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Marble

February 12–June 10, 2009
980 Madison Avenue, New York

Marble Installation view

Marble

Installation view

Marble Installation view

Marble

Installation view

Marble Installation view

Marble

Installation view

Marble Installation view

Marble

Installation view

Marble Installation view

Marble

Installation view

Marble Installation view

Marble

Installation view

Marble Installation view

Marble

Installation view

Marble Installation view

Marble

Installation view

Marble Installation view

Marble

Installation view

Marble Installation view

Marble

Installation view

Marble Installation view

Marble

Installation view

Marble Installation view

Marble

Installation view

Marble Installation view

Marble

Installation view

Marble Installation view

Marble

Installation view

Marble Installation view

Marble

Installation view

Marble Installation view

Marble

Installation view

Marble Installation view

Marble

Installation view

Marble Installation view

Marble

Installation view

Works Exhibited

Alberto Giacometti, Untitled, 1931–32 Marble, 14 ½ × 11 ¼ × 5 inches (36.8 × 28.6 × 12.7 cm)

Alberto Giacometti, Untitled, 1931–32

Marble, 14 ½ × 11 ¼ × 5 inches (36.8 × 28.6 × 12.7 cm)

Jeff Koons, Self-Portrait, 1991 Marble, 37 ½ × 20 ½ × 14 ½ inches (95.2 × 52.1 × 36.8 cm), edition of 3

Jeff Koons, Self-Portrait, 1991

Marble, 37 ½ × 20 ½ × 14 ½ inches (95.2 × 52.1 × 36.8 cm), edition of 3

Henry Moore, Snake, 1924 Marble, 7 × 4 × 6 inches (17.8 × 10.2 × 15.2 cm)

Henry Moore, Snake, 1924

Marble, 7 × 4 × 6 inches (17.8 × 10.2 × 15.2 cm)

Marc Newson, Extruded Chair (white), 2006 White Carrara marble, 27 ½ × 23 ½ × 28 ¼ inches (69.8 × 59.7 × 71.8 cm), edition of 8

Marc Newson, Extruded Chair (white), 2006

White Carrara marble, 27 ½ × 23 ½ × 28 ¼ inches (69.8 × 59.7 × 71.8 cm), edition of 8

David Smith, Sewing Machine, 1943 Danby blue marble, 12 × 22 × 2 ½ inches (30.5 × 55.9 × 6.4 cm)

David Smith, Sewing Machine, 1943

Danby blue marble, 12 × 22 × 2 ½ inches (30.5 × 55.9 × 6.4 cm)

About

The marble not yet carved can hold the form of every thought the greatest artist has.
—Michelangelo

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.”

Brice Marden: Sketchbook (Gagosian, 2019); Lee Lozano: Notebooks 1967–70 (Primary Information, 2010); Stanley Whitney: Sketchbook (Lisson Gallery, 2018); Kara Walker: MCMXCIX (ROMA, 2017); Louis Fratino,Sept ’18–Jan. ’19 (Sikkema Jenkins & Co., 2019); Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Notebooks (Princeton University Press, 2015); Keith Haring Journals (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, 2010).

Book Corner
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.

Josh Kline, Skittles, 2014, commercial fridge, light box, and blended liquids in bottles, 86 ½ × 127 ½ × 41 inches (219.7 × 323.9 × 104.1 cm) © Josh Kline. Photo:  © Timothy Schenck

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.

A portrait of Betty Parsons surrounded by art.

Game Changer
Betty Parsons

Wyatt Allgeier pays homage to the renowned gallerist and artist Betty Parsons (1900–1982).

River Café menu with illustration by Ed Ruscha.

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.

The cover of the Fall 2019 Gagosian Quarterly magazine. Artwork by Nathaniel Mary Quinn

Now available
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.

Glenstone Museum.

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.