June 17, 2017 - January 21, 2018
Hard to Picture: A Tribute to Ad Reinhardt focuses on the artist's largely unexamined work as a published illustrator which ran parallel to his career as an abstract painter from the 1930s to the 1960s. Featuring over 250 political cartoons and satirical art comics from the archives of the Estate of Ad Reinhardt in New York, this is the largest ever exhibition of these works. Also presented will be Abstract Painting (1956), one of Reinhardt's minimal "black" canvases, a slide show of color slides, and many of the artist's travel journals, pamphlets, and sketches. This is their third presentation in Europe following Art vs. History at Malmö Konsthall in Sweden in 2015 and EMMA - Espoo Museum of Modern Art in Finland in 2016.
Reinhardt first developed an interest in cartooning as a child, refining his talent for drawing throughout elementary school before first earning money for his illustrations while in high school. This eventually allowed him to support his career as an abstract artist, keeping his painting free from commercial considerations. These activities were accompanied by his fierce commitment to politics, in particular pro-labor rights and anti-war campaigns, which remained vital to his identity. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, his illustrations and cartoons appeared in many American publications, notably the daily newspaper PM, the Marxist periodical New Masses and magazines from Glamour to Listen and Ice Cream Field. His popular series of art comics, How to Look (1946-1961), appeared in the Sunday edition of PM newspaper between 1946 and 1947; after this time, Reinhardt published additional art comics only occasionally in the art periodicals ARTnews, trans/formation, and Art d'aujourd'hui, among others.
Also part of the exhibition at Mudam will be selected works by seven contemporary artists—Olav Westphalen, Judith Hopf, fellow David Zwirner artist Kerry James Marshall (whose works Dailies from Rythm Mastr (2010) and Black (2012) will be included), Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Sara Cwynar, Luis Camnitzer, and Álvaro Oyarzún—which will explore the ongoing impact of Reinhardt's work.
Read more: A review of the presentation at Malmö Konsthall in Frieze magazine
On the occasion of the centennial anniversary of Ad Reinhardt's birth, David Zwirner presented an exhibition of the artist's work in collaboration with the Ad Reinhardt Foundation. Curated by Robert Storr, this was the gallery's inaugural exhibition of Reinhardt's work. The exhibition was on view at the gallery's 537 West 20th Street location from November to December 2013 and was awarded the "Best Show in a Commercial Space in New York" by the U.S. chapter of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA-USA).
On the occasion of the exhibition, the gallery published Ad Reinhardt How to Look: Art Comics, a fully illustrated catalogue of Reinhardt's art comics with a new essay by Storr. A major monograph is forthcoming.
Watch the video of Storr's guided tour of the exhibition.