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David Zwirner London presents Francis Al˙s - Ciudad Juárez projects

Archive | Information & News

11 June 2016 to 5 Aug 2016

David Zwirner London
24 Grafton Street
United Kingdom
T: +44 203 538 3165
F: +44 207 409 3075

Richard Hamilton, Ashtray, 1979.
Enamel paint on yellow glass, 6 x 5 3/8 x 1 3/8 inches (15.3 x 13.5 x 3.3 cm).
© Estate of Richard Hamilton

Artists in this exhibition: Francis Al˙s

Richard Hamilton Cadaqués

April 8 - May 28, 2016

Private view: Thursday, 7 April, 6 – 8 PM
Press preview with Huc Malla i Figueras, Ashley Heath, and Rodolphe von Hofmannsthal, Director at David Zwirner: 10 AM

David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of works by Richard Hamilton on view at THE UPPER ROOM at the gallery’s London location. Widely regarded as one of the most influential British artists of the twentieth century, Hamilton worked across a diverse array of media and styles over the course of his six-decade career to create a singular oeuvre that, while formally disparate, remained conceptually consistent in its sustained interrogation of modernity and everyday life. This exhibition brings together a group of rarely seen works made by Hamilton in Cadaqués, Spain, an important site of production for the artist.  

Hamilton was first invited to Cadaqués in 1963 by Marcel Duchamp, with whom he had a correspondence since the late 1950s. Located on the Costa Brava in Northeastern Spain, not far from the French border, Cadaqués was known as a favoured destination for artists like Duchamp, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, and Pablo Picasso. Hamilton too began to return to Cadaqués frequently, eventually buying a residence there himself. When in 1973 the architect Lanfranco Bombelli opened the aptly named Galería Cadaqués, Hamilton became one of his earliest and most enthusiastic collaborators. Bombelli’s gallery remained active until 1997, focusing on Pop, conceptual art, and concretism, and featuring exhibitions by many of the most influential artists of the period including Duchamp, Joseph Beuys, Max Bill, John Cage, Jasper Johns, and Marcel Broodthaers, among others. Hamilton exhibited at the Galería Cadaqués more than a dozen times, including two seminal collaborations with Dieter Roth in 1976 and 1978.  

Included in the exhibition are a group of works made in Cadaqués that appropriate the iconic logo of Ricard, an aniseed liqueur especially popular along the northern coast of the Mediterranean. Commercial advertisements comprised a rich source of imagery for Hamilton, and logos proved particularly generative. Executed in bold, primary colours, the seemingly ubiquitous Ricard logo appeared on carafes, ashtrays, print ads, and enamel signs. In Hamilton’s versions, he has left the logo fully intact, except for the sly insertion of an “H” between the “A” and the “C,” thus changing “Ricard” to “Richard,” his own first name. Applied to facsimiles of the same signs and vessels on which the original logo could typically be found, these works rewarded only the most observant viewer with their clever commentary. Hamilton arranged for the full production of Sign (1975), Carafe (1978), and Ashtray (1979), presenting his own nuanced take on the Readymade that implicitly incorporated indications of commercialism and production, in contrast to Duchamp who merely altered existing objects to make his “assisted” Readymades. On the occasion of the debut of the first enamel signs from this group in a single-day exhibition at the Galería Cadaqués in 1975, Paul Ricard, the proprietor of the eponymous liqueur, arranged for actual Ricard signs to be interspersed with Hamilton’s variations. In addition, visitors were provided with aperitifs and tapas, distributed from a van bearing the Ricard logo parked outside of the gallery, creating the impression of a cocktail party rather than an art opening. Likewise, Hamilton installed several signs in the local bar, underscoring the work’s surreptitious function as an advertisement for himself.  

Also presented here will be several works that reference Cadaqués more directly. Comprising nine unique lithographs, Sunrise – progressives (1974) belongs to a group of prints and drawings that derive from a postcard of Cadaqués featuring the city’s cathedral, which has been humorously replaced with scatological imagery in an irreverent nod to Carl Jung. This surrealist gesture is distinctively appropriate to Cadaqués and, in particular, two of its most famous artist-denizens: Dalí and Duchamp, both important touchstones for Hamilton. Never before exhibited outside of Spain, this work brings together several important lines of enquiry central to Hamilton’s practice and highlights his ongoing interrogation of mechanical reproduction and mass mediated imagery. Presenting a set of progressives, or colour separated test prints, as a finished artwork was a favoured tactic in this regard and one to which Hamilton returned on multiple occasions. Accordingly, this singular group of lithographs functions as an index of his process, and subverts traditional aesthetic conventions by laying bare the usually hidden mechanisms of printmaking. The bright, primary and secondary colours that result from the separations recall Hamilton’s Pop tendencies established early in his career. Likewise, the pastel drawing Sunset (f) (1975) makes use of the same source image and was executed as a preparatory study for a subsequent print edition, as well as a painting.  

Commercially circulated imagery is employed as a Readymade in many of Hamilton’s works made in Cadaqués, such as the drawing Flower-piece study (a) (1971)—Hamilton’s take on a still life, copied from a three-dimensional postcard. Similarly, the cathedral, located near to Hamilton’s home, figured prominently in this regard. For example, in the 1980 collage Altar Piece, executed as an announcement for the forthcoming X Cadaqués Music Festival, Hamilton utilizes both photography and painting to reconstruct the cathedral’s gilded interior, inserting a small coterie of musicians on the pulpit.    

This is the first exhibition of Hamilton’s work at David Zwirner.

