David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Nate Lowman at the gallery’s 533 West 19th Street location in New York.
Lowman has become known for deftly mining images culled from art history, the news, and popular media, transforming visual signifiers from these distinct sources into a diverse body of paintings, sculptures, and installations. Since the early 2000s, the artist has continually pushed the boundaries of his multimedia approach with works that are at turns critical, humorous, political, and poetic. In his work, Lowman stages an encounter with commonplace, universally recognizable motifs, questioning and revisiting their intended meanings while creating new narratives in the process.
The exhibition features a series of new large-scale, vibrantly saturated paintings that depicts “false color” satellite renderings of hurricanes which have struck the United States in recent decades with increasing frequency and devastation, continuing the artist’s ongoing interest in this imagery. Lowman examines the painterly possibilities afforded by their rendered, non-referential colors, devised to highlight variations in cloud temperature. Overlaid with black dotted and gestural markings akin to those from a blurred Xerox, the resultant canvases play on the tensions between the technological and the painted image, and representational imagery and pure color.
These works engage in a dialogue with art-historical precedents and influences that range from American pop art and appropriation, and the unconstrained abstraction of color field painting, while remaining inextricably linked to a contemporary sociopolitical context. While scientific and technological, these images ultimately function in the public media as abstract, iconographic stand-ins for the violence and devastation they represent; they are universally recognized and understood, despite their formless inaccuracy, as representations of real events.
Ranging from Hurricane Andrew, which struck the US in 1992 during the George H. W. Bush presidency, to the more recent Sandy, Florence, Irene, Irma, and Maria, these destructive natural disasters not only highlight the effects of climate change, but also reveal the deeply rooted economic and racial disparities of those affected by their devastation. Lowman’s interest in satellite renderings of hurricanes began in 2011 with a painting depicting Hurricane Katrina, and continued in 2017 with a small group of related canvases. He returned to the imagery in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which likewise revealed the social and economic inequities of the country and the lack of adequate governmental response. The new paintings in the exhibition present a focused engagement with this iconography and its relevance. Seen together, these works reflect the artist’s fascination with the representation of America and its contradictions and obsessions, offering a complicated image of the nation.
Also included will be a large-scale painting depicting an image of cars stranded at night in a recent flood in Yonkers, New York, drawn from a spectator’s recording of the event that was circulated in the media.
The exhibition’s title, Let’s Go, suggests at once a warning, a provocation, an enthusiastic cheer from the sidelines, and an unraveling. Likewise, Lowman’s multivalent works complicate registers of representation and meaning, ambiguously hinging at the edge of disaster and the sublime, and abstraction and representation.
This will be Lowman’s first show in New York with David Zwirner since the gallery announced representation of the artist in 2019; his first exhibition was held that year at the gallery’s London location.
Nate Lowman (b. 1979) lives and works in New York. His work was the subject of a solo exhibition at Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, in 2018. Other recent solo presentations at public institutions include those at the Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2017); FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, Reims, France (2016); Dallas Contemporary, Texas (2015); The Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich, Connecticut (2012); Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo (2009); and Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota (2006).
The artist’s work has also been featured in significant group exhibitions, including A Possible Horizon, de la Cruz Collection, Miami (2020); Third Dimension: Works from The Brant Foundation, The Brant Foundation, New York (2019); Storylines: Contemporary Art at the Guggenheim, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2015); Second Chances, Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2015); Themes & Variations: The Empire of Light, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (2014); Three Blind Mice, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium (2014); To Be With Art Is All We Ask, Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo (2012); George Herms: Xenophilia (Love of the Unknown), The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2011); The Luminous Interval: The D. Daskalopoulos Collection, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain (2011); The Last Newspaper, New Museum, New York (2010); Fresh Hell, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2010); Off the Wall: Part 1 – Thirty Performative Actions, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2010); and Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/Performance, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010).
Work by Lowman is held in numerous public collections, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Image: Nate Lowman, Irene, 2021 (detail)