Gagosian is pleased to present An Ideal Landscape, a group exhibition exploring contemporary approaches to the depiction of place.
Throughout the history of art, landscape painting has functioned as an important locus of visual symbolism. By situating classical allegories in idyllic pastoral settings, for example, seventeenth-century European artists such as Annibale Carracci and Nicolas Poussin were able to present an idealized view of the world that provided visual theater while also reflecting cultural mores. An Ideal Landscape takes a parallel yet converse approach for our times, presenting the genre as a vehicle for critique of the flawed and fraught social and political landscapes of today’s world.
Some works on view, such as Helen Frankenthaler’s luminous Peacock Alley (1990), conceive landscape as atmospheric abstraction, while others present imagined locations that capture their creators’ longing for alternative yet elusive states of being. Some artists literally incorporate elements of real environments to explore formal concerns relating to composition, medium, and color. Combining both new industrial materials and salvaged fragments from roofs that once sheltered human life, the scarred skyline of Theaster Gates’s suggestively titled Red City (2020) evokes the grit and precarity of urban existence. In the sunset scene of Light on the Mountain (2020), Jennifer Guidi takes a similarly unorthodox material approach; she incorporates sand into her oil paints, allowing her to make dimensional, mandala-like marks across the surface of her canvas in an exploration of the mystical and the meditative. Despite their vastly different methods and philosophies, the artists featured in An Ideal Landscape are united by a shared desire not only to portray the lived world—but also to reshape it.
The exhibition includes works by Georg Baselitz, Urs Fischer, Walton Ford, Helen Frankenthaler, Theaster Gates, Jennifer Guidi, Neil Jenney, Adam McEwen, Albert Oehlen, Ed Ruscha, Mary Weatherford, and Jonas Wood.
980 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10075
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Artist to Artist: Edmund de Waal and Theaster Gates
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