For all press enquiries and to RSVP to the 7 April press preview, contact
Victoria Cooke +44 (0)20 3538 3165


R. Crumb Art & Beauty

April 15 - June 2, 2016
Private view: Thursday, April 14, 6 – 8 PM
Press preview with Paul Morris and Lucas Zwirner, Editor at David Zwirner Books: 5 PM

David Zwirner is pleased to present R. Crumb’s inaugural exhibition at the gallery in London, featuring drawings from his Art & Beauty magazines. Initially published in 1996, the artist recently completed the highly anticipated third volume in the series, and the show marks the largest presentation of the project to date. This is his first solo exhibition in Britain following his 2005 presentation at Whitechapel Gallery.  

One of today’s most celebrated illustrators, Crumb helped define the cartoon and punk subcultures of the 1960s and 1970s with comic strips like Fritz the CatMr. Natural, and Keep on Truckin’. The overt eroticism of his work paired with frequent self-deprecation and a free, almost stream-of-consciousness style have solidified his position as a renowned and influential artist, whose work addresses the absurdity of social conventions and political disillusionment.  

Combining iconography from comic books, art history, and popular culture, Art & Beauty portrays a broad selection of images of female figures in diverse settings. The inspiration for the series is linked to Crumb’s avid collecting of vintage underground paraphernalia including records, flipbooks, and specifically, Art & Beauty, a catalogue published during the 1920s and 1930s featuring semi-erotic images of life models for art lovers and aspiring painters—an early example of a top-shelf magazine.  

Following a similar format as the older publication, Crumb has selected his own cast of female figures from tabloid celebrities, sport stars, life models, friends, and strangers, and accompanied them with journalistic-style commentary and quotations from other artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Paul Cézanne, and Andy Warhol. The poetic, even philosophical, prose mirrors the romanticized language of the former magazine, but becomes tinged with a subtle sarcasm and self-mockery that destabilizes the relationship between image and caption. Crumb humorously lets his own obsessions and fantasies merge with cultural stereotypes and bigotries from the past and present to create an at once personal and exaggerated typology of women.  

In the works from the latest volume, presented here for the first time, Crumb continues to investigate the intersection of art and beauty through drawings based on photographs from magazines, life studies, and in a departure from the earlier issues, camera phone snapshots from city streets and selfies purportedly emailed to the artist. Women close to the artist are prominently featured, including his wife Aline Kominsky-Crumb and Eden Brower of Eden and John’s East River String Band, a group Crumb often performs with, as are household names such as the tennis player Serena Williams and reality television personality Coco.  

On the occasion of the exhibition, David Zwirner Books will publish all three volumes of R. Crumb: Art & Beauty in one book—including the artist’s new work for the magazine’s third issue. With a foreword written by Paul Morris, longtime gallerist and supporter of Crumb’s practice, and a cover specifically designed by the artist for its release, Art & Beauty Magazine: Drawings by R. Crumb guides the reader through the twenty-year history of Crumb’s magazine, from the earliest images of the 1990s to the most recent drawings completed in 2016. A limited edition of 400 copies with a signed bookplate will be published.    

Born in Philadelphia in 1943, R. Crumb moved to the dynamic Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco in 1967, and relocated in 1991 to the south of France where he currently lives and works. He has used the popular medium of the comic book to address the absurdity of social conventions, political disillusionment, irony, racial and gender stereotypes, sexual fantasies, and fetishes. Inspired by Thomas Nast, Honoré Daumier, T.S. Sullivant, James Gillray, amongst others, his drawings offer a satirical critique of modern consumer culture, and often seem to possess an outsider’s perspective—a self-conscious stance which Crumb often relates to his personal life.  

In 2006, the artist joined David Zwirner, where he has had two solo exhibitions. The artist’s 2010 gallery show, The Bible Illuminated: R. Crumb’s Book of Genesis, presented 207 individual black-and-white drawings from his now landmark The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb. Published by W.W. Norton in October 2009, the book chronicles all fifty chapters of Genesis in a tapestry of detail and storytelling, rendered frame by frame in meticulous comic-book fashion. The momentous project received instant critical acclaim, topping many bestseller lists, including #1 on the New York Times Graphic Books list. Over 200,000 copies have been printed worldwide, and translation rights have been sold to fifteen countries, with published translations currently in circulation in French, German, and Italian. The exhibition was previously on view at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, in 2009, before traveling to the Portland Art Museum, Oregon; Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio; Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine; and the San Jose Museum of Art, California. In 2013, it was presented as part of the 55th Venice Biennale, curated by Massimiliano Gioni.  

A retrospective of Crumb’s work was held in 2012 at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. In 2011, his work was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators, New York. A major solo show devoted to Crumb’s work was organized by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, in 2007, and traveled from 2008 to 2009 to the Frye Art Museum, Seattle; Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston; and the Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana, California. Other recent one-person exhibitions include the Whitechapel Gallery, London, a show which to traveled the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (both 2005), and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2004). The artist was the subject of a lauded documentary by Terry Zwigoff. Crumb was named the best film of 1994 by the late critic Gene Siskel and won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 1995.  

Work by the artist is represented in major museum collections worldwide, including the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York.    

Paul Morris is a private art dealer specializing in post-war and contemporary art. He has held positions at various institutions, including the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and The Armory Show, New York, and was the owner and director of Paul Morris Gallery from 1995 to 2007. He is a longtime friend and supporter of Robert Crumb’s.    

For all press enquiries and to RSVP to the 14 April press preview, contact
Victoria Cooke +44 (0)20 3538 3165

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