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520 West 25th Street
New York, NY 10001
212 680 9467

Also at:
35 East 67th Street, Parlor Floor
New York, NY 10065
212 680 9467
Friedrich Petzel Gallery, founded in 1994, first opened on Wooster Street in the Soho area of New York City. In 2000, the gallery moved to 537 West 22nd Street in Chelsea and in 2006 expanded to include a separate space next door dedicated to smaller exhibitions, artists' projects, and performances. In Fall 2008, Friedrich Petzel Gallery opened a joint gallery with Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne. This new gallery, called Capitain Petzel, is housed in a glass-encased gallery located in Mitte section of Berlin and presents exhibitions of established international artists. After eleven years on 22nd Street, Petzel Gallery closed this space, expanding into a new location at 456 West 18th Street in 2012. In March of 2015, Petzel opened a second space in New York, a new, uptown location at 35 East 67th Street. Situated in a townhouse, the new gallery is used to curate historic exhibitions by artists within the Petzel program, as well as focus on curatorial projects and publishing activities. Both galleries in New York are complemented by Capitain Petzel in Berlin. The move to the new, larger 18th Street location and expansion uptown continue Petzel Gallery’s commitment to develop its program upon the scope, diversity, and ambitions of the artists that it represents.

Petzel is pleased to announce its move to a new flagship location in Chelsea, located at 520 West 25th Street. Opening Fall 2022, the move will offer a major expansion, more than doubling the gallery’s footprint. Adding increased visibility and further flexibility for in-person viewings, the three-story building will feature three exhibition spaces, and encompass a custom-built street-level bookstore, multiple private viewing rooms, and a roof terrace with sculpture garden. Petzel looks forward to the greater level of exhibition planning and enhanced opportunities to support our artists that the expansion will allow for. 

Friedrich Petzel Gallery has continued to develop its program around a group of contemporary artists who are renowned internationally: Yael Bartana, Walead Beshty, Ross Bleckner, Cosima von Bonin, Joe Bradley, Troy Brauntuch, Hanne Darboven, Simon Denny, Keith Edmier, Thomas Eggerer, Derek Fordjour, Robert Heinecken, Stefanie Heinze, Georg Herold, Charline von Heyl, Dana Hoey, Christian Jankowski, Asger Jorn, Sean Landers, Rezi van Lankveld, Maria Lassnig, Allan McCollum, Adam McEwen, Rodney McMillian, Sarah Morris, Jorge Pardo, Joyce Pensato, Seth Price, Stephen Prina, Jon Pylypchuk, Willem de Rooij, Pieter Schoolwerth, Dirk Skreber, Emily Mae Smith, John Stezaker, Hiroki Tsukuda, Nicola Tyson, Corinne Wasmuht, Xie Nanxing, Samson Young, and Heimo Zobernig. Each artist has exhibited widely in both museums and galleries throughout the world and are regularly included in international exhibitions such as Documenta, the Whitney Biennial, The Carnegie International, and the São Paulo Biennial. Numerous publications are available on all the gallery artists.
Artists Represented:
Yael Bartana
Walead Beshty
Ross Bleckner
Cosima von Bonin
Joe Bradley
Troy Brauntuch
Hanne Darboven
Simon Denny
Keith Edmier
Thomas Eggerer
Derek Fordjour
Robert Heinecken
Stefanie Heinze
Georg Herold
Charline von Heyl
Dana Hoey
Christian Jankowski
Asger Jorn
Sean Landers
Rezi van Lankveld
Maria Lassnig
Allan McCollum
Adam McEwen
Rodney McMillian
Sarah Morris
Jorge Pardo
Joyce Pensato
Seth Price
Stephen Prina
Jon Pylypchuk
Willem de Rooij
Pieter Schoolwerth
Dirk Skreber
Emily Mae Smith
John Stezaker
Hiroki Tsukuda
Nicola Tyson
Corinne Wasmuht
Xie Nanxing
Samson Young
Heimo Zobernig


35 East 67th Street, interior view
520 West 25th Street, exterior view
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Past Exhibitions

Ross Bleckner


January 18, 2024 - March 9, 2024
Petzel is pleased to present Mashber, a selection of new paintings by New York-based artist Ross Bleckner. The show marks Bleckner’s third solo exhibition with the gallery, and will be on view from January 18 to March 9, 2024, at Petzel’s Chelsea location at 520 West 25th Street. Using floral motifs, modes of erasure, and abstract landscapes derived from brain scans, Bleckner stages a range of emotional allegories through stylistic, iconographic, and painterly conditions central to the artist’s practice.

