Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to announce the forthcoming exhibition Alexander the Great: The Iolas Gallery 1955-1987, which will showcase work by many major artists whose careers were defined through their work with influential 20th century art dealer Alexander Iolas. The exhibition will be on view from March 6 – April 26, 2014 at 293 10th Avenue.
Alexander the Great is organized in collaboration with Vincent Fremont and Adrian Dannatt. A comprehensive monograph will be published at the time of the exhibition and will include a foreword by Bob Colacello, extensive interviews and essay by Adrian Dannatt, and archival material provided by The William N. Copley Estate, The Fontana Foundation, The Yves Klein Archives, The Jules Olitski Estate, The Takis Foundation, The Estate of Dorothea Tanning, and The Andy Warhol Foundation.
Iolas played a pivotal role in twentieth century art in America. He is recognized for being among the first to introduce American audiences to Surrealism, mounting Andy Warhol’s first gallery exhibition, and being an artist’s advocate who championed work according to his own tastes, rather than popular trends. Iolas was known throughout his career as a passionate art lover who built deep personal relationships and facilitated intercontinental connections among artists, gallerists, and collectors via his eponymous galleries in Athens, Geneva, Madrid, Milan, New York and Paris. His influence spread to arts patrons as well. His close work with Dominique de Menil, for example, helped to define and build her collection. The exhibition will show the breadth of movements and careers Iolas helped to shape, and will include works by Victor Brauner, Giorgio de Chirico, William N. Copley, Joseph Cornell, Max Ernst, Lucio Fontana, Alain Jacquet, Ray Johnson, Marina Karella, Yves Klein, Les Lalanne, René Magritte, Roberto Matta, Jules Olitski, Man Ray, Martial Raysse, Ed Ruscha, Niki de Saint Phalle, Harold Stevenson, Takis, Dorothea Tanning, Paul Thek, Jean Tinguely, and Andy Warhol. Paul Kasmin Gallery is honored to represent many of the artists who worked closely with Iolas and to present this first exhibition celebrating his visionary work.
Iolas served as the director of the Hugo Gallery in New York from 1945 to 1955. A magnanimous social force from the beginning of his career, his extensive network of friends helped shape his interests and provide introductions to many of the artists Hugo exhibited. Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp introduced Iolas to William N. Copley in the late 1940s, and he went on to play a formative role in the artist’s career. Copley would later introduce the dealer to a young Ed Ruscha in 1967, who would have his first one man show in New York that same year at the Iolas Gallery.
Friendships with those artists and others developed Iolas’s passion for Surrealism – at the time a relatively unknown movement in the United States – and he went on to play a vital role in bringing it to America. Max Ernst, Rene Magritte, and Dorothea Tanning each had some of their earliest American showings at Hugo and will have works included in Alexander the Great. Iolas’s passion for Surrealism continued through the 1960s and 70s, beyond its vogue period in New York, one of the many examples of the independent taste that guided him throughout his career.
In 1945 Iolas met seventeen-year-old Andy Warhol, and seven years later gave him his first gallery exhibition in New York. Their friendship and professional relationship continued throughout their lives, until they passed away less than four months apart in 1987, shortly after Iolas mounted the final show of Warhol’s lifetime. That seminal exhibition, entitled Cenacolo, was comprised of several works commissioned by Iolas and based on Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” one of which will be included in Alexander the Great.
Yet another innovative twentieth century artist who would be given his first exhibition in New York by Iolas and his then gallery partner Brooks Jackson was Jules Olitski, whose career-defining show opened in March of 1958. A selection of important works from this exhibition will be included in Alexander the Great, and a simultaneous Olitski exhibition at Paul Kasmin Gallery’s 515 West 27th Street location will run concurrently.
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