Menu

Spencer Sweeney

Spencer Sweeney, Untitled, 2012 Oil on linen, 24 × 20 inches (61 × 50.8 cm)© Spencer Sweeney

Spencer Sweeney, Untitled, 2012

Oil on linen, 24 × 20 inches (61 × 50.8 cm)
© Spencer Sweeney

Spencer Sweeney, Lucille, 2017 Oil pastel on paper, 30 ⅛ × 44 ¾ inches (76.5 × 113.7 cm)© Spencer Sweeney

Spencer Sweeney, Lucille, 2017

Oil pastel on paper, 30 ⅛ × 44 ¾ inches (76.5 × 113.7 cm)
© Spencer Sweeney

Spencer Sweeney, To be titled, 2018 Pencil on paper, 11 ⅝ × 8 ¼ inches (29.5 × 20.8 cm)© Spencer Sweeney

Spencer Sweeney, To be titled, 2018

Pencil on paper, 11 ⅝ × 8 ¼ inches (29.5 × 20.8 cm)
© Spencer Sweeney

Spencer Sweeney, Suffering Bastard, 2018 Oil on linen, 66 × 42 inches (167.6 × 106.7 cm)© Spencer Sweeney

Spencer Sweeney, Suffering Bastard, 2018

Oil on linen, 66 × 42 inches (167.6 × 106.7 cm)
© Spencer Sweeney

Spencer Sweeney, Self-Portrait Running Away, 2018 Oil on linen, 71 ½ × 43 inches (181.6 × 109.2 cm)© Spencer Sweeney

Spencer Sweeney, Self-Portrait Running Away, 2018

Oil on linen, 71 ½ × 43 inches (181.6 × 109.2 cm)
© Spencer Sweeney

Spencer Sweeney, Self-Portrait San Vicente, 2019 Pencil on paper, 6 × 4 ½ inches (15.2 × 11.3 cm)© Spencer Sweeney

Spencer Sweeney, Self-Portrait San Vicente, 2019

Pencil on paper, 6 × 4 ½ inches (15.2 × 11.3 cm)
© Spencer Sweeney

Spencer Sweeney, Daysailer, 2019 Distemper and oil pastel on paper, 22 ¼ × 30 inches (56.5 × 76.2 cm)© Spencer Sweeney

Spencer Sweeney, Daysailer, 2019

Distemper and oil pastel on paper, 22 ¼ × 30 inches (56.5 × 76.2 cm)
© Spencer Sweeney

Spencer Sweeney, Justine, 2019 Oil pastel on paper, 19 ½ × 15 inches (49.5 × 38.1 cm)© Spencer Sweeney

Spencer Sweeney, Justine, 2019

Oil pastel on paper, 19 ½ × 15 inches (49.5 × 38.1 cm)
© Spencer Sweeney

Spencer Sweeney, Untitled Figure, 2019 Oil on linen, 52 × 70 inches (132.1 × 177.8 cm)© Spencer Sweeney

Spencer Sweeney, Untitled Figure, 2019

Oil on linen, 52 × 70 inches (132.1 × 177.8 cm)
© Spencer Sweeney

About

In addition to making paintings, drawings, and collages characterized by infectious exuberance and raw materiality, Spencer Sweeney produces immersive multimedia environments that transform gallery spaces into open workshops and performance stages, exposing the traditionally private realm of the artist’s studio to public scrutiny.

Born in Philadelphia, Sweeney graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1997. He then moved to New York, where, in concert with his visual practice, he helped establish the nightclub Santos Party House and worked as a DJ. He also cofounded the seminal noise-art group Actress (1997–2001) with Lizzi Bougatsos of Gang Gang Dance, performing as its drummer at gallery and museum events including Criss Cross: Some Young New Yorkers III at MoMA PS1 in 1999. Sweeney cites jazz as having influenced his reliance on improvisation, and alongside frequent references to popular culture in his work, he alludes to the history of art. His reclining nudes, portraits, and self-portraits, for example, reverberate with the amplified and distorted voices of Pablo Picasso, Édouard Manet, and Henri Matisse, while also combining the extemporaneous vigor of Neo-Expressionism with the knowing repetition of signature motifs.

In 2015 Spencer Sweeney, a 500-page book of conversations between the artist and some of his myriad inspirations from the worlds of cinema, literature, music, New York nightlife, and contemporary art, was published, testifying to his fundamental investment in context and open exchange. Sweeney’s painting and drawing salon Headz (2017–)—a collaboration with Urs Fischer—hosts performances by experimental jazz musicians such as Pete Drungle, Craig Harris, and Jay Rodriguez, and has received international stagings in Berlin, Mexico City, and Paris. In his current work, Sweeney continues to invoke the spirit of “availablism” (a term coined by performance artist Kembra Pfahler to describe making art with materials to hand), interweaving images of disarming psychological directness with a fluid and multilayered examination of the creative process itself.

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Georg Baselitz, Noch ein Orangenesser, 2020 © Georg Baselitz

Art Fair

Art Basel Hong Kong 2021

May 21–23, 2021, booth 1d30
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
www.artbasel.com

Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel Hong Kong with a presentation of modern and contemporary painting and sculpture by gallery artists. New paintings by Georg BaselitzAlex IsraelEd Ruscha, and Sarah Sze are featured alongside exceptional works in a range of mediums by Louise BonnetTheaster GatesHenry MooreNam June Paik, and others, uncovering formal and conceptual innovations and associations that span genres and aesthetic approaches.

Georg Baselitz, Noch ein Orangenesser, 2020 © Georg Baselitz

Spencer Sweeney in his studio, New York, 2020. Artwork © Spencer Sweeney. Photo: Pete Sieper

galleryplatform.la

Spencer Sweeney
Faces

September 24–30, 2020

Sometimes you find a convergent expression of joy and pain, almost in the same breath. This is what interests me.
—Spencer Sweeney

Gagosian is pleased to present paintings and works on paper by Spencer Sweeney online for galleryplatform.la. Curated from several existing bodies of work, the selection centers on the human face as a bearer of expression and a site for visual experimentation.

Sweeney’s paintings, drawings, and collages are alive with the same infectious energy as his multimedia environments, musical performances, and collaborative experiments. In the eight works on view, which were made between 2011 and 2020, the New York–based artist presents a vital and accessible take on the elemental formats of portrait and figure study, viewing them afresh through the mercurial lenses of popular culture and subjective experience. Inspired by the improvisational spirit of jazz, he produces intensely colored, boldly gestural images that reverberate with the amplified and distorted voices of art historical exemplars.

Spencer Sweeney in his studio, New York, 2020. Artwork © Spencer Sweeney. Photo: Pete Sieper

Helen Frankenthaler, Omen, 1980 © 2020 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Art Fair

artgenève 2020

January 30–February 2, 2020, booth B25
Palexpo, Geneva
artgeneve.ch

Gagosian is pleased to participate in artgenève 2020, with modern and contemporary works by Davide Balula, Georg Baselitz, Helen Frankenthaler, Simon Hantaï, Damien Hirst, Grant Levy-Lucero, Henri Matisse, Olivier Mosset, Giuseppe Penone, Pablo Picasso, David Reed, Sterling Ruby, Spencer Sweeney, and Tom Wesselmann, among others.

To receive a PDF with detailed information on the works, please contact the gallery at inquire@gagosian.com. To attend the fair, purchase tickets at artgeneve.ch.

Download the full press release in English (PDF) or French (PDF)

Helen Frankenthaler, Omen, 1980 © 2020 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

See all News for Spencer Sweeney