Richard Pousette-Dart (b. 1916, Saint Paul, Minnesota; d. 1992, New York) was the youngest artist of the New York School’s first generation of Abstract Expressionists. During his career, Pousette-Dart created a lexicon of biomorphic and totemic forms that provided rich visual and symbolic sources that he would explore throughout his long career in a multitude of painterly approaches. He is recognized for his painting, drawing, photography, and sculpture, which are unified by his expressive use of gesture, form, and color. Never embracing action painting and instead pursuing his own aesthetic, Pousette-Dart sought universal significance in his art, expressed through nonobjective means.
Pousette-Dart’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1963, 1974, 1998); Museum of Modern Art (1969); The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1997); and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum as well as the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy (2007). Recent monographic presentations have been held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2014); The Drawing Center, New York (2015); Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (2018); and Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine (2018).
510 West 25th Street
November 7, 2014 - January 10, 2015
Opening Reception: Thursday, November 6, 2014, 6 - 8 PM
New York—Pace Gallery is pleased to present its first exhibition of work by Richard Pousette-Dart. The exhibition will feature twelve paintings and ten works on paper examining the artist’s use of geometric imagery from the late 1960s through the mid-1980s. To accompany the exhibition, Pace will publish a catalogue featuring a new essay by critic Alex Bacon, quotations from the artist’s notebooks and excerpts of scholarly texts by Robert Hobbs, Sam Hunter, Carter Ratcliff, Barbara Rose, Philip Rylands, Martica Sawin, Lowery Stokes Sims and Robert Storr. The exhibition will be on view at 510 West 25th Street from November 7, 2014 through January 10, 2015. An opening reception will be held Thursday, November 6, 2014, 6–8 PM.
Concurrent with Pace’s exhibition, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is presenting Full Circle: Works on Paper by Richard Pousette-Dart through November 30. Yale University Press has published a new catalogue on the occasion of the exhibition. Absence/Presence: The Photographs of Richard Pousette-Dart, an exhibition of the artist’s rarely seen photographs, will be on view at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Utica, NY, from November 8, 2014 to January 4, 2015.
Richard Pousette-Dart (1916–1992) was a leading voice in the New York School and the youngest figure in the first generation of Abstract Expressionists. He is one of few artists to have had solo exhibitions organized by four of Manhattan’s premier art museums: the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art all presented posthumous surveys of his work, while the Whitney also presented two exhibitions of his work during his life, and The Museum of Modern Art organized a touring exhibition of his work in 1969. Pousette-Dart was included in the iconic 1951 photograph The Irascibles for Life Magazine, which has served as a historic record of the New York School’s members. He also won the attention of fellow artists such as Jackson Pollock, who remarked in 1946 that Pousette-Dart was “doing interesting stuff.” Pousette-Dart survived most of his Abstract Expressionist peers by almost two decades. His longevity provided him the time and space to expand upon his earlier work, developing a personal language rooted in his spiritual beliefs. The exhibition focuses on this period of Pousette-Dart’s work and attests to his lifelong and unflinching belief in art as a vital force of life. He wrote of his art as “a quest for reality; not the obvious surface reality of outer forms but the related continuing realities of all the sights and sounds, sensations, dreams, memories…the intuitive visions that are part of the daily life of all of us.”
The exhibition focuses on Pousette-Dart’s use of geometric imagery, in particular the rectangle and the circle, which he believed to be universal symbols of cosmic forces. Pousette-Dart applied his paint in impasto points, creating thick layers over several applications. This technique rendered his forms with a “dynamic edge of creation” or “trembling edge of awareness.” “In Pousette-Dart’s mind the edge is more than the formal fact of the separation between forms within a painting,” wrote Lowery Stokes Sims. “It is a metaphor for the boundaries, the fragile point of balance, between opposites, which are mutable and in constant flux.”
The constellation of gestures in Pousette-Dart’s paintings—what he called presences—generated what he viewed as the works’ transcendental potential. “Art reveals the significant life, beauty of all forms—it uplifts, transforms it into the exalted realm of reality wherein its pure contemplative poetic being takes place—wherein art’s transcendental language of form, spirit, harmony means one universal eternal presence,” he wrote.
Richard Pousette-Dart (1916–1992) was born in St. Paul, MN, and grew up in Westchester County, NY. He lived in Manhattan during the 1930s and 1940s, but left for the countryside in 1951, residing in Suffern, NY from 1958 until his death. Pousette-Dart briefly attended Bard College, but left after one year, never completing any formal training, though he was raised in an aesthetically and intellectually ambitious household where his parents, a painter and a musician, encouraged his artistic pursuits. He taught at several universities in and near New York City, including Columbia University and Sarah Lawrence College, where he mentored many students. In his lifetime his work was exhibited in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s annual exhibition seventeen times, the Art Institute of Chicago’s annual exhibition five times and the Carnegie International twice. Other important group exhibitions include Abstract Expressionist New York, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010–2011); Documenta II (1959); Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1951); and the Venice Biennale (1948, 1982).
Since the 1960s Pousette-Dart has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at museums worldwide, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (1997-98); Museum Pfalzgalerie Kaiserslautern, Germany (2013); Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2001); The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC (2010); Philadelphia Museum of Art (2014); and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1963, 1974, 1998). The Indianapolis Museum of Art organized a retrospective of his work that traveled from 1990 to 1992, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, presented an exhibition in 2007 that traveled to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and Galleria Gottardo, Lugano, Switzerland.
Numerous international collections hold the artist’s work, including the Art Institute of Chicago; Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; The Detroit Institute of Arts; de Young Museum, Fine Art Museums of San Francisco; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Indianapolis Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
This is his first exhibition at Pace.
Lilly Wei's review in ARTnews praises Richard Pousette-Dart as “a knockout.” The exhibition features paintings and works on paper examining the artist’s use of geometry. Due to popular demand, the exhibition has been extended through February 11, 2015. Read more from ARTnews here.
2014. Pace Gallery. Paperback
52 pages: 32 color illustrations; 10 ½ x 9 ½ inches