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Extended through March 12, 2016

Mark Grotjahn

Untitled (Captain America)

January 19–March 12, 2016
980 Madison Avenue, New York

Installation view Artwork © Mark Grotjahn. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Mark Grotjahn. Photo: Rob McKeever

Works Exhibited

Mark Grotjahn, Untitled (Captain America Drawing in Ten Parts 41.17), 2008–09 Colored pencil and oil on paper, in 10 parts; part three: 85 ⅝ × 47 ⅝ inches (217.5 × 121 cm)© Mark Grotjahn. Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Mark Grotjahn, Untitled (Captain America Drawing in Ten Parts 41.17), 2008–09

Colored pencil and oil on paper, in 10 parts; part three: 85 ⅝ × 47 ⅝ inches (217.5 × 121 cm)
© Mark Grotjahn. Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

About

I am loyal to nothing, General. . . . except the [American] Dream.
—Captain America

Gagosian is pleased to announce an exhibition of Mark Grotjahn’s drawing Untitled (Captain America) (2008–09), first shown at the Kaikai Kiki Gallery in Tokyo in 2010.

In the light of current geopolitical realities and aesthetic debates, Grotjahn’s evocation of Captain America may be timely, if not more than a little ironic. First appearing in the early 1940s, the comic-book hero is a patriotic super-soldier fighting the Axis powers during World War II. Also known as Steve Rogers, a scrawny artist whose body was enhanced to the peak of natural human potential by an experimental serum, Captain America wears a costume that bears a stars-and-stripes motif, a hood emblazoned with an A—for America (or Art?)—and a shield that protects him from all foes. Although he often struggles to maintain his ideals as a man out of time with modern realities, after seventy years he remains a beloved national figure, combating those who espouse ideals contrary to the American Dream, including Nazism, technocratic fascism, and international and domestic terrorism.

In the large-scale, ten-part drawing with its centrifugal radiant motif, Grotjahn synthesizes the comic-book hero into pure, vibrating lines of force in symbolic red, white, and blue. Geometry and process resonate with each other in the razor-sharp perspectival rays and random allover marks—traces of Grotjahn’s tenacious working method, as he moves from one drawing to another—as well as the skeins of acid-yellow calligraphy that surface from time to time, like an Abstract Expressionist palimpsest.

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