R.H. Quaytman and Austrian artist Josef Strau

Vilma Gold is pleased to present an exhibition that will bring together for the first time the work of American artist R.H. Quaytman and Austrian artist Josef Strau.

Though working in differing mediums, R.H. Quaytman and Josef Strau’s work can be seen to share a mutually generative intersection of biography and temperament. Biographically both Quaytman and Strau developed their work and careers through close collaboration with other artists and both have run art spaces. Perhaps through these biographical crossovers, both artists appear to share similar concerns with how the textual qualities and references in their work can be documented and explored within the exhibition space.

Quaytman’s method of painting was developed outside of traditional gallery contexts, often showing her work in stairwells, basements and old factories. On one level, Quaytman’s paintings can be seen to function as illustrations, whether to reflect a particular exhibition site’s history or space, to illustrate what paintings do, illustrate what eyes do, or to illustrate the picture itself. As the title of the exhibition ‘iamb’ suggests there is evidence also of an interest in how text can become objectified, broken down and reconstructed to emphasize new meanings and confirm points of potency and stress; an interest she shares with Josef Strau.

In his work Strau emphasizes the primacy of his texts to his overall sculptural practice, using the exhibition space as a prelude to a later period of engagement, through piles of texts presented alongside his lamp sculptures that can be taken away so that perception of the exhibition object is delayed until a later time, or through ways of incorporating text in spatial situations, creating spaces that allow the viewer to experience the physicality of letters or words.

For this exhibition, the first gallery space takes its form from the internal shape of a hybrid letter, an amalgamation of both artist’s initials, RQ/JS. The walls of the freestanding structure that make up this ‘letter form’ have been used to hang various paintings and texts. Strau’s text works, operating as a kind of methodology of automatic voices, have here been printed onto posters and pinned to the walls so that the distinct shape of the space becomes another part of the text. A large painting by Quaytman, also hung from the wall, references a mezzotint by the 19th century British artist John Martin that was used as an illustration for John Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’. Quaytman’s ongoing interest in the ‘text-lessness of painting’ and how a work’s objectness can be challenged by an awareness and desire for contextuality is played out here both through the reference to Milton’s text and Martin’s illustration and the constructed nature of the space in which the work inhabits. The second gallery space houses a collection of new paintings displayed within a shelving structure. Here visitors can pull paintings from the shelves and hang or prop them on the wall. Some of paintings included here by Quaytman are directly inspired by the formal qualities of Strau’s work, using the imagery of a lamp as if to light the paintings from within.

R.H. Quaytman was born in 1961 in Boston, Massachusetts and lives and works in New York. Quaytman has participated in group shows including Gallery of Contemporary Art in Opole, Poland (2008), Sculpture Center, New York (2006) and P.S.1 Museum, New York (1997). Up until earlier this year Quaytman also co-ran Orchard, a cooperatively organized exhibition and event space in New York’s Lower East Side.

Josef Strau was born in 1957 in Vienna, Austria and lives and works in Berlin. In 2007 he had a solo show at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and has also participated in group shows at Maison populaire, Montreuil, (2008) Portikus, Frankfurt, (2006) White Columns, New York (2006) and Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2002). Strau initiated and ran the non-profit space Galerie Meerrettich in Berlin for many years and currently has a solo show at Malmö Konsthall, Malmö.

Vilma Gold



Perry Rubenstein Gallery is pleased to present Folded Thoughts, Danish artist Peter Callesen’s first solo exhibition in the U.S. The show features new paper-cutout sculptures and vitrines from 2008 and centers on the large-scale sculpture Human Ruin. Made entirely of paper this sculpture depicts the shadow of a figure whose outline is formed by the ruin of a temple like structure.

After working with snow, ink, and watercolor, Callesen has chosen paper as his primary medium that he transforms into whimsical, large-scale installations and meticulous paper cutouts. Through cutting and folding two-dimensional sheets of paper into fantastical, three-dimensional objects, Callesen transcends the humble nature of the medium, performing a sort of artist’s magic trick.

Callesen’s paper works and performances bring situations and stories to life that belong to the fantastic realm of fairy tales or children’s games and usually enter the everyday world only temporarily, if at all. In his tragic-comical performances Callesen has erected wooden castles on the water and in a park and inhabited them as a king or black swan. Using fictional characters as a basis for the exploration of public space, Callesen exposes hidden desires and gender clichés.

He often uses plain A-4 paper, a familiar and economical material, as a blank space from which any kind of vision or scene can arise. The blank sheet, the origin, the “empty stage” always stays visible. As such, the positive and negative space created by the cutting ties the extraordinary and fantastic to its material basis. The fragility of the perfect miniature sceneries heightens the impression of drama and tragedy, and of their fugitiveness. Yet, there is no nostalgia or resentment to be found in these dramas but rather, a very subtle sense of humor.

Peter Callesen was born in 1967 Denmark, and lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. Callesen graduated from Goldsmiths College, after studying at the Det Jyske Kunstakademi in Århus, the Århus Art School and Århus School of Architecture. He will have a comprehensive solo exhibition at the Museum for Religious Art in Lemvig, Denmark in 2009. He is also included in the group show, Socle du Monde at Herning Art Museum, Denmark (2008). Past exhibitions include: Dream Therapy at Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts New York, NY (2008) and Fairy Tale, Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds, England (2007).

