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Artists Wallpaper

The use of wallpaper by artists has roots in North American art movements of the 1960s and 70s: Pattern and Decoration, Pop Art, Performance and Installation Art. Artists liked that wallpaper enabled them to critique domestic values and so explore ideas about gender and class – as well as challenging the white cube ethos of gallery spaces. The first to create a wallpaper installation was Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. This was Aggregation: One Thousand Boats Show, exhibited at the Gertrude Stein Gallery, New York, in 1963. This in turn inspired Andy Warhol’s more famous wallpaper installation at the Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, 3 years later: Silver Clouds.

Museum and gallery curators began to mount group exhibitions of artists’ wallpaper (for practical reasons mostly shown without their original installations) and so its status as a stand-alone new art form was officially endorsed. This has continued up to the present day.

Nowadays many contemporary artists make Installation Art, often using wallpaper as part of their mis-en-scène. These include Damien Hirst, Thomas Demand, Claude Closky, Mai-Thu Perret, Marc-Camille Chaimovicz.

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