In The Studio: Photographs

17 Feb - 18 Apr 2015

Constantin Brancusi
View of the studio: Plato, Mademoiselle Pogany II, and Golden Bird, c. 1920
gelatin silver print
11 3/4 x 9 1/2 inches (29.8 x 24.1 cm)
Private collection © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris
17 February – 18 April 2015

Curated by Peter Galassi

Gagosian Gallery is pleased to present a pair of major exhibitions, curated by John Elderfield and Peter Galassi, devoted to images of artists' studios, in paintings and in photographs. The subject of the artist's studio in works of art is a very large one with a long history: The spaces where art is made, and the means by which it is made in that space, have proved fascinating to both its creators and its viewers. The aim of this pair of exhibitions is to explore important themes in the development of the subject within these two mediums.

Curated by John Elderfield, Chief Curator Emeritus of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, “In the Studio: Paintings,” on view at 522 West 21st Street, spans from the mid-sixteenth through the late twentieth centuries and includes over 50 paintings and works on paper by nearly 40 artists. The earliest and longest standing motifs—the painter at the easel, pedagogical scenes, and images of artists and models—can be observed in works by Wilhelm Bendz, Honoré Daumier, Thomas Eakins, Lucian Freud, Jean-Léon Gérôme, William Hogarth, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso. Focus on the appearance of the studio itself, which came later in the history, is represented here in paintings by Constantin Brancusi, Alberto Giacometti, Louis Moeller, and Alfred Stevens. Fictional or imaginary studios, a popular subject beginning at the end of the nineteenth century, include canvases by James Ensor, Jacek Malczewski, and Diego Rivera; while emphasis on artist's materials can be traced from eighteenth century works by Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin; to nineteenth century works by Carl Gustav Carus and Adolph von Menzel; through postwar American artists Jim Dine, Philip Guston, and Jasper Johns. Representations of the wall of the studio, illustrating both the artist's own work and that of others, were also prevalent in the postwar period, as seen here in paintings by Richard Diebenkorn, Helen Frankenthaler, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, and Larry Rivers.

Several paintings in this exhibition have not previously been seen in New York, including Jacek Malczewski's Melancholia (1890–94, Muzeum Narodowe, Poznań) and Diego Rivera's The Painter's Studio (1954, Acervo Patrimonial, Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público, Mexico City). A pair of paintings by Picasso, both titled L'Atelier (1927–28, on loan from The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice), have never been exhibited together in the United States.

Curated by Peter Galassi, former Chief Curator of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, “In the Studio: Photographs,” on view at 980 Madison Avenue, includes over 150 photographs by 40 artists—spanning from the origin of the medium to the late twentieth century—and is divided into three particularly rich themes within the broader subject of images of the artist's studio. The first of these identifies the studio as an arena for “Pose and Persona,” an artificial zone for the display of the body, and includes works by artists ranging from Eadweard Muybridge, Brassaï, and Walker Evans to Richard Avedon, Lee Friedlander, and Cindy Sherman. The nudes and portraits assembled here are exemplary because they acknowledge the role of the setting, or accentuate the deliberateness of a pose, or highlight the purposeful enactment of a persona. In the second section, “Four Studios,” in-depth selections of photographs by Constantin Brancusi, André Kertész (photographing Piet Mondrian's Paris studio), Lucas Samaras, and Josef Sudek show the studio as a total aesthetic environment. For these photographers (as well as for Mondrian), the studio was home as well as workplace and became an all-encompassing aesthetic environment—an embodiment of a unique artistic identity and perhaps an instrument for realizing it. In the third and final section, “An Embarrassment of Images,” photographs by John O'Reilly, Robert Rauschenberg, Weegee and others engage the studio wall as a site for the accumulation and display of images.

Gagosian Gallery will publish a two-volume, fully illustrated and scholarly catalogue to accompany the exhibitions. The publications include new essays by Elderfield and Galassi and will be distributed worldwide by Phaidon Press.

Tags: Richard Avedon, Constantin Brancusi, Brassaï, Honoré Daumier, Richard Diebenkorn, Jim Dine, Thomas Eakins, James Ensor, Walker Evans, Helen Frankenthaler, Lucian Freud, Lee Friedlander, Alberto Giacometti, Philip Guston, C.T. Jasper, Jasper Johns, André Kertész, Roy Lichtenstein, Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, Eadweard Muybridge, Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Diego Rivera, Larry Rivers, Lucas Samaras, Cindy Sherman