Invitation to the Voyage
September 10 - October 8, 2011
"Invitation to the Voyage," titled after Baudelaire's whimsically hopeful poem, strikes out as an attempt to establish historical precedent for a number of figurative works rendered by artists working today. The exhibition takes advantage of the tremendous resources—i.e., the abundance of more antiquated work—shuttered away and often forgotten in galleries and collections from the Upper East Side to Northern New England.
In the present, we tend to conceive of abstraction as a quintessential mode of Modern Art, but it is this attitude that overshadows the resonance of Romantic and Symbolist practices of the 19th Century heading onto more expressive works of the early 20th that a group of talented young artists have found compelling and drawn on of late. For example, a watercolor sketch of rock-tragedy Pete Doherty by Elizabeth Peyton finds a perfect home juxtaposed with a portrait of a youth by Edward Burne-Jones while a small sketch by Kai Althoff recalls the influence of Schiele or Feininger's comic sensibility.
Above all else, the show is slapsticky and visually engaging in the way few contemporary shows are, emphasizing as they do the conceptual frameworks in which artists and curators function. The concepts are indisputably present but the images are also wonderful to look at.
Invitation to the Voyage features Kai Althoff, Austé, Daniel Burkhart, Rodolphe Bresdin, Edward Burne-Jones, Judith Bernstein, Julia Margaret Cameron, Dan Colen, F. Holland Day, Robert Demachy, Louis Eilshemius, Emile Fabry, Agustin Fernandez, Circle of Henry Fuseli, E'wao Kagoshima, Max Klinger, Jutta Koether, Ottokar Landwehr, Louis Legrand, John Martin, Danny McDonald, George Minne, Carlo Mollino, Gustave Moreau, Paul P., Elizabeth Peyton, Émile Constant Puyo, Odilon Redon, Felicien Rops, Fumi Sasabuchi, Anita Steckel, Florine Stettheimer, Emily Sundblad, Betty Tompkins, Iris Van Dongen, Jean-Luc Verna, David Wojnarowicz, and Katherina Wulff.
All images courtesy Algus Greenspon, New York
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