First American Museum Exhibition Devoted to Austrian Artist
NEW YORK (September 15, 2008)—On September 25, the Neue Galerie New York opens the exhibition “Alfred Kubin: Drawings, 1897-1909,” featuring more than 100 works on paper by the Austrian artist. This is the first major museum exhibition of his work ever held in the United States, and it focuses on his macabre early drawings, watercolors, and lithographs. It will be on view at the Neue Galerie through January 26, 2009. The exhibition is organized by Annegret Hoberg, curator of the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich.
The exhibition has generated considerable interest among scholars and in the press, with New York Magazine citing it as one of the exhibitions “you really cannot miss this fall.”
“Kubin plumbs the depths of the shadow world of the human subconscious, with its unguarded impulses and fears,” said Renée Price, Director of the Neue Galerie. “His drawings have the evanescence and the frightening clarity of our darkest dreams.”
Though a contemporary of artist Gustav Klimt and designer Josef Hoffmann, Alfred Kubin (1877-1959) eschewed the decorative impulses found in their work. Instead, inspired by the art of Francisco Goya, Félicien Rops, Max Klinger, James Ensor, and Edvard Munch, Kubin produced hallucinatory visions of violence and eroticism. Literature served as an inspiration as well, and Kubin illustrated masterpieces by Edgar Allan Poe, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Nikolai Gogol. Illustrations from Kubin’s bizarre 1908 novel The Other Side will be included in the exhibition.
The artist’s entire iconography points to his traumatic experiences as a child and youth. Having witnessed his mother’s death at the age of 11, he became obsessed with death and dying, in particular murder and suicide. He suffered from acute anxiety and sexual paranoia, and his drawings show the influence of those maladies.
The fully illustrated catalogue accompanying the exhibition is the definitive English-language monograph on the artist to date. Published by Prestel, it includes plates of all the works in the exhibition, as well as essays by Annegret Hoberg, Peter Assmann, Klaus Albrecht Schröder, Andreas Geyer, Werner Hofmann, and Olaf Peters.
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