Stratification: An Installation of Works since 1960

, Busch-Reisinger Museum
  • Stratification 21a

    Stratification 21a

  • Endless Surface in the Form of a Column

    Endless Surface in the Form of a Column

  • Zuhockung II

    Zuhockung II

  • Basic Research

    Basic Research

  • Weekend III, from the portfolio

    Weekend III, from the portfolio "Weekend"

  • 15 Serial Rows of Equal Amounts of Color with Bright Emphasis

    15 Serial Rows of Equal Amounts of Color with Bright Emphasis

  • Untitled (Abstract Red Transparent Picture with Arrow Pointing Upward)

    Untitled (Abstract Red Transparent Picture with Arrow Pointing Upward)

  • Untitled

    Untitled

  • Untitled

    Untitled

    The canvas has several layers of white gesso, each of which is sanded to achieve a smooth ground. The artist applies the gesso ground around the outer edges of the stretcher, so that the painted surface appears to be floating on a smooth white porcelain block. He applies color in thin layers of glaze, like so many veils. As many as 40 layers of glaze are built up over a period of several weeks. Laying down even, continuous brushstrokes in alternating layers of vertical and horizontal orientations, he creates a subtle grid pattern. The artist often applies one or more colors in addition to blue -- in this case, 6-8 layers of cinnabar green at different depths (traces of which can be seen around the edges of the painting). Layers of ultramarine in combination with royal blue (a mixture of ultramarine and titanium white) make the other colors vibrate, acting "as a catalyst to bring the involved colors into spacious movement on the top of the surface." (See artist's statement in object file.) The surface texture is purely the result of brushwork, which creates a structural discipline that interacts with the expansive dematerialized sensuality of blue.

  • Untitled

    Untitled

  • Hands (The Mediation between Above and Below)

    Hands (The Mediation between Above and Below)

    The pre-printed pattern of the paper support is an "elephant skin pattern."

  • Said

    Said

  • Untitled (Palms)

    Untitled (Palms)

  • Untitled

    Untitled

    A second piece of paper (it appears to be plain paper) is adhered to the reverse of this drawing. A further third strip of printed paper (a collage element) is mounted to the center of the verso. (CS, 7/05)

  • Triangle

    Triangle

  • Stratification 21a
  • Endless Surface in the Form of a Column
  • Zuhockung II
  • Basic Research
  • Weekend III, from the portfolio
  • 15 Serial Rows of Equal Amounts of Color with Bright Emphasis
  • Untitled (Abstract Red Transparent Picture with Arrow Pointing Upward)
  • Untitled
  • Untitled
  • Untitled
  • Hands (The Mediation between Above and Below)
  • Said
  • Untitled (Palms)
  • Untitled
  • Triangle
Busch-Reisinger Museum

Borrowing its title from one of the exhibited works, Stratification concentrates on seven key pieces from the Busch-Reisinger Museum’s collection of contemporary art from German-speaking Europe. The installation’s theme, layers, explores relationships among objects that span several decades and incorporate a range of approaches to art making. From smooth, overlaid coats of color to dense accretions of paint to stacked, repeated forms, each work employs a different mode of layering in its structure, application of materials, and overall physical process of formation. The varied uses of stratification in these pieces not only contribute to the overall aesthetic effect of each work but also signal more theoretical issues about surfaces, stability, artistic principles, and the act of creation.

The installation features paintings by Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Georg Baselitz, Rudolf de Crignis, and Richard Paul Lohse as well as sculptures by Max Bill and Thomas Lenk. Two sequential selections of drawings, prints, and photographs further develop the overarching theme: the first (September 17–November 30, 2005) focuses on Polke’s multilayered experiments with different motifs, media, and techniques, and the second (December 3, 2005–February 26, 2006) examines layering through the photographic manipulations of Gerhard Richter, Isa Genzken, and Valie Export. Organized by Celka Straughn, 2004–06 Stefan Engelhorn Curatorial Intern at the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and PhD candidate in Art History at the University of Chicago. A brochure accompanies this exhibition.