Opening on June 28, 2007, David Zwirner is pleased to present a point in space is a place for an argument. Deriving its title from Ludwig Wittgenstein's seminal text, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, the exhibition will include a selection of works by thirty artists: Hans Accola, Lynda Benglis, Forrest Bess, Julien Bismuth, Andre Cadere, John Chamberlain, Raoul De Keyser, Vincent Fecteau, Isa Genzken, Mary Heilmann, Eva Hesse, Alfred Jensen, Mike Kelley, Rachel Khedoori, Lee Lozano, Michael Mahalchik, Gordon Matta-Clark, Paul McCarthy, Bruce Nauman, Claes Oldenburg, Joe Overstreet, Steven Parrino, Jason Rhoades, Dieter Roth, Niki de Saint Phalle, Fred Sandback, Katy Schimert, Al Taylor, Paul Thek, and Cathy Wilkes.
Wittgenstein argued an object's existence is predicated on its situation in space; a point in a visual field must have color and a tactile object must have a degree of solidity to differentiate it from infinite space. Spanning the last five decades, the works on view present multiple modes by which artists have approached the object in space. The abstract philosophy becomes physical as artists engage the tensions of materiality, form, and function.
Opening on September 11, 2007, David Zwirner is pleased to present a new exhibition of drawings by Los Angeles-based artist Raymond Pettibon. This will be the artist's seventh solo exhibition at the gallery. Recently included in the 52nd Venice Biennale, Pettibon is widely considered one of the most influential contemporary artists working today. In 2006 and 2007, Pettibon's work was the focus of an expansive survey, which originated at CAC Málaga, Spain and traveled to Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover, Germany. Kunsthalle Wien, Austria hosted a major retrospective in 2006, exhibiting over 500 drawings. Fully illustrated catalogues were published in conjunction with these European solo exhibitions. Pettibon received the Bucksbaum Award following his participation in the 2004 Whitney Biennial. The artist's work will be featured in the upcoming group exhibition, Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll Since 1967, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
From the late 1970s through the mid-1980s, Pettibon was closely associated with the record label SST Records and the punk rock band Black Flag, started by his brother Greg Ginn. Contributing work for album covers, concert flyers, and fanzines and producing photocopied books that the artist distributed himself, Pettibon was a pioneer of the do-it-yourself ethic and aesthetic, which came to characterize Southern California underground culture. Pettibon continues to blur the boundaries of "high" and "low," pulling freely from a myriad of sources that span the cultural spectrum. His obsessively worked drawings tackle aspects of art history, religion, sports, movies, music, and sexuality. In recent years, his thematic scope has become increasingly topical, addressing current political and social concerns, including American foreign policy and the war in Iraq. Finding early inspiration in comic books, Pettibon was interested in the cartoon's mode of generic and economical representation, which allowed for the development of a remote rather than deeply personal drawing style.
Opening on September 13, 2007, Zwirner & Wirth will present a select survey of sculptures by the influential American artist H.C. Westermann. The exhibition brings together a group of ten key works that exemplify his innovative use of traditional craft techniques to create a body of sculptural work that remains uniquely situated in the canon of 20th Century art.
From the late 1950s until his death in 1981, Westermann worked with a number of materials and formal devices to address a range of personal, literary, artistic, and pop-cultural references. The artist's sculptural oeuvre is distinguished by its intricate craftsmanship, in which wood, metal, glass, and other materials are laboriously hand-tooled, and by its ability to convey an offbeat, often humorous, individualistic sensibility.
Opening on September 20, 2007, David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by artist Chris Ofili, who lives and works in Trinidad. This will be Ofili's debut solo exhibition at David Zwirner and the first to unite his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking, and graphite drawing. A fully illustrated catalogue will be published by Steidl/David Zwirner in conjunction with the exhibition.
