The marble not yet carved can hold the form of every thought the greatest artist has.
Gagosian is pleased to present an exhibition that explores the enduring fascination of marble, beginning with ancient idols and moving on through classical and Renaissance statuary to twentieth-century and contemporary sculpture.
A sensual yet resilient natural material, marble has over time developed a rich visual vocabulary together with a constantly mutating symbolism. Our Neolithic ancestors carved it into primal representations of the human form. These ritual figures and vessels—strong, simple, abstract shapes—were dictated in part by the innate form of the excavated stone and the rudimentary tools available to work it. The Ancient Greeks and Romans worshipped marble and utilized it in all manner of civic edification, both architectural and sculptural, whereas in medieval times, it was vilified as idolatry by zealous clerics. During the Renaissance and on through the Enlightenment, it became charged with newly expressionistic significance. Twentieth-century and contemporary artists have tended to invert, shift, and play with all these approaches and their references, rendering marble ironic, enigmatic, and at times even incongruous. Thus marble links various spiritual and secular artistic traditions as they have reinvented themselves throughout history, just as the powerful aura that it exudes transcends time and change.
In this exhibition, Anatolian and Cycladic idols presage the modernist abstractions and biomorphic forms of Hans Arp, Constantin Brancusi, Alberto Giacometti, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Anish Kapoor, and Isamu Noguchi. A delicately carved Renaissance head, once belonging to Andy Warhol, prefigures the tongue-in-cheek gravitas of Jeff Koons’s elaborately crafted (self-)creation myth. The austere geometries of works by Carl Andre, Jenny Holzer, and Marc Newson are echoed in an exquisite painted marble fragment by Brice Marden, providing yet another counterpoint to this rich ensemble.
The latent potential of every block of marble is a challenge to artists of all generations. Its resilience defies the transient tools of modern communication through symbolism, ritual, spirituality, and desire. Embedded in cultural history, marble presents infinite possibilities for future transformation, as expressed most eloquently by Isamu Noguchi: “I am beset with doubts about the values of art as we go into the electronic age. We are all swept up in its current. Where all we see is change I like to think that sculpture may have in this a special role—as an antidote to impermanence—with newness, yes, but with a quality of enduring freshness relative to that resonant void, within us and without, not to end only as another phenomenon of our times. But this, of course, is what art is.”
Private Pages Made Public
Megan N. Liberty explores artists’ engagement with notebooks and diaries, thinking through the various meanings that arise when these private ledgers become public.
Laws of Motion
Catalyzed by Laws of Motion—a group exhibition, curated by Sam Orlofsky, pairing artworks from the 1980s on by Jeff Koons, Cady Noland, Rosemarie Trockel, and Jeff Wall with contemporary sculptures by Josh Kline and Anicka Yi—Wyatt Allgeier discusses the convergences and divergences in these artists’ practices with an eye to the economic worlds from which they spring.
Wyatt Allgeier pays homage to the renowned gallerist and artist Betty Parsons (1900–1982).
The River Café Cookbook
London’s River Café, a culinary mecca perched on a bend in the River Thames, celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in 2018. To celebrate this milestone and the publication of her cookbook River Café London, cofounder Ruth Rogers sat down with Derek Blasberg to discuss the famed restaurant’s allure.
Gagosian Quarterly Fall 2019
The Fall 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a detail from Sinking (2019) by Nathaniel Mary Quinn on its cover.
Intimate Grandeur: Glenstone Museum
Paul Goldberger tracks the evolution of Mitchell and Emily Rales’s Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland. Set amid 230 acres of pristine landscape and housing a world-class collection of modern and contemporary art, this graceful complex of pavilions, designed by architects Thomas Phifer and Partners, opened to the public in the fall of 2018.
It reminds me of something, and I don’t know what it is.
November 9–December 21, 2019
980 Madison Avenue, New York