At the Edge of the World
“I think of colour as a material.”
Meet American painter Dana Schutz and her fascinating universe of paintings in between abstraction and the concrete. Read more …
“When I was younger, I used to feel very hesitant to use the word expressionistic. But today, I would say the paintings are probably pretty expressionistic. And I don’t mean that their gestures are so much about me, but I feel like they are meant to express an idea, a feeling or just a way of being in the world.”
“A lot of times, a painting is about problems. I think that’s an interesting way to begin a painting – something that is either difficult to depict or the painting is itself talking about a problem. I don’t see that the painting offers a solution, but it’s a place where these problems can play out.”
“I feel like the paintings can sometimes be like people. You can have this exchange with them. I would never assume what a viewer should think or take away. I don’t have this clear sense of audience when I am painting. I just hope they can have their own sense of reality.”
Dana Schutz was born in 1976 in Livonia, Michigan. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Cleveland Institute of Art, Ohio and her Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University, New York. Schutz is known for formally inventive canvases that combine figuration and abstraction to construct complex visual narratives, often depicting figures in seemingly impossible, enigmatic, or invented situations. Her expressive canvases convey emotions and psychological states of mind that reveal the complications, tensions, and ambiguities of contemporary life.
In February 2023, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark, opened “Between Us” – a major solo exhibition of Schutz’s work that subsequently will travel on to Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris. Previous solo museum exhibitions of Schutz’s work include “Eating Atom Bombs” held at the Transformer Station, Cleveland, Ohio (2018), which debuted a series of paintings by the artist; an exhibition of new work at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2017); a career survey at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2015); and a comprehensive solo exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield, England (2013), that travelled to the Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover, Germany (2014).
The artist’s work has been the subject of additional solo presentations at institutions worldwide, among them the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver (2012); Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Georgia (2011); Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2010); and Museo d’arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Italy (2010). In 2006, the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, presented Dana Schutz: Paintings 2002–2005 which, later that same year, travelled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Ohio. The artist’s first solo museum presentation was held in 2004 at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Johnson Community College, Overland Park, Kansas.
Dana Schutz was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at her studio in Brooklyn, New York. The conversation was recorded in September 2022.
Camera: Sean Hanley
Edited by: Jarl Therkelsen Kaldan
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2023
Louisiana Channel is supported by Den A.P. Møllerske Støttefond, Ny Carlsbergfondet, C.L. Davids Fond og Samling and Fritz Hansen.
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