Forced Sentiment
December 8, 1984 –
January 12, 1985

Peter Coates, Anne Doran, Steven Koivisto, Kevin Larmon, Joel Otterson, Steven Parrino, and Anne Surprenant

Organized by Robert Longo

Linda Shearer invited Robert Longo to curate Forced Sentiment in 1985. By that year, Longo already had a lengthy history with Artists Space, having first participated in the 1976 Performance Series and the exchange with Hallwalls later that year, as well as Pictures in 1977. Longo also served as a member of the Artists Committee.

His exhibition featured seven young artists working through painting's relationship to popular culture in 1985, decades after these questions had been first introduced as worthy and viable subjects for art. Longo asked the curators Tricia Collins and Richard Milazzo, who had organized the concurrent exhibition The New Capital at White Columns, to author the show's exhibition catalog essay. They write, "[Longo's] project assumes, in an odd sort of way, that the image functions as the mechanism of the spectacle, and that the Spectacle is or fundamentally constitutes, a media-generated reality. The Spectacle, in other words, has attained a trans-Human aspect." The notion of mediated spectacle was brought to bear in some way by all of the works in the exhibition. For example, Steven Parrino's pieces, glossy monochrome canvases loosely stretched and hung in pairs with Xeroxed photographs of celebrities, probe the relationship between photography, film, and painting, leaving room for the paintings to absorb some of their neighbor's tragedy and glamour. Nearby, Anne Surprenant presented high-gloss paintings of domestic subject matter, offering a mediated vision informed by television, with surreal effects.