Ofili began to garner attention in the mid-1990s with his intricately constructed works, combining bead-like dots of paint, informed in part by cave paintings in Zimbabwe, with collaged images from popular media, and elephant dung. Despite shifts in his material choices, the artist has remained committed to a painting process that relies on deliberate flattening of the picture plane, carefully layered surfaces, and diffuse sources of inspiration. Over the years, both formally and conceptually, Ofili has paid homage and forged dialogue with works by artists ranging from William Hogarth, Philip Guston, Henri Matisse, William Blake, to the Blue Rider group. In this exhibition, Ofili continues, in a variety of media, his active engagement with art history and traditions of representation.
Opening on November 8, Zwirner & Wirth will present a selection of paintings by German artist Konrad Klapheck. The exhibition will bring together roughly twenty paintings that span the years 1958-1998, providing an overview of the artist's unique style and pictorial vocabulary, while attesting to his singular contribution to post-war art.
In 1955, while he was still in art school, Klapheck acquired an obsolete typewriter model and reproduced it on canvas in a mysterious, deadpan fashion. This painting captured an everyday archetype of modern culture–a rational machine for transcribing information–in an impeccably precise style. Schreibmaschine (Typewriter), 1955, is a work that seems to fall somewhere between Surrealism and Pop Art, while nonetheless remaining unclassifiable. Klapheck had originally set out to paint, as he himself noted, "a picture that was as contrary to Tachisme as possible, which is to say to replace laziness with exactitude." Over the course of the following decades, Klapheck went on to develop an exceptionally focused artistic practice characterized by the depiction of typewriters and other technological objects that include sewing machines, telephones, faucets, and machinery.
Opening on November 9, 2007, David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by German artist Thomas Ruff. This will be the artist’s fifth solo exhibition at the gallery. In 2007, Ruff was the subject of two one-person museum exhibitions at Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden and the Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany. His numerous group exhibitions recently include Depth of Field: Modern Photography, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; What does the jellyfish want? Photographs from Man Ray to James Coleman, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany; Fast Forward: Collections for the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX (all 2007); Desacogedor: Escenas fantasmas en la sociedad global, La Bienal Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo de Sevilla, Seville, Spain; Super Vision, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; and Ecotopia: The Second ICP Triennial of Photography and Video, International Center of Photography, New York, NY (all 2006). He was the 2006 recipient of the Infinity Award for Art presented by the International Center of Photography, New York, NY.
In this exhibition, Ruff continues to explore the distribution and reception of images in the digital age through his jpeg series. Using JPEGs (the standard compression files for Internet images) culled primarily from the World Wide Web, Ruff attempts to create a visual lexicon or encyclopedic compendium of contemporary history, cataloguing locations, events, and natural phenomenon. Enlarged by the artist to gigantic scale, the JPEGs become geometric displays of color; the exaggerated pixel patterns leave the image nearly unrecognizable from close view. Much like Impressionist paintings, these photographs require the viewer to stand at a distance in order to make a visual assessment of the image content. The distinct modes of viewing–close, mid-range, and far–integral to fully processing the works, challenge viewers to examine the way they look at images in the art context and the everyday. Further, instead of straightforwardly titling the works to communicate their historical and geographic reference points, Ruff employs acronyms, calling upon viewers to decode and determine meaning.
Jason Rhoades' untimely death in 2006 at age 41 cut short a career which, through the sheer audacity, scope, and ambition of his prolific artistic output since 1993, promised to make him one of the defining artists of his generation. While often perceived as a maverick–constantly changing styles, materials, and intellectual approaches for each project, it is the very continuity and reoccurrence of Rhoades' most important concepts and concerns throughout his career that is the hallmark of his final exhibition, Black Pussy, conceived by the artist in 2005 and 2006 and completed in Rhoades' studio shortly before his death.
