Painting the spirit of time

October 4, 2022
37

Museums celebrate Alex Katz

The artist is now exhibiting at the Mart in Rovereto, Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid and Guggenheim in New York

In 1987, when the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto (MART) in Rovereto opened, Alex Katz was simultaneously receiving the Mary Buckley Award for Achievement from the Pratt institute in New York and the Award for Lifetime Achievement from Queens Museum. Thirty-five years after the opening of the Trentino museum and 20 years since the last Italian exhibition of the American master who was born in New York in 1927, the MART is dedicating a retrospective to him entitled “La Vita Dolce,” curated by Denis Isaia and Vittorio Sgarbi. Some 250 solo exhibitions and 500 group shows have been dedicated to him over the course of his 70-year, award- winning artistic career; in addition to the Italian one, another major exhibition is underway, where his work is analyzed retrospectively and comprehensively for the first time in Madrid, until Sept. 11, at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza. Katz will be the protagonist of a momentous show in his native New York, at the Guggenheim Museum in August.

THE PORTRAITS HIGHLIGHT HIS ATTUNEMENT WITH THE ZEITGEIST,
WHICH TRANSLATES INTO ATTENTION TO CLOTHES, ACCESSORIES, AND HAIRSTYLES

In the Spanish capital, the exhibition curated by the museum’s artistic director brings together more than 30 paintings selected personally by Katz. At the MART, 40 large-format paintings from the 1990s to the present unravel a path through his oeuvre of the last three decades, in which one can see his famous portraits, landscapes of his beloved New York and his equally beloved Maine, and dwell on a very rare nude and a drawing. 2 videos complete the itinerary, including an excerpt from a film made by director Ranuccio Sodi for television but never broadcast. The curators’ exhibition choices are aimed at helping visitors to identify the various stylistic connotations, from Expressionist to Minimalist; from cinematic framing to those thematic-chromatic qualities that made him elected precursor of pop art.

THE CHARACTERS' GLANCES ARE
COMMUNICATIVE AND MYSTERIOUS AT THE SAME TIME

The portraits highlight the artist’s attention to the zeitgeist, which also translates into an analytical attention to fashion, exemplified in his care for clothes, accessories and hairstyles, all overlaid by the focal point to which he directs the visitor’s gaze, namely the gazes of the characters depicted, communicative and mysterious at the same time. Characters and landscapes cast in an imperturbable, ideal, suspended time, freed from the frenzy and complexity of the real world.

 

ALEX KATZ

Rovereto, Mart. Curated by Denis Isaia, from an idea by Vittorio Sgarbi. Until the 18/09.

Madrid, Thyssen-Bornemisza. Curated by di Guillermo Solana. Until the 11/09.

New York, Guggenheim. Curated by di Katherine Brinson. 21/10-20/02/23.

The Author

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