Raphaela Vogel

In the Expanded Penalty Box: Did You Happen to See the Most Beautiful Fox?

January 11, 2024 - February 17, 2024
Petzel is pleased to present In the Expanded Penalty Box: Did You Happen to See the Most Beautiful Fox?, an interdisciplinary exhibition of new works by Berlin-based artist Raphaela Vogel, in which she unfolds her enigmatic form repertoire beyond aesthetic orthodoxies. The show marks Vogel’s first exhibition with the gallery, as well as her first solo exhibition in the US, and will be on view from January 11 to February 17, 2024, at Petzel’s Chelsea location at 520 West 25th Street.

Time Travel: Italian Masters through a Contemporary Lens

January 10, 2024 - February 10, 2024
“Time Travel: Italian Masters through a Contemporary Lens continues at Petzel, on view from January 10th, 2024 through February 10th, 2024, at the gallery’s Upper East Side location, 35 East 67th Street. In partnership with the London-based DYS 44 Lampronti Gallery, this second iteration of Time Travel will feature a new installation of exemplary works from the 16th to the 19th century, exhibited on the gallery’s parlor floor.”

Isabella Ducrot

No Words

January 10, 2024 - February 17, 2024
Petzel is pleased to present No Words, an exhibition of new works on paper by Rome-based artist Isabella Ducrot. The show marks Ducrot’s debut solo exhibition with the gallery and will be on view from January 10th to February 17th, 2024, at Petzel’s third floor Upper East Side location at 35 East 67th Street. These works, an extension of her “Flowerpot” and “Tendernesses” series, continue to develop integral threads through Ducrot’s practice: a reverence for sensuality and touch, a sense of respect for textiles and paper, and an obsession with repetition and the quotidian.

Derek Fordjour


November 10, 2023 - December 22, 2023
Petzel is pleased to present SCORE, an interdisciplinary exhibition of new works by New York-based artist Derek Fordjour. The show marks Fordjour’s second exhibition with the gallery and will be on view from November 10th to December 22nd, 2023, at Petzel’s Chelsea location at 520 West 25th Street. SCORE, the multivalent title of Derek Fordjour’s sprawling new three-room exhibition, encapsulates several layers of meaning: to cut and scrape–a reference to his distinctive process of excavation in painting; to gain points in a competitive contest, a constant allegory in Fordjour’s work; and to compose as he has in collaboration to create a choreographic performance. Furthermore, the content of his newest works mines his lived experience to build a painterly score of seminal moments, exploring the zeitgeist of his formative years and grappling with a host of sense memories in his most personal body of work yet. Spanning the entire ground floor of Petzel Gallery’s Chelsea outpost, this exhibition typifies the artist’s continued practice of presenting various modes of representation, medium, format and display. Fordjour’s SCORE combines a suite of new paintings and sculpture by the artist (South Gallery) with a multilevel, indoor architectural installation (East Gallery) and custom-built performance space (West Gallery). The South Gallery presents the latest of Fordjour’s signature two-dimensional works, displayed within the traditional white cube, paired with a new, monumental floor sculpture, Flock. Blending the two and three-dimensional, the static and the mobile, SCORE incorporates familiar artistic forms with new collaborations that build upon and connect back to Fordjour’s established practice. Flock presents a collection of upturned legs and wheels clustered in a tight gaggle, speaking directly to Fordjour’s enduring interest in questioning agency and autonomy in the face of stagnant conditions, social or otherwise. Through spectacle and peculiar arrangement, Flock evokes a profound tension, echoing many of the smaller sculptural propositions displayed in Wunderkammer, a site-specific installation in the East Gallery. Exemplifying the multitude of ways inequities are systematically sustained and supported within traditional art museums and galleries, Fordjour’s multilevel East Gallery installation is the heart of the exhibition. Upon entering Wunderkammer, visitors ascend the stairs of an architectural structure to encounter a series of corridors lined with a series of wall insets, displaying Fordjour’s sculptures as a “cabinet of curiosities.” Featuring ambient lighting and carpeting, this space invokes references to the world of luxury retail and high-end presentation. The innermost room is abuzz with two kinetic dioramas circulating on a rotating belt that incorporate miniature murals. Painted in Fordjour’s signature style, the murals create a backdrop for sculptural elements engineered to perform synchronized movements. Following the dioramas, visitors descend downstairs into the dank conditions of a basement. Not dissimilar to an artist’s studio or a retail warehouse, this environment presents a stark contrast to the upstairs. Largely obscured or hidden from view, the guise of luxury is often inextricably linked to the gross inequities of capitalistic enterprise. Situated far from the limelight of the floor above, in what the artist refers to as a theatrical fragment, two live actors perform pedestrian tasks as laborers powering the dioramas above. By casting the visitor as spectator, witness and audience, Fordjour’s SCORE offers a peek behind an opulent curtain, animating questions of power and conspicuous consumption. In SCORE, Fordjour debuts his latest collaboration, Arena, an original ensemble movement piece, jointly composed with renowned choreographer Sidra Bell, founder of Sidra Bell Dance New York. Arena will be performed twice daily in the West Gallery. With live musical accompaniment from Hannah Mayree of The Black Banjo Reclamation Project, five dancers will animate the space, performing the original choreographic score atop a packed dirt floor, within a built environment, which includes a sculptural seating structure and custom tent. Informed directly from the artist’s paintings, original costume and lighting design infuse theatricality into the artist’s oeuvre. Arena grapples with notions of performance and abstraction through live action in a kaleidoscopic exploration of labor, history, power and race.