Concurrently on view at the gallery’s 527 W 23rd Street space is Downburst, an exhibition of paintings by Daniel Rich.

Perry Rubenstein

ZEVS – Visual Attack

Zurich – 2 December 2008 – 22 February 2009

ZEVS – Visual Attack
ZEVS: Visual Attack (GAP), 2008
ZEVS: Visual Attack (GAP), 2008

de Pury & Luxembourg is proud to present their second show on international street art with “Visual Attack”, a solo exhibition by French artist ZEVS (b. 1977).

This show will introduce you to the artist’s world of poignant comments and site-specific interventions. ZEVS targets omnipresent corporate identities such as IBM, Coca Cola, Mc Donald’s and Louis Vuitton in his signature style manipulation that destabilises our indifference and total acceptance of their unquestioned representation in our subconscious.

The title of the exhibition derives from the artists “Visual Attacks” series, which began in the streets of Paris in 2000. By spraying blood red paint between the eyes of billboard models, ZEVS targets images that typically aim at the public. Taking great care to cover up the manipulation, the models look as if they have been shot between the eyes with blood running down their faces. ZEVS thus turns an every day advertisement into something terrifying that obliges the passer-by to look twice while leaving him in a state of doubt and alienation.

Another series, entitled “Visual Rapes”, focuses on legendary imagery of superstars, which the artist retouches to erase all facial features. By doing so ZEVS simulates the function of a human brain, which fills in information gaps with associations and memorised facts. Despite having lost their characteristics, these icons still obtain the same power of recognition and hence function like a brand logo.

The series of “Liquidated Logo” paintings stem from his outdoor interference with headquarters of corporate brands such as Nike, Mc Donald’s, IBM and Coca Cola which all fall victims to the artist’s signature style of liquidating brands by pouring colour down their logos. This form of estrangement leaves the most powerful economic signature brand look as if it is melting, entrapped in an optically disturbing pattern of straight lines that recall barcodes.

The redesign of the Louis Vuitton logo by neo-pop artist Takashi Murakami is another one of ZEVS’ objectives. Yet in this instant the history of the emblem is the focus as the LV logo derives from the ancient Leonardo da Vinci monogram, LDV. ZEVS’ redesign of a Louis Vuitton bag on which the LV logo has been replaced by a suspiciously similar looking LDV logo set in dialog with an LV wall paper and liquidated LV paintings, pinpoints the discourse of appropriation and originality and creates works of art that are simultaneously unsettling, ironic, humorous and fancy.

Despite ZEVS’ heavy critique on urban surroundings that are stodged with commercial adverts and restricted to adjusted behaviour, his work contains repulsion on the one hand but also a strong element of beauty and allure. Consistent with his critique on the obedience towards the commercialised cityscape, he also intervenes with the gallery space itself, tagging the walls, interfering with the architecture through his installations and use of light and thus creating urban scenery within a commercial art market place.
This Text in:

de Pury & Luxembourg

Degrees of Remove: FiIm Series, Landscape and Narrative

This screening series was developed in the context of the exhibition Degrees of Remove: Landscape and Affect at SculptureCenter, on view through November 30. Degrees of Remove suggests the contemporary experience of landscape as increasingly mediated through documentation in urban societies. The works on view explore the representation of spatial constructs through fiction and affect, revealing how artists transpose spaces onto surfaces through various degrees of allegorical remove. Curated by Sarina Basta, Fionn Meade, and Anthology Film Archives.

PROGRAM 2: Landscape and Narrative – Monday, November 17 at 7:30pm

Focused on varying degrees of narrative’s tenuous relationship with landscape – from a totally constructed fiction to a non-linguistic approach – this selection explores the underlying ways we perceive and articulate the representation of space.

Walter De Maria: Hardcore (1969, 28 minutes, 16mm). Courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Gift of Virginia Dwan.
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster: Atomic Park (2004, 9 minutes, DVD)
Amy Granat Ann Craven: Moon Shadow, Part 1 (2008, 9 minutes, 16mm)
Gianni Motti: The Messenger (2003, 3 minutes, DVD)
Rosa Barba: They Shine (2007, 5 minutes, 35mm. Voice: Matt Didemus.)
Luis Buñuel: Land Without Bread / Las Hurdes (1932, 28 minutes, 35mm)

Total running time: ca. 85 minutes.

PROGRAM 3: Special Focus on the Work of Michael Snow – Sunday, November 23 at 8:30pm

Reverberlin (2006, 55 minutes, video)
Featuring Paul Dutton, John Oswald and Michael Snow.

Using concert footage of CCMC, the free improvisational ensemble Snow co-founded in 1974, the filmmaker/musician digitally weaves together images and sounds from performances that have taken place across the globe. “I desired an equivalence of seeing and hearing so that one could actually listen, pay attention to the music, as well as follow the picture development,” Snow writes.

PROGRAM 4: Special Focus on the Work of Michael Snow – Monday and Tuesday, November 24 25 at 7:30pm

La Région Centrale (1971, 180 minutes, 16mm)

Made over the course of five days on a deserted mountaintop in North Quebec, the vertical and horizontal alignment as well as the tracking speed of Snow’s equipment was all determined by the camera’s settings. Anchored to a tripod, the camera turned a complete 360 degrees, craned itself skyward, and circled in all directions. Because of the unconventional camera movement, the result was more than merely a document of the film location’s landscape, as its themes became the cosmic relationships of space and time.

Sculpture Center