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Barbara Kruger’s untitled work is part of Urban Theater.
Barbara Kruger’s untitled work is part of Urban Theater.

Nostalgia for the Me Decade probably never looked as good as it will in the Modern’s show Urban Theater: New York Art in the 1980s. The decade was a time of extraordinary ferment everywhere in the art world but particularly in the Big Apple, and this blockbuster exhibition aims to gather all the currents that went into that.

The show includes works by Andy Warhol, whose Pop Art was a reigning influence on American art at the decade’s start. However, his friendships with younger artists helped bring on another wave of taboo-busters with outrageous personalities: Francesco Clemente, Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat. The AIDS crisis also deeply affected Basquiat, as well as Robert Mapplethorpe and Keith Haring. Both Haring and the rawly sexual Eric Fischl painted works entitled “Bad Boys,” a name that stuck to these artists.

At the same time, the anonymous collective Guerrilla Girls was raising consciousness about the art world’s male bias, and their work influenced conceptual artists Barbara Kruger and Jenny Holzer, plus photographers Cindy Sherman and Nan Goldin. The rise of performance art found its first great practitioner in Laurie Anderson as well. All these giants will be on display at our very own Modern for the rest of the year.

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[box_info]Urban Theater: New York Art in the 1980s runs Sep 21-Jan 4 at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St, FW. Admission is $4-10. Call 817-738-9215.[/box_info]

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