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.
Gagosian Quarterly Fall 2021
The Fall 2021 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Damien Hirst’s Reclining Woman (2011) on its cover.
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.
West Bund Art & Design 2023
November 9–12, 2023, booth A102
West Bund Art Center, Shanghai
Gagosian is pleased to participate in West Bund Art & Design with an extensive group presentation. The gallery will exhibit works by Harold Ancart, Georg Baselitz, Glenn Brown, Urs Fischer, Katharina Grosse, Hao Liang, Damien Hirst, Thomas Houseago, Alex Israel, Jia Aili, Anish Kapoor, Yayoi Kusama, Takashi Murakami, Takashi Murakami & Virgil Abloh, Albert Oehlen, Nam June Paik, Ed Ruscha, Alexandria Smith, Spencer Sweeney, Cameron Welch, Jonas Wood, and Zeng Fanzhi.
Gagosian’s booth at West Bund Art & Design 2023. Artwork, left to right: © Zeng Fanzhi; © Katharina Grosse and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany 2023; © Spencer Sweeney; © Yayoi Kusama. Photo: Alessandro Wang
Frieze Seoul 2023
September 7–9, 2023, booth C14
Gagosian is pleased to participate in Frieze Seoul 2023 with a presentation of contemporary works by gallery artists, including Derrick Adams, Georg Baselitz, Dan Colen, Edmund de Waal, Jadé Fadojutimi, Urs Fischer, Cy Gavin, Mehdi Ghadyanloo, Nan Goldin, Katharina Grosse, Jennifer Guidi, Thomas Houseago, Alex Israel, Rick Lowe, Takashi Murakami, Nam June Paik, Giuseppe Penone, Ed Ruscha, Alexandria Smith, Anna Weyant, Stanley Whitney, Jonas Wood, and Richard Wright, among others.
Coinciding with the fair is the arrival of Jiyoung Lee, who was recently appointed to lead the gallery’s operations in Korea. Lee joins Gagosian following nearly fifteen years based in Seoul working on behalf of both Korean and Western galleries. Her appointment builds on the gallery’s establishment of a business entity in Korea last year, and provides for expanded activities in the region.
Gagosian’s booth at Frieze Seoul 2023. Artwork, left to right: © Jadé Fadojutimi, © Jen Guidi, © Alexandria Smith, © Mehdi Ghadyanloo, © Rick Lowe Studio, © Jonas Wood. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano
July 1–September 3, 2023
Cours Cambronne, Nantes, France
Thomas Houseago’s 16-foot (5-meter) bronze sculpture L’homme Pressé (2010–11) is included in the twelfth edition of the Summer Journey, a display of contemporary sculpture presented annually to complement Le Voyage à Nantes, a permanent collection of more than 120 artworks in public spaces throughout the city of Nantes, France.
Thomas Houseago, L’homme Pressé, 2010–11, Pinault Collection © Thomas Houseago/ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Martin Argyroglo
El eco de Picasso
Through March 31, 2024
Museo Picasso Málaga, Spain
Organized as part of Picasso Celebration 1973–2023, a series of international exhibitions and events commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Pablo Picasso’s death, The Echo of Picasso focuses on his influence on twentieth-century art. The exhibition places Picasso’s practice in dialogue with work by more than fifty artists, including Francis Bacon, Georg Baselitz, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Willem de Kooning, Thomas Houseago, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Richard Prince, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Cy Twombly, Tom Wesselmann, and Franz West.
Richard Prince, Untitled (Picasso), 2011, Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, Madrid © Richard Prince. Photo: Pablo Asenjo
Sculptures pour amoureux
May 7, 2022–April 24, 2023
Centre Pompidou-Metz, France
For this exhibition, whose title translates to Sculptures for Lovers, Thomas Houseago has designed two installations specifically for the museum, which will be shown in two stages. In the first, three monumental unstretched paintings hung from the ceiling aim to express the restorative power of art and its visceral relationship with life. Visitors are invited to walk freely among the works, which are in dialogue with both nature and the architecture of the building, to view them from different vantage points. For the second phase of the exhibition, the artist adds in new paintings and sculptures created in the South of France.
Installation view, Thomas Houseago: Sculptures pour amoureux, Centre Pompidou-Metz, France, May 7, 2022–April 24, 2023. Artwork © Thomas Houseago/ADAGP, Paris
Thomas Houseago with Nick Cave and Brad Pitt
September 18, 2022–January 15, 2023
Sara Hildén Art Museum, Tampere, Finland
WE celebrates Thomas Houseago’s belief that creativity is fundamental, common to all people and flowing in all of us. The exhibition presents new paintings from the artist’s Visions series as well as sculptures in redwood and plaster, some created in response to works in the museum collection. These are shown alongside a series of ceramic figures by Nick Cave and sculptures by Brad Pitt, both of which were created during an ongoing dialogue with Houseago. By including artworks by his creative associates, Houseago recontextualizes the concept of original creation to challenge the idea of the artist as a solitary individual and celebrate a more collectivist approach.
Thomas Houseago, Weekend at El Cap, 2022 © Thomas Houseago
Collection of Qiao Zhibing
March 19–December 19, 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–December 19, 2021. Artwork, left: © Thomas Houseago; center and right: © Theaster Gates. Photo: courtesy Tank Shanghai