On the heals of Joseph La Piana: Tension Sculptures, The Fund for Park Avenue and New York City Parks announced its latest installation along the Park Avenue Mall from 50th to 57th Street. The commissioned work by artist Alex Katz (b. 1972) will include seven large-scale works, each work an iteration of Park Avenue Departure.
Katz began producing cut-outs in 1959. Depicting characters from New York’s cultural coterie, the works move beyond representation, acting as vehicles for the artist’s lifelong exploration into formal arrangement and the complexities of surface. The Park Avenue presentation adds a third dimension: the works shift in their composition according to the sightlines of the viewer. The repetition of the sculpture—which depicts the back of a figure such as an anonymous pedestrian would be seen from behind whilst walking the street—is akin to optical illusion, compelling viewers to double-take.
Over a seven-decade career, Katz has investigated perception via the depiction of the human figure. His works, characterized by vibrant color and a flat, clean aesthetic, recall both the graphic language of advertising and the scale and power of Abstract Expressionism. Katz has been the subject of over 200 solo exhibitions and nearly 500 group shows internationally and has had retrospectives at institutions such as The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; The Jewish Museum, New York; The Saatchi Gallery, London; Tate St. Ives, UK; Turner Contemporary, UK; Albertina Museum, Vienna; and The Guggenheim, Bilbao, and The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.
Here in New York, Alex Katz has been a regularly featured artist at Gavin Brown’s enterprise at all locations from 2011 to his current solo exhibition in Harlem, on view to August 3 2019. He has been living and working in his SoHo loft since 1968.
Kasmin’s long-standing dedication to the presentation of large-scale sculpture has led to the facilitation of public art projects across New York and internationally, with recent examples including: Bosco Sodi’s Muro in Washington Square Park, New York (2017), Les Lalanne’s Sheep Station in Chelsea, New York (2013), and Mark Ryden’s Dodecahedron at PMQ Gardens, Hong Kong (2018). Previous collaborations with The Sculpture Committee of The Fund for Park Avenue include exhibitions of large-scale sculpture by Will Ryman (2011) and Les Lalanne (2009).
For over 50 years, NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program has brought contemporary public artworks to the city’s parks, making New York City one of the world’s largest open-air galleries. The agency has consistently fostered the creation and installation of temporary public art in parks throughout the five boroughs. Since 1967, NYC Parks has collaborated with arts organizations and artists to produce over 2,000 public artworks by 1,300 notable and emerging artists in over 200 parks. www.nyc.gov/parks/art.
Alex Katz: Park Avenue Departure will be on view from August 26 to November 10, 2019, presented by The Fund for Park Avenue, New York Parks’ Art in the Park, in collaboration with Lococo Fine Art Publisher and Kasmin Gallery.
While you’re there, check out the Lever House Summer Installation, on view to September 30th, 2019 on the corner of Park Avenue at 54th Street. Stop in at St. Peter’s Church (corner of 54th Street and Lexington Avenue) to view progress on The Nevelson Chapel, and the Public Art Fund’s Mark Manders: Tilted Head on Fifth Avenue at 59th Street on view to September 1, 2019.