Austin Martin White

Familiar Dysphoria

September 14, 2023 - November 4, 2023
Philadelphia-based artist Austin Martin White presents his first solo exhibition with the gallery, Familiar Dysphoria, opening September 13th at Petzel’s Upper East Side location. Using casta paintings from 18th century Mexico as a template, White disrupts colonial taxonomies of race in his bold, abstracted compositions. Working with a variety of mediums including acrylic, spray-paint, vinyl, 3m reflective fabric and screen mesh mediums, White creates paintings and works on paper that investigate representations of historical memory and identity. In collaboration with Petzel, Derek Eller Gallery will simultaneously show an exhibition of White’s work, titled Lost in the Sauce, opening September 8th at the gallery’s 300 Broome Street location.

Tomoo Gokita

September 14, 2023 - October 21, 2023
Petzel Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Tokyo-based artist Tomoo Gokita, in his debut solo exhibition with the gallery. Works included mark a new era for Gokita, as he expands his practice toward innovative techniques and striking color palettes. Internationally renowned for pushing the boundaries of figuration, particularly in his high-contrast grayscale paintings, Gokita has shifted toward novel source imagery and materials. The artist was struck by a booklet found near his studio of simple illustrations of everyday objects. Created for patients with dementia, these objects are used in an exercise that puts forward the question, “What is this?”. Gokita has developed this imagery to create colorful, fresh compositions. Influenced by Pop Art, kitsch aesthetics, and music, Gokita’s crafted canvases are covered with multiple layers of paper for the first time, including paper sleeves of various vinyl records into the layers of his paintings. In doing so, the artist connects his latest series of paintings to a natural fluidity that underscores his versatile drawing practice. The hand-made ethos of his layered canvases also reflects Gokita’s longstanding affinity for vintage magazines and pulpy, printed ephemera, with his own Neo-expressionist, abstracted twist. Across this suite of recent paintings, Gokita appropriates this mnemonic exercise, in which elderly patients with dementia are asked to recall the name of an object with the image, just as children often are. In this way, the artist bridges the chasm between the signifier and the signified in these vibrant, evocative creations while playing with varying levels of contact: the physicality of layered paper on canvas, the familiarity of his subjects, and the foundations of signification itself. Approaching these paintings, the viewer brushes the moment of discovery, akin to Gokita’s chance encounter outside his studio, through engagement with his refined, exuberant impressions. Through both high and low, legible and concealed references, Gokita invites the audience to explore this liminal space and to ask themselves, “What is this?”.

Charline von Heyl

September 8, 2023 - October 28, 2023
Charline von Heyl presents her first solo exhibition since her presentation at the 2022 Venice Biennale, opening September 8th at Petzel’s Chelsea location. Over the past three decades, von Heyl has made paintings that upend conventional assumptions about composition, beauty, narrative, design, and artistic subjectivity. For her new exhibition, von Heyl explores new visual idioms in daring ways, reflecting on painting’s limits and potential.

