Galeria Luciana Brito

Alex Katz

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An exhibition featuring prints by North American artist Alex Katzwill be held at Luciana Brito Galeria from 27 April to 12 June. This will be his first solo show in Brazil, and for this reason, the aim is to offer a retrospective view of his work by means of his most significant prints, produced between 1968 and 2010.


One of the most influential contemporary artists working with the figure, Alex Katz dedicated himself to making portraits and landscapes even during the full sway of abstract expressionism, when it was widely believed that figurative art had nothing left to offer.


Having declared an admiration for Matisse’s collages and for the work of Japanese printmaker Kitagawa Utamaro, the artist was readily able to transpose his particular manner of painting (assuming and evidencing the bidimensionality of the support) to printmaking in the 1960s, producing editions through the use of woodcut, silkscreen, lithography and aquatint. The recognized importance of his graphic work is the subject of a retrospective exhibition happening at the Albertina Museum (Vienna) between May 28 and September 19. A catalogue raisonné regarding his printed oeuvre will be published in 2011 by Hatje Cantz.


The themes pictured in his work are based mainly on the artist’s house and environs in the state of Maine, his family and friends, and, especially, his wife Ada. His flat, colorful and stylized figures and landscapes display everyday, essentially North American characteristics, inflected by commercial art, film, and television. Despite this, Alex Katz’s work has never fit into any trend nor involved the discussions proposed by pop art. According to Adam Weinberg, director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, “He quickly realized what he was about and was absolutely undaunted and single-minded in that pursuit.”


Alex Katz’s interest in dance, fashion and cinema is notable in his work – the portrayed figures sometimes appear repeatedly, suggesting a choreography or sequence. They wear clothes and accessories that often provide the titles to the works themselves (as is true of White Hat, Green Jacket,Ada with Sunglasses and Wedding Dress, artworks in the exhibition atLuciana Brito Galeria). And the unexpected framing of their faces is reminiscent of cinematographic and photographic close-ups.


Massimiliano Gioni,curator at the New Museum in New York, comments that Alex Katz’s works are “silent, his characters distant and enigmatic as sphinxes, for Katz is not interested in illustration or in description. (...) Instead, his fascination with figures incorporates traces of both Abstract Expressionism and Modernist painting, while also absorbing the pressure of popular culture, with its uncontrollable urge to transform images into icons.”


Born in 1927 in Brooklyn, Alex Katz is one of the most important artists of his generation. A graduate of the Cooper Union Art School in 1949, the artist received a scholarship to attend the Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture. He has lived and worked in New York since 1968, spending his summers in Lincolnville, Maine.


His work has been featured in more than 200 solo and 500 group shows. Alex Katz has had retrospective exhibitions at renowned venues such as the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), Brooklyn Museum of Art (New York), Albertina Museum (Vienna), Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh), Brandhorst Museum (Munich), Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (Valencia) and Saatchi Gallery (London). His artworks are part of important public collections such as that of the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), the Tate Collection (London), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid), Daros Foundation (Zürich), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) and Museum of Modern Art (New York). Alex Katz has been conferred various awards, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (1972) and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Queens Museum of Art (1987). In 2007, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy Museum in New York.


The exhibition catalog includes poems by Vincent Katz, the son of the artist. Vincent Katz is a poet, translator and art critic, author of eleven books, including Rapid Departures, with poems created in Brazil. He received the National Award for Translation in 2005 by the American Literary Translators Association for his book of translations from Latin The Complete Elegies of Sextus Propertius. He was awarded a Rome Prize Fellowship in Literature at the American Academy in Rome for 2001 and 2002 and was a Guest of the Director for a one-month residency at the American Academy in Berlin. Vincent Katz curated an exhibition on Black Mountain College at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid. He is the publisher and editor of the poetry and arts journal VANITAS and of Libellum books. The author will be in São Paulo and presents poetry reading at Luciana Brito Galeria (by invitation only).

27.04.2010 to 12.06.2010

tuesday - friday, from 10 am to 7 pm
saturdays, from 11 am to 5 pm

free admission