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Past Exhibitions

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White Roses 9, 2012

Alex Katz, This Is Now

June 21–September 6, 2015

Alex Katz, This Is Now explores the development of landscape in Katz’s career, from a seminal subject in his earliest work to its prominence in Katz’s art of the last twenty-five years.

Click on an image below to learn more.

Overview

Alex Katz emerged in the 1950s as a figurative painter in an age of abstraction, challenging critics who shunned imagery in art, especially the figure. While rejecting Abstract Expressionism’s abandonment of imagery, Katz embraced its energy and formal logic. Although best known for his portraits, Katz has painted landscapes both inside the studio and in the out-of-doors since the beginning of his career.

Katz described his goal as the pursuit of capturing “quick things passing” in his work. Katz’s monumental landscape paintings are executed in what is now considered a signature style characterized by flattened planes of color, shallow pictorial space, and lean, reductive but acutely descriptive lines. In them, Katz seeks to convey the appearance of things as they are both felt and perceived in the “present tense,” the now.

Alex Katz

Alex Katz (born Brooklyn, 1927) is a painter whose work is both securely fixed in the canon of postwar American art and in the vanguard of painting today. In 1949, Katz was awarded a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine. There, he began painting outdoors under the great open sky. He later said that this practice gave him “a reason to devote [his] life to painting.”

Over the subsequent decades, Katz frequently revisited motifs from the landscape of his beloved Maine. In the fall, winter, and spring months, he turned his eye to the outdoors of Manhattan, creating monumental paintings of Central Park and Madison Square Park. Katz’s most frequent subject is his wife, Ada, whose distinctive visage appears in several scenes of Central Park in winter.

Organization and Support

This exhibition is organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta in collaboration with the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Support for this exhibition is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Margaret and Terry Stent, Barbara and Sanford Orkin, Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot, Richard Gray Gallery, Karen Schwartz and John Paddock, Paula and Peter Lunder, Judy and Arnie Rubenstein, and Diane Wisebram and Edward Jewell.

In-kind support for the exhibition catalogue is provided by UPS.

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