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Alex Katz

The Sixties

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About Alex Katz

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Press Release

  • Alex Katz: The Sixties
    PaceWildenstein is pleased to announce that an exhibition devoted to paintings by Alex Katz from the 1960s will be on view at 545 West 22nd Street, New York, beginning next week, from April 27 through June 17, 2006. Alex Katz: The Sixties includes thirty-one paintings from 1960 to 1969, two early landscapes that precede the decade by a few years, and two cutouts, one of which is a 15' long, single oil on aluminum cutout from 1968 called One Flight Up. The work, a grouping of 38 headshot-like portraits, subjects captured in the midst of various conversations or moments, exemplifies Katz’s on-going pursuit of pictorially depicting social interactions. The landscapes, including lakes and woods of Maine, reveal the artist’s early fascination with plein air painting. While several of the paintings will be on public view for the first time, the gallery is grateful to the following museums for generously agreeing to loan works to the exhibition: The Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and The Weatherspoon Art Gallery, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In 1960, a 33 year-old Alex Katz (b. Brooklyn, 1927) was preparing for his fourth solo show in a New York City gallery, Fairfield Porter was among the almost dozen writers who had already published articles about his work, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, selected the artist to be in the prestigious contemporary traveling exhibition Young America: 1960: Thirty American Painters under Thirty-Six. In 1961, Katz wrote in Scrap Magazine, “to communicate the condition of awareness into the traditional form of painting is…what I’m after.” Alex Katz: The Sixties includes portraits of the artist’s contemporaries and friends from the decade including New York School poet Ted Berrigan; painter Peter Humphrey (1913-2001); Lita Hornick, founder of Kultur magazine and a collector of American art; artist, Marisol; and Kynaston McShine, currently Chief Curator at Large for the Museum of Modern Art, New York, among others. His family models include son Vincent and wife Ada, who has been a subject since 1954. Alex Katz: The Sixties coincides with a newly released publication from Charta (2006) including an essay, Alex Katz Circa 1960: Out of the Box by Barry Schwabsky. Mr. Schwabsky is a poet and author of several books including The Widening Circle: Consequences of Modernism in Contemporary Art (Cambridge, 2003) and a contributor to Vitamin P: New Perspectives in Painting (Phaidon, 2002); in addition, he has held various teaching positions at Yale, New York University, and Goldsmiths College, London. Phaidon Press (2005) recently published an illustrated survey on Katz by Carter Ratcliff; with an interview by Robert Storr; a contribution by Iwona Blazwick, Director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; text by New York School Poets; and writings by the artist. Alex Katz in Maine, an exhibition of landscapes and portraits made over six decades, will be on view at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art from June 24 through September 3, 2006. It had previously been on view at The Farnsworth Art Museum (2005). Three museum shows featuring Alex Katz’s work open this October 2006. In New York, the Jewish Museum will present Ada by Alex Katz (October 27, 2006 - March 18, 2007). Katz is also one of three American artists included in Essential Paintings, a group show featuring European and American painting from the 1990s to the present. Organized by The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan, the exhibition will be on view from October 3 to December 24, 2006 and includes Mamma Andersson, Cecily Brown, Peter Doig, Marlene Dumas, Bernard Frize, Michel Majerus, Laura Owens, Elizabeth Peyton, Neo Rauch, Wilhelm Sasnal, and Luc Tuymans. In Europe, also in October 2006, the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, will include work by Alex Katz, as a contemporary counterpoint, in an exhibition devoted to Maurice Denis (1870-1943), the theoretician of the Nabi group. Jean-Paul Bouillon, professor at the University of Clermont-Ferrand and member of the Institut universitaire de France, wrote the accompanying exhibition catalogue. The project is a collaboration between the Musée d'Orsay, the Réunion des musées nationaux, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto. Alex Katz studied at The Cooper Union in New York and at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. In 1994, The Cooper Union endowed the Alex Katz Visiting Chair in Painting, and in 2000, honored the artist with its "Artist of the City" award. The Paul J. Schupf Wing for the Art of Alex Katz at the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine, presents exhibitions of its in-depth collection of Katz's paintings, cutouts, drawings, and prints. Alex Katz's work has been the subject of nearly 200 solo exhibitions internationally since 1954. In 2005 Colby College Museum of Art organized a survey of more than 70 of Alex Katz’s early collages and the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain, exhibited recent paintings. In the summer of 2003, the first European exhibition devoted solely to the artist's celebrated portraits opened at the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice. An exhibition of the artist's aluminum cutouts opened at the Deichtorhallen Hamburg in 2003 and traveled to the Museum Moderner Kunst Kaernten, Klagenfurt, Austria. Major exhibitions of Katz's landscape and portrait painting in America and Europe followed his 1986 Whitney Museum of American Art retrospective and 1988 print retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. These exhibitions include: Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden (1995), Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Valencia (1996), P.S. 1/Institute for Contemporary Art, New York (1997-1998), the Saatchi Gallery, London (1998), Galleria Civica di Arte Contemporanea, Trento (1999), and Kunst und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn (2002). Alex Katz's work can be found in numerous public collections worldwide. Those in America include: Albright-Knox Museum, Buffalo; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Brooklyn Museum; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Des Moines Art Center; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Milwaukee Art Museum; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Additionally, Katz's work can be found in the Albertine Graphische Sammelung (Austria), the Atenium Taidemuso (Finland), the Bayerische Museum (Germany), the Berardo Collection (Portugal), the Essl Collection (Austria), the French National Collection, the Israel Museum, IVAM Centre Julio Gonzalez (Spain), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Japan), the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Spain), the Nationalgalerie (Germany), the Saatchi Collection (England), and the Tate Gallery (England), among others. For further information and images please contact Jennifer Benz Joy, Public Relations Associate, at 212.421.3292 or jjoy@pacewildenstein.com.
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Barry Schwabsky

2006. Charta / PaceWildenstein. Paperback

94 pages: 36 color illustrations



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