Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to announce Robert Motherwell: The Art of Collage, on view at 297 Tenth Avenue from April 14 – May 21, 2016. The exhibition is comprised of uniquely important works from the artist’s lifelong exploration of collage, showing the unprecedented diversity of approaches Motherwell employed in advancing the medium.
Collectively, the works in this exhibition have been included in dozens of institutional shows over the last half-century. In White with Four Corners, 1964, first exhibited in 1965 at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. and The Museum of Modern Art, New York, exemplifies the artist’s intuitive tearing methods – akin to the gestural movements of an Abstract Expressionist’s paintbrush.
In Country Life No. 1, 1967, however, the focal point of the composition is a repurposed envelope adhered almost entirely intact, functioning as a ready-made object and providing insight into the artist’s daily life. This work was exhibited in Robert Motherwell: Collage at The Whitney Museum of American Art in 1968, a seminal show of twenty-nine collages, several of which are included in this exhibition.
In a review of the ’68 Whitney exhibition written by Hilton Kramer for The New York Times, which he titled Robert Motherwell: The Art of Collage, the critic contended that the artist’s ambition within the medium was in “restoring collage to its original position as the medium of a purely pictorial imagination.” This pictorial agenda is most evident in the extraordinary work from 1974, The Irregular Heart, in which packing labels, torn papers and a single sheet of cardboard are collaged on top of a highly layered, painterly ground. This harmonious coexistence of media and disparate techniques are exemplary of an artist who is justifiably regarded as the post-War era’s greatest collagist.
Organized in collaboration with the Dedalus Foundation, Robert Motherwell: The Art of Collage will be accompanied by a publication featuring twenty-seven plates, significant archival material and new texts by Mary Ann Caws, Jack Flam, Catherine Mosley, Marcelin Pleynet and Katy Rogers.