Thomas Eggerer


June 8, 2023 - July 21, 2023
We might imagine that the bright red handrails, flat white walls, and the brute emptiness or starkness of the gridded courtyard captured the artist’s attention when encountering the photograph from which Plaza A derives, tropes resonating with his long-standing fascination with the “faded modernism” of the 1970s. Here are visual markers of an architectural modality now so ubiquitous as to undermine temporal and geographical certainties, of a space so banal or ordinary that it also confounds easy understanding of its possible function or modes of occupation. The courtyard could be in Asia, the Middle East, or North America, it might have been built in the late 1970s, or five years ago. It is at once contingent and generic. If we can recognize legacies of architectural gestures at work—like Hans Hollein’s Media Lines for the 1972 Munich Olympics, colorful railings later coursing through James Stirling’s Neue Staatsgalerie Stuttgart of 1984 to become familiar handrails within a commercial vernacular—any shift in register is not cast as a devolution, but mobilized for aesthetic tension. Yet one thing seems clear, at least initially: if Plaza seems haunted by histories of social and collective formations, we are looking into a private enclave, at a private space masquerading as a public one, as suggested in the unstable constellation of awkward ramps, flamingo pink awnings, surveillance cameras, potted plants, trash bags, uniformed staff, and fountains. But lament at the forlorn appearance of this “plaza” is not the artist’s game, the paintings don’t judge in this sense. Rather the site’s ordinariness functions as a gambit through which radical ambiguities and thus potentials come to the fore, uncertainties of use and of disposition that are amplified by Eggerer’s formal gestures and careful visual recalibration as the photograph (found online) is expanded and transposed into a massive painting, Plaza A, and its haunting, darker doppelganger, Plaza B, the latter a more self-contained twin that amplifies the unsettling nature of the first, while harboring its own uncanny qualities. Eggerer spoke of Plaza as performing an “economy of withdrawal,” and indeed the experience of encountering the paintings might be best characterized as an initial, intellectual recognition of what the paintings depict and reprise—an ordinary courtyard, whose emptiness foregrounds a vast grid, and with it flatness and other modernist conceits—followed by an irreconcilable perceptual undoing or dissolution of spatial and temporal logics. Its irresolvable formal components keep your eyes moving, exposing the viewer to a tense battle with an impossible perspective that incites a type of visual scanning, only to be thrown off balance, again and again, as any markers of certainty withdraw. Plaza, that is, invites and repulses, launching a one-two punch, packed at once with cognitive failure and a visceral disorientation that together call for an open-ness to rethinking what the space might harbor, despite or possibly on account of its banality and refusal to declare a use, its lack of instructions. The functional indeterminacy of the courtyard and its grid channels, in the first instance, a flexible character designed to serve economic goals not social ones, pointing to its affiliations with capital’s privatizing, globalizing mandates. Eggerer does not celebrate this privatization, but mines its inherent vulnerabilities: for such spaces remain open to constant reinvention, to refusal, to what he situates as a mode of queering. The paintings do not offer answers to these difficult tensions they craft, but situate the viewer firmly in their grasp, reminding us that such environments seek to condition our bodies and psyches, but cannot entirely do so. “It is not possible to stand up in this space,” the artist suggested in a recent conversation. And, indeed, to reiterate, the paintings do not resolve into an inhabitable space, or a knowable time; they do not seek veracity but a calculated avoidance of it. The plaza is tilted to be vertical, reminding us to attend to its operations within the picture plane. The shadows, which serve to hold the right edge of the painting, to give it form, are not accurate according to the dictates of sun angles. Unnecessary details are edited out, reminding us again of the many modes of withdrawal at work, of the paintings’ manner of stepping back not only from techniques like the grid and perspective but from a real world out there, of its abstraction. And yet the fountains perform as if according to the laws of gravity; they appear to be caught in an endless loop of propelling water up and capturing it as it falls, offering an allegory of the temporal tautology at work. The beautiful congregation of garbage bags, which Eggerer so cogently likens to Rodin’s The Burghers of Calais, also play on gravity, as it might operate within the space of painting: they are neither standing nor lying down, he suggests, they occupy and hold a liminal space between the picture and world beyond, challenging the emptiness, exposure, and abstraction of the grid. Moreover, in their filling, tying, and placing, they point to the presence of labor, of practices of maintenance proper to the rules of a space occupied by something like a collective: something has taken place here. A toppled potted plant serves as another ambiguous referent either to neglect or to a buoyant activation of the courtyard—a party, fight, flash mob, or skateboarding perhaps. Plaza B pretends to be more obedient: trash cans are available, figures are grafted into the picture, a plant is upright. Yet it remains unclear whether this painting comes prior to or after its lighter twin. The walls are yellow, the handrails turned to orange, the canopies strangely more mauve, but there is no indication of whether such shifts are merely nocturnal lighting effects or markers of the passing of a longer duration like years or decades. If the paintings refuse narrativity, or something like a telos or timeline, and if the location and function of Plaza remains uncertain, the elements occupying the plaza indicate that things can happen within such faded modernisms, that lives are lived, that things take place, wherever and whenever they might be. While not declared as such, and harboring no instruction or answers regarding function or how to perform as an actor in the world, Plaza reminds us that we are not simply governed by private enterprises that seek to colonize so many aspects of our subjectivity and of our social lives, that uncertainties and ambivalences can be taken as preconditions for unscripted social interactions to emerge, as invitations to reinvention, even to collective forms of refusal. It would be hubris to reduce Plaza to a cynical image of social or aesthetic degradation. Life takes place in such spaces all the time, their potentials shimmer between the visible and in the invisible in the manner of subcultural codes. Despite the architecture, that is, anything could happen in Plaza, or nothing. —Felicity D Scott

