Thomas Houseago brings a vanguard approach to sculpture’s original subject, the human body. Utilizing mediums associated with classical and modernist sculpture—such as carved wood, clay, plaster, and bronze—as well as less traditional materials like rebar and hemp, Houseago builds monumental figures rife with the traces of their making. Body parts rendered from flat portions of wood adjoin others sculpted in the round to create an interplay between two- and three-dimensional elements. His bulky-shouldered figures replace the grace of their serpentine contrapposto stance with awkward contortions of piecemeal appendages. Crouched and stilted on thick limbs, these reductive interpretations convey a striking sense of weight and anatomical structure. By tapping into the nuanced legibility of the human form, Houseago’s figures oscillate between states of power and of vulnerability.
Houseago was born in 1972 in Leeds, England. He studied at Jacob Kramer College, Leeds, England from 1990 to 1991, received a BA in 1994 from Saint Martin’s School of Art, London, and studied at De Ateliers, Amsterdam, from 1994 to 1996. Recent exhibitions of Houseago’s work include Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam (1996); Thomas Houseago, I Am Here, Selected Sculptures 1995–2003, Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium (2003); A Million Miles Away, Modern Institute, Glasgow (2007); There’s a Crack in Everything, That’s How the Light Gets In, Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin (2009); The Artist’s Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2010); What Went Down, Modern Art Oxford, England (2010, traveled to Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England; Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany; and Centre International d’Art et du Paysage de l’Ile de Vassivière, Beaumont-du-Lac, France, through 2011); Amy Bessone and Thomas Houseago, Rennie Museum, Vancouver, Canada (2010); Beat of the Show, Inverleith House, Edinburgh, Scotland (2011); The World Belongs to You, Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2011); Where the Wild Things Are and Hermaphrodite, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, England (2012); Striding Figure/Standing Figure, Galleria Borghese, Rome (2013); As I Went Out One Morning, Storm King Art Center, Cornwall, New York (2013); Studies ’98–’14, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Netherlands (2014); Lovers, Académie Conti, Vosne-Romanée, France (2015); Royal Academy, London (2019); Almost Human, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2019); Vision Paintings, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels (2021). His work was included in the 2010 Whitney Biennial. Houseago has collaborated with the New York Public Art Fund on two public sculptures: Statuesque (2010) and Masks (Pentagon) (2015).
Houseago lives and works in Malibu, California.
Thomas Houseago: Encountering Rodin
Thomas Houseago and Amélie Simier, director of the Musée Rodin, Paris, talk with Gagosian director Richard Calvocoressi about contemporary sculpture and its foundation in the radical forms of Auguste Rodin.
Work in Progress
With preparations for Houseago’s Los Angeles exhibition in progress, Deborah McLeod brings us a glimpse inside the artist’s studio.
Tuesday, June 15, 2021, 1pm edt
Join Gagosian for a conversation between Thomas Houseago and Amélie Simier, director of the Musée Rodin, Paris, appointed in May 2021. Moderated by art historian and Gagosian director Richard Calvocoressi, the discussion will look at contemporary sculpture and its foundation in Auguste Rodin’s radical forms, Houseago’s ongoing exploration of both human representation and abstraction, and process in both artists’ practices, including their common use of classical materials such as bronze and plaster. The trio will also discuss a forthcoming exhibition pairing sculptures by both artists at Gagosian in London. To join, register at eventbrite.com.
Left: Thomas Houseago. Photo: Ari Marcopoulos. Right: Amélie Simier. Photo: © Agence Photographique du Musée Rodin, J. Manoukian
FIAC Online 2021
March 2–12, 2021
Gagosian is pleased to present Printemps oublié for the first online edition of FIAC. This curated presentation reflects the dual character of springtime as a reminder of past trials and the harbinger of a vibrant new season to come.
All the artworks will appear on the Gagosian website and a rotating selection will appear in the inaugural FIAC Online Viewing Rooms, from March 4 to 7.
Jeff Koons, Bluebird Planter, 2010–16 © Jeff Koons
West Bund Art & Design 2020
November 12–15, 2020, booth A102
West Bund Art Center, Shanghai
Gagosian is pleased to participate in West Bund Art & Design 2020 with an extensive group presentation. Along with the gallery’s booth at ART021 Shanghai, on view between November 14 and 15, this will be Gagosian’s first in-person art fair since the covid-19 lockdown in March. The gallery’s participation was made possible by extraordinary support from the artists involved.
John Currin, Pistachio, 2016 © John Currin
Collection of Qiao Zhibing
Through October 11, 2021
Qiao Zhibing, contemporary art collector and founder of Tank Shanghai, has selected works from his private collection by twelve Chinese and international contemporary artists for this exhibition, which explores the inspiration art brings to the public from a visual perspective. Work by Theaster Gates and Thomas Houseago is included.
Installation view, Aesthetics: Collection of Qiao Zhibing, Tank Shanghai, March 19–October 11, 2021. Artwork, left: © Thomas Houseago; center and right: © Theaster Gates. Photo: courtesy Tank Shanghai
April 22–August 1, 2021
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels
Vision Paintings comprises large-scale paintings, drawings, and previously unexhibited journals by Thomas Houseago. The works occupy two first-floor galleries of the museum in a parallel display to selected works from the permanent collection, including Jacques-Louis David’s painting Marat assassiné (The Death of Marat) (1793). The exhibition invites viewers to contemplate the emotional tenor of both the neoclassical and contemporary works, as well as their formal differences and shared points of connection.
Installation view, Thomas Houseago: Vision Paintings, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, April 22–August 1, 2021. Artwork © Thomas Houseago
March 22–November 4, 2020
Punta della Dogana, Venice
Conceived and curated by Thomas Houseago, Muna El Fituri, and Caroline Bourgeois, Untitled, 2020 places into dialogue works in a broad range of media by more than sixty artists held by the Pinault Collection, international museums, and private collections. The exhibition centers around a re-creation of Houseago’s studio in Tadao Ando’s cube room, in the heart of Punta della Dogana. Work by Ellen Gallagher, Duane Hanson, Mike Kelley, Henry Moore, and Nam June Paik is included.
Installation view, Untitled, 2020, Punta della Dogana, Venice, March 22–December 13, 2020. Artwork © Thomas Houseago. Photo: Marco Cappelletti/DSL Studio
An exhibition dedicated to the memory of Michael Stanley
June 12–September 8, 2019
Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, England
This exhibition, dedicated to the memory of former Ikon director Michael Stanley, is structured loosely on Rex Warner’s 1941 wartime novel The Aerodrome, a book that made a great impression on Stanley. The show features many of the artists he worked with, including Michael Craig-Martin, Thomas Houseago, and Jenny Saville.
Jenny Saville, Portrait of Lola, 2019 © Jenny Saville