grant, and partial gift of
the artist, 2001.14, copyright the artist.


While the definition of modern art and the time frame of the movement are generally accepted, definitions of postmodernism are much less agreed upon. MAM is committed to ensuring the legacy of Montana Modernism as a focus of programming and the MAM Collection. Just this past Fall, MAM featured an exhibition titled, From the Ground Up, which featured examples of how craft was intertwined with the roots of Modernism in Montana in the 1950s through the 1970s. As a continuation of this line of inquiry, Out of Modernism is a focus exhibition that highlights some of the critical tenets of postmodernism featuring works by Montana artists from the MAM Collection.

Touchstones of postmodernism include the appropriation and re-contextualization of images, the rejection of a singular narrative in favor of pluralism, and often healthy doses of irony and skepticism towards the notion of universal truths. One of the best examples of a postmodern approach can be found in the example of Robert DeWeese. DeWeese (d. 1990)and with his wife Gennie (d. 2007) are considered as primary progenitors of the vibrant modernism movement in Montana. However Robert’s aesthetic strategies mirror postmodern developments in particular. He was an especially fluid artist who worked easily across media and styles and by the 1970s and early 1980s he was embracing ideas that would become definitive tenets of postmodernism. In Fall (1983), a curtain hangs in front of a wooden frame. Inset in the frame are index cards that include sketches and notes glued to a background—a great example of appropriation and re-contextualization. Drawing the curtain back, is the viewer looking into the past, the future, or both? DeWeese was adept at combining text and imagery to create open ended meanings.

In addition, the exhibition includes works by MaryAnn Bonjorni, Terry Karson, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Dennis Voss, Bentley Spang, and others. Out of Modernism is shown adjacent to Gordon McConnell’s postmodernist painting exhibition, When the West Was Won.

This exhibtion was organized and curated by the Missoula Art Museum.

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