FaceOff: Pt. 1

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.  

DUEL 1:

Thomas Schutte, Frauen, 2006, Suite of 18 color etchings on Zerkall-Bütten paper, Each 24 x 32 inches, Edition of 35 sets

Thomas Schütte, Frauen, 2006, Suite of 18 color etchings on Zerkall-Bütten paper, Each 24 x 32 inches, Edition of 35 sets (from Carolina Nitsch Project Room exhibition)

Thomas Schütte: Alte Freunde

March 1 – April 28, 2012

Carolina Nitsch Project Room

534 West 22nd Street

New York, New York

VS.

Thomas Schütte: New Work // New Watercolors

February 23 – April 7, 2012

Peter Freeman, Inc (both locations)

140 Grand Street // 560 Broadway

New York, New York

Thomas Schutte, Aquarelle, 2012, 20 ink on paper works, framed, each sheet approximately 15 x 11 inches

Thomas Schütte, Aquarelle, 2012, 20 ink on paper works, framed, each sheet approximately 15 x 11 inches (from Peter Freeman exhibition)

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.

Thomas Schutte, Alte Freunde, 2010-11, Suite of ten line etchings with open bite and carborundum, On J. Whatman 235 gsm. and Barcham Green 115 gsm. papers, Each 31 x 20 ½ inches, Edition of 35

Thomas Schütte, Alte Freunde, 2010-11, Suite of ten line etchings with open bite and carborundum, On J. Whatman 235 gsm. and Barcham Green 115 gsm. papers, Each 31 x 20 ½ inches, Edition of 35 (from Carolina Nitsch Project Room exhibition)

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.

Installation shot from Peter Freeman's New Watercolors at 560 Broadway

Installation shot from Peter Freeman's New Watercolors at 560 Broadway

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.

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About Lynn Maliszewski, Contributor-at-Large

Lynn Maliszewski is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, New York. She curated and composed work for ArtWrit, BOMB Magazine, HAHA Magazine, Hyperallergic, LatinLover, Modern Painters, No.3, Whitehot Magazine, and Whitewall. She is currently the Contributor-at-Large for ON-VERGE, an arts journalism blog sponsored by CUE Art Foundation, until 2013. She hosts her own blog, Contemporaneous Extension, as a compendium of aesthetic interests, archived exhibitions and artists, and uncensored inferences. She has contributed editorially to the College Art Association, the Bushwick Film Festival, Like the Spice Gallery, and the Museum of Modern Art.
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