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The Living End: Painting and Other Technologies, 1970–2020

Nov 09, 2024 - Apr 13, 2025

About the Exhibition

The claim that painting is dead has been a common refrain among critics for decades. Nevertheless, artists have continuously pushed the medium forward. The Living End: Painting and Other Technologies, 1970–2020 surveys the arc of painting over the last 50 years, highlighting it as a mode of artistic expression in a constant state of renewal and rebirth.

This international and intergenerational group exhibition presents the work of more than 40 artists who have redefined painting using emerging technologies, imaging techniques, and their own bodies. Examining the impact that computers, cameras, and television, as well as social media and automation, have had on the medium, The Living End positions painting itself as a manual “technology” that has shifted further away from the immediacy of the artist’s hand over the past 50 years. The subsequent conceptual shift has led artists to challenge what constitutes a painting, how they are produced, and who (or what) can be considered a painter.

Employing a range of mediums beyond painting, such as video, sculpture, installation, and performance, the featured artists subvert longstanding traditions and mythologies of painting—and the notion of the painter as singular genius—to offer a vital portrait of a medium that is still being reinvented.

The Living End is curated by Jamillah James, Manilow Senior Curator, with Jack Schneider, Assistant Curator.


Lead support is provided by the Harris Family Foundation in memory of Bette and Neison Harris, the Zell Family Foundation, Cari and Michael Sacks, and R. H. Defares.

Major support is provided by Northern Trust, Charlotte R. Cramer Wagner and Herbert S. Wagner III of the Wagner Foundation, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Generous support is provided by Sandra and Jack Guthman.

This exhibition is supported by the MCA’s Women Artists Initiative, a philanthropic commitment to further equity across gender lines and promote the work and ideas of women artists.

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