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Elizabeth Murray, American, 1940-2007, b. Chicago, IL
Art Part, 1981

Oil on 22 canvases
9 feet 7 inches x 10 feet 4 inches (292.1 x 314.96 cm)

Purchase: acquired through the generosity of the William T. Kemper Foundation---Commerce Bank, Trustee, 2000.19.A-V

This work is copyrighted. Contact Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Location: Gallery L5

Elizabeth Murray’s canvases often feature lively, cartoon-like images. In Art Part, a green hand grasping a white and reddish paintbrush trails a meandering brushstroke.

The hand and brush function as symbols of the artist and impart layers of art historical and autobiographical significance. For instance, through the 1970s and early 1980s many younger artists and critics believed that further innovation in painting was impossible. Consequently, many artists chose to work in sculpture, film and video, or performance art. Murray’s decision to paint recognizable images upset art world conventions. The power with which Art Part seems to explode may allude to this situation.

Art Part can also suggest personal themes. Regarding an earlier painting Murray stated, “out of shattered pieces, I believed I could make a whole. This applied to my art and my life.”

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