Articulated by recurrent motifs, personal symbolism and psychological release, the conceptual and stylistic complexity of Louise Bourgeois’ oeuvre is deeply affecting. While the artist’s visual imagery is highly personal and formed by particularly painful childhood memories and the fraught terrain of femininity, it also resonates on a much wider scale, conveying universal themes of emotion, anxiety and longing. It is this idiosyncratic approach to art making that positions Bourgeois among the most important and influential artists of the 20th Century.
Earlier this year, Avery Singer began creating a digitalized universe in which she is able to reconstruct and redefine the traditional modes of representation and painterly expressionism. In her fastidiously rendered world, made to resemble a stereotypical hipster bar in New York, unexpected personages such as Maximilien de Robespierre are present; what results is a transformative conflation of history and contemporary iconography.
Evoking gestations of the natural world through an elegant intertwining of solids and voids, nested forms, ovoid shapes, and curvatures, Henry Moore’s ‘Reclining Figure’ (1945) exudes a sense of warmth and immediacy that could only manifest through the direct relationship between artist’s hand and clay. Unified here, we find Moore’s signature themes of female form and mother and child, represented in one of his most enduring subjects: the recumbent body, a timeless composition that yielded a lifetime of variations.
Untitled (Kool-Aid Drawing)
David Hammons has been a central, if wilfully elusive, fixture in the contemporary art world for almost fifty years. The myriad sources for his heterogeneous practice range from conceptual art to Arte Povera and jazz. Hammons incorporates found objects into many of his evocative works, sourcing much of his material from Harlem, where he has lived and worked since 1974. Hammons at once elevates ephemera to the level of art and questions the superior status of the conventional art object.
Intimately sized and striking in character, John Chamberlain’s ‘SUPERSTARMARTINI’ (1999) is an outstanding example of the artist’s innovative and adventurous sculptural practice. Here, an assemblage of steel ribbons—rendered in vividly colored stripes, solids and marbled mixtures of paint—intertwine and crumble into a spirited and multifaceted form, creating a sense of balance and transformation. From any given perspective, the sculpture proposes a new composition as the viewer explores each eccentric fold, twist and curl of brightly painted steel.
A master of many materials and techniques, Alexander Calder created a diverse body of work that represents a career-long interest in voids and volumes. Calder’s experience as an artist with a direct and intuitive process gave him the unique skills to imagine and create new forms of art that radically alter our experience of space. His revolutionary techniques allowed him to suspend his ‘mobiles’ from ceilings and create ‘stabiles’ of immense complexity.
In the late 1960s, Philip Guston created some of the most influential paintings of twentieth century American art. A quintessential example from this seminal body of works, ‘Untitled’ (1969) marks a turning point both in the artist’s oeuvre and the history of American art. It belongs to a small group of important works on panel made between 1968 and 1969 depicting Guston’s iconic ‘hoods’ with raised arms, ready to strike. Examples of these rare ‘hoods’ can be found in important collections including the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.
Untitled<br>(Study for Agricola I)
A pivotal work in David Smith’s oeuvre, ‘Untitled (Study for Agricola I)’ (1951) is the precursor to the seminal ‘Agricola’ series, the artist’s first major group of sculpture. Created between 1951 and 1959, this body of 17 abstract works exemplifies the particular alchemy for which Smith is renowned, in which found pieces of obdurate scrap metal and discarded farm equipment are transformed into compositions that are at once elegant, lyrical and weighty.
Orange is the New Black
Through a multidisciplinary practice that spans installation, printmaking, sculpture, painting and performance, David Hammons explores issues of identity and Black representation while incisively challenging art historical and socio-political constructs. His materials are culled from both traditional art supply sources and found objects, resulting in mixed-media works that often reframe conventional narratives, upend preconceived stereotypes and skewer art world hubris.
Blue Figure in Chair
Arshile Gorky’s exceptional ‘Blue Figure in Chair’ (c. 1934 – 1935) embodies the artist’s ingenious synthesis of disparate influences to create radically new paintings that would change the course of American art. Hailed as the seminal influence on Willem de Kooning, Gorky’s innovative work inspired generations of artists, including Jack Whitten. One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Gorky’s own influences and assimilation of different modern art movements were the starting point for many of his most important works.
A rare painting, once in the prominent Theo and Elsa Hotz Collection, ‘Doppel-Selbstbildnis (Double Self-portrait)’ reveals an important dialogue between Dieter Roth’s work from the 1970s and his wider practice. Combining Roth’s ceaseless experimentation with his abiding interest in self-portraiture, this painting is an ode to the artist’s boundless imagination. A driving force of Post-War European art, Roth produced a diverse oeuvre during his five-decade-long career that included drawing, painting, sculpture, film, immersive installations and bookmaking. Roth experimented with materials and language, exploring the interplay of different mediums, which underscores his distinct approach to artmaking.
A driving force of contemporary art, Mike Kelley produced a multifaceted oeuvre during his four-decade long career that included, but was not limited to, photography, painting, sculpture, video, performance, and a formidable body of critical and creative writing. His work conflates high and low forms of popular culture while examining social relations, cultural identity, and systems of belief, which are underscored by Kelley’s idiosyncratic approach to art making. While Kelley lived and worked in Los Angeles, his practice inspired not only his peers and students, but also a subsequent generation of artists internationally.
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