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The Show is Over

October 15–November 30, 2013
Britannia Street, London

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Installation video

Installation view Artwork, on ceiling: © Richard Wright; on wall: © Richard Prince. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork, on ceiling: © Richard Wright; on wall: © Richard Prince. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view Artwork, left to right: © Rudolf Stingel, © The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, © Albert Oehlen, © Dan Colen. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork, left to right: © Rudolf Stingel, © The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, © Albert Oehlen, © Dan Colen. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view Artwork, left to right: © Piero Manzoni, © Gregor Hildebrandt, © Adam McEwen, © Steven Parrino, © Dan Colen, © Studio lost but found/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

Artwork, left to right: © Piero Manzoni, © Gregor Hildebrandt, © Adam McEwen, © Steven Parrino, © Dan Colen, © Studio lost but found/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Mike Bruce

Works Exhibited

Dan Colen, hippity flippity!, 2012 Tar and feathers on canvas, 81 × 118 inches (205.7 × 299.7 cm)© Dan Colen. Photo: Rob McKeever

Dan Colen, hippity flippity!, 2012

Tar and feathers on canvas, 81 × 118 inches (205.7 × 299.7 cm)
© Dan Colen. Photo: Rob McKeever

Lucio Fontana, Concetto spaziale, Attese (Spatial Concept: Expectations), 1959 Acrylic on canvas, 50 ⅝ × 23 ⅝ × 2 ¾ inches (128.5 × 60 × 7 cm)© Fondazione Lucio Fontana. Photo: Rob McKeever

Lucio Fontana, Concetto spaziale, Attese (Spatial Concept: Expectations), 1959

Acrylic on canvas, 50 ⅝ × 23 ⅝ × 2 ¾ inches (128.5 × 60 × 7 cm)
© Fondazione Lucio Fontana. Photo: Rob McKeever

Douglas Gordon, ghosts, 2013 Enamel spray paint on aluminum, 59 × 78 ¾ inches (150 × 200 cm)© Studio lost but found/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Douglas Gordon, ghosts, 2013

Enamel spray paint on aluminum, 59 × 78 ¾ inches (150 × 200 cm)
© Studio lost but found/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Kim Gordon, Wreath Painting, Northampton (Blue), 2011 Enamel spray paint on canvas, 29 ⅞ × 24 inches (75.9 × 61 cm)© Kim Gordon. Photo: Rob McKeever

Kim Gordon, Wreath Painting, Northampton (Blue), 2011

Enamel spray paint on canvas, 29 ⅞ × 24 inches (75.9 × 61 cm)
© Kim Gordon. Photo: Rob McKeever

Mark Grotjahn, Untitled (Carve Room 702 Memories of the Nile 737), 2007 Oil on cardboard on linen mounted on panel, 45 ½ × 33 inches (115.5 × 83.8 cm)© Mark Grotjahn

Mark Grotjahn, Untitled (Carve Room 702 Memories of the Nile 737), 2007

Oil on cardboard on linen mounted on panel, 45 ½ × 33 inches (115.5 × 83.8 cm)
© Mark Grotjahn

Wade Guyton, Untitled, 2011 Epson UltraChrome inkjet on linen, 93 × 55 inches (236.2 × 139.7 cm)© Wade Guyton

Wade Guyton, Untitled, 2011

Epson UltraChrome inkjet on linen, 93 × 55 inches (236.2 × 139.7 cm)
© Wade Guyton

Neil Jenney, Morning, 2012 Acrylic on canvas with painted wood frame, 18 × 32 inches (45.7 × 81.3 cm)© Neil Jenney. Photo: Rob McKeever

Neil Jenney, Morning, 2012

Acrylic on canvas with painted wood frame, 18 × 32 inches (45.7 × 81.3 cm)
© Neil Jenney. Photo: Rob McKeever

Mike Kelley, Limpid Pool, 1987 Acrylic on canvas mounted on wood, 60 × 48 inches (152.4 × 121.9 cm)© Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. All rights reserved/Licensed by VAGA, New York

Mike Kelley, Limpid Pool, 1987

Acrylic on canvas mounted on wood, 60 × 48 inches (152.4 × 121.9 cm)
© Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. All rights reserved/Licensed by VAGA, New York

Adam McEwen, Untitled, 2012 Graphite mounted on aluminum panel, 96 × 48 inches (243.8 × 121.9 cm)© Adam McEwen

Adam McEwen, Untitled, 2012

Graphite mounted on aluminum panel, 96 × 48 inches (243.8 × 121.9 cm)
© Adam McEwen

Albert Oehlen, Untitled, 2008 Oil and paper on canvas, 78 ¾ × 90 ½ inches (200 × 230 cm)© Albert Oehlen. Photo: Stefan Rohner

Albert Oehlen, Untitled, 2008

Oil and paper on canvas, 78 ¾ × 90 ½ inches (200 × 230 cm)
© Albert Oehlen. Photo: Stefan Rohner

Steven Parrino, Skeletal Implosion, 2001 Enamel on canvas, diameter: 84 inches (213.4 cm)© Steven Parrino

