Press release

ALEX KATZ
16 March - 15 July 2000

From May 16 to July 15, 2000 Monica De Cardenas shows new work by Alex Katz: the two large paintings Harbor 1 and Harbor 2 and fourteen small oil paintings on board.

A catalogue is available at the gallery.

Known mainly for his portraits, recently Alex Katz has become increasingly involved with landscape and, since last year, with seascapes. At times he portrays the reflections of light on water, at others the bay and beach with boats and bathers, tiny in the immensity of nature between the sky and the sea. In his review of Katz's last show in New York in 1999, Barry Schwabsky writes in Artforum (January 2000), "Right now, no one's paintings surpass

Alex Katz's vast expansive landscapes".

The figuration of Alex Katz is essential and intense. Partly due to his awareness of mass media, cartoons, and photography he is today particularly close in feeling to many far younger artists. His first steps in the American art world were at the end of the 50s, the years of Abstract Expressionism, and at the same time as Pop Art and its derivatives arrived on the scene. Perhaps surprisingly, Katz has managed to reconcile the abstraction and the realism of postwar American art in a style he himself defines as "totally American". His images are elementary, luminous, direct and sharp, expressed through intense planes of color. They are rendered through a highly personal two-dimensional perspective and, while lacking any kind of sentimental connotation, communicate a profound psychological resonance.

Alex Katz was born in New York City in 1927 where he studied painting. After his first solo show at Roko Gallery in New York he concentrated on drawing and collages until, in 1957, he began working on portraits. With his move to his new Soho studio in 1962 he began to work in large scale. In 1971 he had his first retrospective exhibition at the Utah Museum of Fine Art. He was to show regularly in various galleries, amongst which Marlborough and the Robert Miller Gallery, as well as in the major American museums. In 1986 the Whitney Museum of American Art mounted a large itinerant retrospective show of his work and, in 1997, PS1 in New York organized the exhibition "Alex Katz Under the Stars: American Landscapes 1951-1995". Even though he is one of the most important American painters, Alex Katz showed little in Europe until 1994, perhaps as a result of his stylistic independence. Europe has begun to "discover" him during the last years. In 1995 the Kunstmuseum Baden-Baden Germany mounted the show "Alex Katz: American Landscapes" and in 1996 the Museum IVAM in Valencia presented a retrospective exhibition. In January 1998 the Saatchi Gallery in London and in June 1999 the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt put on solo shows of his work. In November 1999 through January 2000 the Galleria Civica of Trento mounted his first Museum show in Italy accompanied by a large monograph.

Texts

Alex Katz