Pier and Ocean: Construction in the Art of the Seventies

Hayward Gallery

Hayward Gallery, 8 May – 22 June 1980

Pier + Ocean: Construction in the Art of the Seventies was selected by the artist Gerhard von Graevnitz, with assistance from the young sculptor Norman Dilworth.

The exhibition brought together 55 artists from Europe and America – including Donald Judd, Richard Tuttle, Walter De Maria and Carl Andre – and was the first large-scale mixed exhibition of recent international art in London.

Initially intended as a historical survey exhibition, the exhibition evolved during the planning stages into something more idiosyncratic. The Arts Council's Andrew Dempsey, who worked on the exhibition along with Graevnitz and Dilworth, characterised the end result as: ‘a show selected by an artist and intended to reflect artists’ preoccupations’.

Private view card for the Hayward Gallery showing.

The exhibition took its name from a series of paintings by Piet Mondrian and was divided into three distinct sections. These sections dealt in turn with ideas of space, the internal structure of the work of art, and the physical properties of materials.

Notes on the three sections of the exhibition: 'Concepts of Space', 'Chance Systems Endlessness', and 'Gravity'.

An introduction to Pier + Ocean written by curator Barry Barker.

List of works in Pier + Ocean.

Despite its largely critical reception in the UK, Pier + Ocean successfully paved the way for later thematic group exhibitions of international art the Hayward Gallery, not least Falls the Shadow: Recent British and European Art (1986), Doubletake: Collective Memory and Current Art (1992) and Gravity & Grace: The Changing Condition of Sculpture (1993).

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