Steven Parrino, Skeletal Implosion, 2001

Enamel on canvas, diameter: 84 inches (213.4 cm)
© Steven Parrino

Richard Prince, Untitled, 2012 Rubber band, inkjet, staples, and acrylic mounted on newsprint, 24 × 22 inches (61 × 55.9 cm)© Richard Print. Photo: Rob McKeever

Richard Prince, Untitled, 2012

Rubber band, inkjet, staples, and acrylic mounted on newsprint, 24 × 22 inches (61 × 55.9 cm)
© Richard Print. Photo: Rob McKeever

Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled, c. 1952 Paint and newspaper on primed cotton duck, 55 ⅛ × 36 ¾ inches (140 × 93.3 cm)© 2013 The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled, c. 1952

Paint and newspaper on primed cotton duck, 55 ⅛ × 36 ¾ inches (140 × 93.3 cm)
© 2013 The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Gerhard Richter, Grau (Grey), 1970 Oil on canvas, 39 ⅜ × 31 ½ inches (100 × 80 cm)© Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter, Grau (Grey), 1970

Oil on canvas, 39 ⅜ × 31 ½ inches (100 × 80 cm)
© Gerhard Richter

Ed Ruscha, End, 1993 Acrylic on canvas, 48 × 48 inches (121.9 × 121.9 cm)© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, End, 1993

Acrylic on canvas, 48 × 48 inches (121.9 × 121.9 cm)
© Ed Ruscha

Richard Serra, Elevational Weights, Black Matter, 2010 Paintstick on handmade paper, 82 × 68 inches (208.3 × 172.7 cm)© Richard Serra/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Richard Serra, Elevational Weights, Black Matter, 2010

Paintstick on handmade paper, 82 × 68 inches (208.3 × 172.7 cm)
© Richard Serra/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Blair Thurman, Scuttle Hole, 2013 Acrylic on canvas on wood, diameter: 62 ¾ inches (159.4 cm), depth: 6 inches (15.2 cm)© Blair Thurman. Photo: Mike Bruce

Blair Thurman, Scuttle Hole, 2013

Acrylic on canvas on wood, diameter: 62 ¾ inches (159.4 cm), depth: 6 inches (15.2 cm)
© Blair Thurman. Photo: Mike Bruce

Cy Twombly, Untitled (New York City), 1968 Oil-based house paint and wax crayon on canvas, 68 × 85 inches (172.7 × 215.9 cm)© Cy Twombly Foundation

Cy Twombly, Untitled (New York City), 1968

Oil-based house paint and wax crayon on canvas, 68 × 85 inches (172.7 × 215.9 cm)
© Cy Twombly Foundation

Andy Warhol, Little Electric Chair, 1965 Acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen, 22 × 28 inches (55.9 × 71.1 cm)© The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Andy Warhol, Little Electric Chair, 1965

Acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen, 22 × 28 inches (55.9 × 71.1 cm)
© The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Christopher Wool, Untitled, 1990 Enamel paint on aluminum, 108 × 72 inches (274.3 × 182.9 cm)© Christopher Wool

Christopher Wool, Untitled, 1990

Enamel paint on aluminum, 108 × 72 inches (274.3 × 182.9 cm)
© Christopher Wool

Richard Wright, No title, 2013 Ink on paper, 22 ⅞ × 19 ½ inches (58 × 42 cm)© Richard Wright

Richard Wright, No title, 2013

Ink on paper, 22 ⅞ × 19 ½ inches (58 × 42 cm)
© Richard Wright

About

There it is. I have shown it to you. It has been done. It is being done. And because it can be done, it will be done.
—Kirk Varnedoe, Pictures of Nothing

“The show is over.” Or is it? This exhibition is about abstraction and the end of painting, often proposed but never concluded. Christopher Wool’s statement in paintings, drawings, and billboards, taken from Vasily Rozanov’s nineteenth-century definition of nihilism, contains sufficient irony to suggest that painting itself, the spectacle that surrounds it, and the ultimate questions it poses about life and death, are never quite over.

The negation of painting emerged in Europe after World War II in Francis Picabia’s last paintings, Lucio Fontana’s punctured and slashed Concetto spaziale paintings, Yves Klein’s Fire-Color works, and Piero Manzoni’s quest for neutral materiality in the Achromes. When first exhibited in 1953, Robert Rauschenberg’s White Paintings—monochromatic panel paintings—were unprecedented in their deceptive blankness. These works anticipated diverse interpretations of the neutral picture plane. Gerhard Richter’s paintings of the 1970s, in shades of gray, project a removed, indifferent power. Richard Serra’s Left Corner Horizontal (1977), a dense black expanse of oilstick on linen, produces a physical and spatial void that appears impenetrable.

A shared spirit of negation is evident in the anarchic actions that fueled the urban punk movement, epitomized by Steven Parrino’s physical attacks on the canvas and Kim Gordon’s evanescent wreaths. In Parrino’s Untitled (1992), the anarchist symbol is sprayed in black engine enamel on white vellum. Ed Ruscha’s hermetic painted wordplay reaches cinematic finality with The End paintings, begun in the early 1980s. The silhouettes of Hourglass #4 (1987) and End (1993) are set against gray-spectrum horizons that evoke transitions of time and space.

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