Extended through March 12, 2016
I am loyal to nothing, General. . . . except the [American] Dream.
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.
May 27–June 2, 2020
In his paintings, drawings, and sculptures, Mark Grotjahn interweaves and revitalizes various historical modes of abstraction, probing the limits between gesture and geometry, impulse and exactitude. His works unfold according to precise yet mutating rubrics, resulting in an expansive vocabulary of visual motifs that migrate from one series to the next in almost obsessive permutations. By finding variations within his immediately identifiable style, Grotjahn reveals the complexities of authorial gesture.
Photo: Olivier Zahm