The last installment in a trilogy of work that includes Meccatuna (2003) and My Madinah: in pursuit of my ermitage…(2004), Black Pussy remains one of Rhoades’ most mysterious works, and his most ambitious. Sprawling roughly 3,000 square feet, the work presents itself as a large installation, dominated by an empty stage bearing a neon sign which reads "Live in the Black Pussy." The work also features 185 neon pussy word signs, as part of the artist’s ongoing project of creating a cross-cultural compendium of synonyms for female genitalia. Large storage racks are covered with myriad objects, including hundreds of Egyptian Hookah pipes from a seized shipping container, over 350 unique Dream Catchers (a traditional Native American fetish object used to filter dreams), 89 beaver-felt cowboy hats, 72 Chinese Scholar stones, Venetian glass vegetables (and Chinese knock-offs), colorful cloth rugs, a homemade aluminum replica of Jeff Koons' famous stainless steel Rabbit (1986), and more. To one side, a large macramé textile object covers the wall. Beyond the formal juxtapositions created, the individual elements in the massive installation interact symbolically, communicating dichotomous relationships of masculine versus feminine, Eastern versus Western traditions, the handmade versus the massproduced, and the authentic versus the fake.
On January 9, 2008 Zwirner & Wirth will present a selection of important early drawings and three-dimensional pieces by the American artist Al Taylor (1948-1999). This will be the first exhibition of Taylor's work at Zwirner & Wirth since the gallery announced its representation of the artist's estate.
Al Taylor: Early Work will examine the development of Taylor's distinctive approach to art-making over the years 1985-1990. While he began his studio practice as a painter, in 1985 Taylor devised a uniquely innovative approach to process and materials that encompassed two-dimensional drawings and three-dimensional assemblages. Taylor ultimately sought to expand the possibilities of vision by creating new ways of experiencing and envisioning space, and these works provide an insight into the artist's thoughts and his investigations of perception across several dimensions.
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Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer
The Second Coming
–W.B. Yeats (1865-1939)
Opening on January 10, 2008, David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Los Angeles-based artist Diana Thater.
For her fifth solo exhibition at the gallery, Diana Thater has created two room-size installations that examine the intangible and dimensionless relationship between humans and the natural world through the ancient art of falconry. Emerging with the birth of civilizations–with origins in the Middle East and Central Asia, hunting with trained birds of prey flourished in the courts of medieval Western Europe and Great Britain, carrying with it enormous cultural and social capital. Divorced from its symbolic articulation of social and political power, the practice survives today among a small yet dedicated population of falconers. Committed to working within local environments, Thater invited fifteen California falconers to a stone amphitheater in the Santa Monica Mountains, where she documented the diverse and personal bonds between the falconers and their individual birds. Filming from above, the crane-operated camera surveys the arena while the avian participants remain grounded. Along with this footage, Thater will project large-scale still images of the sun and moon. Just as expectations of movement are reversed with the flying camera and stationary birds, Thater defies color conventions by tinting the sun blue and the moon gold.
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Opening on September 8, 2006, David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by John McCracken. The artist was the subject of a solo exhibition at S.M.A.K. in Ghent, Belgium in 2004. His work was prominently represented in major recent group shows including The Los Angeles Art Scene, 1955-1985 at Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France (2006), and A Minimal Future? Art as Object 1958-1968 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, CA. This will be McCracken's third exhibition at the gallery, and will inaugurate David Zwirner's new space at 533 West 19th Street.
Since the mid-1960s, John McCracken has been a key figure in the conceptual expansion of abstract art; in particular, Minimalism. Best known for "planks"–monochromatic, rectangular sculptures that lean against the wall–McCracken typically makes each resin or lacquer work by hand rather than using industrial fabricators. Plywood forms are coated with fiberglass and layers of resin and sometimes lacquer, and each work is meticulously handcrafted and taken to a high polish. The resulting forms are nearly translucent, offering the viewers' reflection as a reminder of the heightened physicality of pure abstract form. In addition to the planks, his freestanding monoliths and smaller wall pieces seem to occupy the space between sculpture and painting by suggesting volumetric color as its own conceptual entity.