KATZ X KATZ, a synoptic overview of the work of Alex Katz (b. 1927), among the most ubiquitous American figures in the international art world today, opens on January 14, 2013, at the Yale School of Art’s 32 Edgewood Gallery, in New Haven, Connecticut. The exhibition, encompassing works in all media and in every scale, presents some seventy pieces, all drawn from the personal collection of the artist and some rarely, if ever, exhibited. The selection spans Katz’s sixdecade- long career as painter, draftsman, and printmaker, including examples of his signature mural-like canvases, as well as oil sketches, working drawings, collages, prints, and cut-outs. The exhibition is on view through March 10, 2013.
This selection will illuminate Katz’s unique and important place in postwar American art. Although never a Pop artist, his acutely observed, highly stylized, and virtuosically executed depictions of people, manners, and mores in the United States have increasingly made him the rival of Andy Warhol as this country’s most emblematic artist.
And while his iconic, over lifesized faces anticipated Warhol’s celebrity portraits, Katz has always hewed closer to the painterly realism of such contemporaries as Fairfield Porter, Jane Freilicher, and Philip Pearlstein. At the same time, his daring explorations of gesture and scale ally him with abstract artists of the 1950s and 1960s, such as Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, and Ellsworth Kelly.
Robert Storr, Dean of the Yale School of Art and curator of the exhibition, states, “At eighty-five, Alex Katz is, arguably, the freshest and most active of the New York School ‘Old Masters.’ The generous loan of these works from his personal collection embodies ‘Krème de la Krème Katz,’ while serving as a master class in unforgettable image-making.”
KATZ X KATZ is organized in a mosaic-like presentation, with thematic clusters of work of different types from different periods. Among early works are a self-portrait and view of his native St. Albans, Queens, and paintings and drawings made while studying at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, all of the early 1950s. Also on view are classic Soho cityscapes and glimpses of Katz’s artistic milieu of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, and examples of his distinctive silhouette-like polychrome sculptures, long one of his specialties. Other highlights include portraits of artist and poet friends Rudy Burckhardt, Yvonne Jacquette, Edwin Denby, Allan Ginsburg, George Ortman, and Red Grooms, up until recent portraits of couples and including critics Brooks Adams and Lisa Liebman and Katz’s poet and translator son, Vincent Katz, and his wife Vivien, and, of course, Katz’s own wife and muse, Ada. Alex Katz
The son of Russian émigré parents, Alex Katz was born in Brooklyn in 1927. He received a B.A. (1949) from Manhattan’s Cooper Union Art School. However, it was his summers (1949-50) at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, whose teachers emphasized plein air painting and working from life, that were a transformative experience for the young artist, giving him, as he has stated, “a reason to devote my life to painting.” During the 1950s Katz allied himself with the group of avantgarde artists and writers who lived and worked in lower Manhattan, forging a distinctive style that was representational and wholly contemporary that has continued to evolve until today. In 1958 he married Ada del Moro, who would become the subject of numerous paintings. To date, he has been the subject of more than 200 solo exhibitions and has been represented in nearly 500 group shows internationally. He divides his time between studios in New York City and Lincolnville, Maine.
Painter, critic, curator, and art historian, Robert Storr has been Dean of the Yale School of Art since 2006. Among other prior positions, he was the first Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts (2002–2006) and Curator and then Senior Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (1990-2002). For the latter, he organized more than twenty exhibitions, including seminal retrospectives of the work of Max Beckmann (with Tate Modern, London, and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris), Chuck Close, Elizabeth Murray, Gerhard Richter, Robert Ryman (with Tate Gallery, London), and Tony Smith, in addition to coordinating the Museum’s Projects series from 1990–2000. He has also organized exhibitions at diverse institutions internationally, and in 2007 was director of the Venice Biennale, the first American invited to assume that position. The author of numerous monographs, catalogues, and scholarly articles, Mr. Storr is a frequent lecturer in this country and abroad. He has been a contributing editor at Art in America since 1981 and writes frequently for Art Press (Paris), Artforum, the Brooklyn Rail, Corriere della Serra (Milan), Frieze (London), and Parkett. The recipient of numerous honors and awards, he received a B.A. from Swarthmore College in 1972 and an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1978.
Exhibition Catalogue and Public Programs
KATZ X KATZ will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by Robert Storr and an interview-conversation between him and the artist. Programs presented in conjunction with the exhibition will include a day-long event featuring panel discussions among writers, fellow artists, and others who have long been involved with Mr. Katz and his work. (Details about the catalogue and program will follow.)
The exhibition has been made possible through the support of an anonymous donor. 32 Edgewood Gallery
Established in 2009, the Yale School of Art’s 32 Edgewood Gallery originates exhibitions of important contemporary art from around the world, expanding the role of contemporary art at Yale University and in the city of New Haven. Past exhibitions have included a survey of recent work in diverse media by artists from India and the Indian Diaspora; an exhibition of the multimedia production of the late New Zealander Darcy Lange; a multimedia installation by award-winning Romanian artist Mircea Nicolae; a synoptic overview of work by Malcolm Morley; and an exhibition of work by influential Brazilian artist Jac Leirner. In addition, in the fall of 2012, the Gallery hosted an exhibition featuring the work of Sophie Calle and Shirin Neshat, part of a larger Yale initiative, Shaping Community: Poetics and Politics of the Eruv, organized by Margaret Olin, senior research scholar, Yale Divinity School. An exhibition of the work of Francesco Clemente will follow KATZ X KATZ. The Gallery’s exhibitions and related programs add a new perspective to the University’s already rich visual-arts offerings, which include the Yale University Art Gallery, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Architecture Gallery in Paul Rudolph Hall, and are free and open to the public. For directions to 32 Edgewood Gallery, information about hours, and further details about programming: http://art.yale.edu/Gallery.
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