As we all steadily recover from Damien Hirst’s international yelps for attention, I’d like to shift some attention to other artists that are trending. With an ever-expanding roster of galleries, established artists have the opportunity to occupy multiple outlets at one time. Such is the case with this week’s recommendations. Dueling shows facilitate a more cohesive understanding of practice while presenting a dialogue between curatorial strategies and themes. Some artists have all the luck.
March 1 – April 28, 2012
534 West 22nd Street
New York, New York
February 23 – April 7, 2012
140 Grand Street // 560 Broadway
New York, New York
Thomas Schütte is a prolific German artist who’s practice seeps into all mediums. He has tinkered with steel, clay, wax, paint, plywood, and lithography, to name a few. In his over twenty years of production, this variety has allowed for a meticulous exploration of contradiction and physical paradoxes.
Carolina Nitsch’s offering covers the spectrum of Schütte’s thematic focuses: the human condition and its innate tension, the female form, and architectural studies. Alte Freunde, the series after which the exhibition is titled, consists of ten etchings, caricatures of sculptures Schütte created in the early 1990s. The busts of these men emanate an underlying suspicion, worry, and cunning all at once. Frauen (2006), a series of females, are seemingly sweet with an abnormal aftertaste. Schütte is a meticulous observer and a merciless ringleader, twisting these predominantly headless women into compromising positions. His desire to push form to an extreme comes full circle in the last series presented: Architektur Modelle (Architectural Models) (1980-2006). Some of his realized structures regress to paper, assuming the scale of a preparatory sketches. Schütte’s 2D understanding of his predominantly three-dimensional practice is unveiled.
Peter Freeman’s display is the newest output by Schütte, who hasn’t shown new work in New York in seven years. Freeman’s new space on Grand Street will display sculpture and grandiose woodblock prints. The sculptures come in pairs, harking back to his earlier work with architecture or the human form. The prints on the surrounding walls are newly rendered interpretations of images from his Die Burg (The Castle) series from 1984. The work being displayed at the 560 Broadway space is guarded like pirate’s booty, with only one sentence and a handful of installation shots providing information about the suite of twenty new watercolors and several ceramic sculptures.
WINNER: Both? They are a tag-team effort, with Carolina Nitsch laying some groundwork for one to interpret the new directions Schütte might be exploring. Peter Freeman remains more open-ended, and encourages the viewer to analyze Schütte’s emphasis on mortality and internal/external power struggles.