Responding to “The Responsive Eye”: A Santa Fe Gallery Showcases Op Art’s Thriving Legacy
The original exhibition was so groundbreaking that it drew more than 180,000 onlookers to take in this curious new style, where images seemed to jump and move depending on how the viewer looked at them. The effect was so jarring that museum guards were given permission to wear sunglasses. New York Times critic John Canaday heralded the exhibition, which was organized by William C. Seitz and featured geometric abstractions from artists ranging from British artist one of the most exciting artistic events in a decade.”
In response, Times staffer Lester Markel wrote his rebuttal in the paper and later spoke to television reporter Mike Wallace, criticizing the form: “It is fascinating as a technique, but it is not art at all.” While the show was divisive, one thing was certain: with its crisp, clean lines and high-tech appeal op was the perfect visual expression for the space age—and the style was quickly adopted by the worlds of fashion and advertising.
The new show at David Richard Gallery looks beyond the basic definition of op art to investigate the ways artists have explored visual perception over the past half century. The artists included in the gallery show were participants in the original “Responsive Eye” exhibition, including
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