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.
Created in response to the covid-19 pandemic, the Artist Spotlight series highlights individual artists, one week at a time, whose exhibitions have been affected by the health crisis. A single artwork by the artist is made available with pricing information for forty-eight hours only.
Artist Spotlight: Mark Grotjahn features a recent work by the artist. For more information, please contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Olivier Zahm
The Nature of Mark Grotjahn
Michael Auping writes about the origins of Mark Grotjahn’s Capri paintings and their relationship with nature and landscape.
Mark Grotjahn: Capri
Mark Grotjahn speaks to Sam Orlofsky about the stories and processes behind his Capri series, on the occasion of his exhibition New Capri, Capri, Free Capri in New York.
New Capri, Capri, Free Capri
October 30–December 22, 2018
555 West 24th Street, New York
June 24–September 17, 2016
Grosvenor Hill, London
Extended through March 12, 2016
Untitled (Captain America)
January 19–March 12, 2016
980 Madison Avenue, New York
September 13–October 27, 2012
980 Madison Avenue, New York
Mark Grotjahn: Casa Malaparte is available for online reading from May 27 through June 26 as part of Artist Spotlight: Mark Grotjahn. The book documents a presentation of paintings and sculptures by the artist at the landmark modernist house designed by writer Curzio Malaparte on the Italian island of Capri. The exhibition marked the first presentation of Grotjahn’s Capri paintings.
Mark Grotjahn: Casa Malaparte (New York: Gagosian, 2017)
Virtual Studio Visit
Klaus Biesenbach in Conversation with Mark Grotjahn
In the Virtual Studio Visit series from the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, director Klaus Biesenbach digitally connects with artists around the world. Here, he speaks with Mark Grotjahn in his Los Angeles studio during a visit recorded in late April 2020. Together they discuss life under lockdown and Grotjahn’s work, from his student days to the present.
Still from “Virtual Studio Visit: Klaus Biesenbach in Conversation with Mark Grotjahn”
Artists on Art
Mark Grotjahn on John McLaughlin
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Artists on Art video series features contemporary artists speaking on objects of their choice from the museum’s collection. In this video, Mark Grotjahn explains what draws him to #26 (1961) by the American abstract painter John McLaughlin (1898–1976). Describing McLaughlin’s practice of setting up parameters and finding possibilities within them, Grotjahn also discusses his own experience of making geometric abstractions and the joy of “losing yourself into that void.”
Still from “Artists on Art: Mark Grotjahn on John McLaughlin”
May 20–August 19, 2018
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Conceived as one work, Mark Grotjahn’s 50 Kitchens (2013–18) takes its inspiration from a single Butterfly composition that Grotjahn made to meet the dimensional specifications of a wall in his kitchen. The more than fifty subsequent chromatic drawings explore pairs of radiating colors and together create a prismatic display. Grotjahn began making his Butterfly compositions in 2001. This exhibition was the first presentation of 50 Kitchens at LACMA.
Installation view, Mark Grotjahn: 50 Kitchens, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, May 20–August 19, 2018. Artwork © Mark Grotjahn. Photo: Museum Associates/LACMA
The Forever Now
Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World
December 14, 2014–April 5, 2015
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Forever Now presents the work of seventeen artists whose paintings reflect a singular approach that characterizes our cultural moment at the beginning of the new millennium: they refuse to allow us to define or even meter our time by them. They represent a wide variety of styles and impulses, but all use the painted surface as a platform, map, or metaphoric screen on which genres intermingle, morph, and collide. Work by Joe Bradley, Mark Grotjahn, and Mary Weatherford is included.
Mary Weatherford, la noche, 2014 © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio
May 31–August 17, 2014
Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas
This exhibition was the first dedicated museum presentation of Mark Grotjahn’s sculpture, which the artist began producing privately in 2000, alongside his painting practice. It showcased many never-before-seen, three-dimensional works, ranging in size from small, intimate compositions to larger-scale freestanding works. Combining common cardboard boxes and tubes and cutting them to roughly resemble masks or faces, Grotjahn then scraped these assemblages and cast them in bronze, which he either left raw or elaborately painted.
Mark Grotjahn, Untitled (Scribble Scrabble French Mask M31.b), 2013 © Mark Grotjahn
May 16–July 27, 2014
Kunstverein Freiburg, Germany
Circus Circus was Mark Grotjahn’s first solo exhibition in Germany. Both adopting and commenting on a range of art historical influences, from Renaissance-era drawing technique to Abstract Expressionism and Op art, the works on view demonstrated the artist’s ability to combine the opposing modes of abstraction and figuration. The presentation included a new series of large-scale paintings.
Mark Grotjahn, Untitled (Circus No. 2 Face 44.19), 2013 © Mark Grotjahn