Cosima von Bonin

Church of Daffy

June 8, 2023 - July 21, 2023
The Daffy Formula: To be a Daffy, a character must first and foremost be like Daffy. Not only must they be congenitally selfish, devious, grandiose, and craven, but all of these characteristics must be magnified to grotesque proportions due to the pointed cruelty of the universe. Church of Daffy opens at Petzel’s Chelsea location at 520 W 25th Street on Thursday, June 8 from 6pm to 8pm with thonk piece, a performance by Toronto based drag queens Mary Messhausen and proddy produzentin. They are performing unscripted and underprepared, celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their favorite delicacy, the Cronut. Recording artist and producer Macy Rodman will join for a special guest performance. Thonk piece is available as a live stream by Oliver Husain on

James Little


May 5, 2023 - June 30, 2023
Petzel is pleased to present Conversations, an exhibition of new paintings by New York-based artist James Little. The show marks Little’s debut solo exhibition with the gallery and will be on view from May 5th to June 10th, 2023, at Petzel’s parlor floor Upper East Side location at 35 East 67th Street. These abstract paintings continue the 40-year lineage of Little’s practice, which celebrates the foundational elements that comprise his paintings: patterns, shapes, and the paint itself. Little’s masterful paintings are driven by a desire for simplicity and purity. Formal considerations of pictorial design, color, geometry, synthesis, and integration, along with his intimate relationship with the medium, are prioritized. “I ascribe to modernist tenets without replication or appropriation,” he says. “Girded by experimentation, imagination, skill and deliberation, I strive for a pure and successful analytical painterly abstraction, unadorned and with precedent, although without agenda and not by fiat.” Like an alchemist, Little creates his own pigments, which are carefully applied to each canvas and framed in meticulous grids utilizing labor-intensive, unconventional methods invented by the artist through years of experimentation. His distinctive visual position is based on a rigorous, life-long academic study of color theory and pictorial structure. Little values the preservation of objects. He continuously finds inspiration in the remnants of canvas scraps from previous projects and creates a dialogue between his past and present by incorporating them into new works to serve as a “footprint to where the finished project was.” His paintings speak to each other; the relationships between their formal characteristics impact the creation of future forms. The discussions that Little has with himself in the studio work their way into the process of shaping each painting with restrained control, while allowing the naturally occurring patterns to react. These conversations develop into self-made letters that ultimately culminate into analytical inquisitions.

John Stezaker

Double Shadow

April 21, 2023 - June 3, 2023
Petzel Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new collages by British artist John Stezaker. The work forms part of the series Double Shadow which is a continuation of the artist’s career-long engagement with film stills and publicity portraits dating from the age of classical Hollywood cinema. For some years, Stezaker has been cutting out the actors in publicity photos and pasting the remainder onto a dark ground to create hollowed-out silhouettes. The works on show are made by doubling this technique, superimposing one negative silhouette on top of another in a way that transforms both. The resulting images recall the paranoid, shadowy world of German Expressionist film and film noir. Their complex play of light and shade, part photographic, part produced by the collage technique, recreates the richly textured chiaroscuro of noir films, while the silhouettes themselves recall the dramatic effect of back-lighting. The age and obsolescence of Stezaker’s collection of found photographs estranges them from normal waking reality. He regards his collection “as an underworld of images liberated from their ties to legibility. Abandoned to disuse, they took on the dark aura of fascination.” They became for him a “nocturnal underworld”, “a world of spectres and shadows.” His collage technique renders them even more obscure and fascinating. Because the Double Shadow collages merge two negative silhouettes, they often convey a sense of psychological capture by a double or possession by a revenant. The philosopher Gilles Deleuze once remarked that “the cinematographic image is never in the present.” Films, such as Hitchcock’s Rebecca or Vertigo, often thematize film’s ability to superimpose past and present and remind us that consciousness is never in the present, either. Stezaker’s Double Shadow collages both depict this kind of haunting and awaken it in the viewer. —Margaret Iversen

Seth Price


April 21, 2023 - June 3, 2023
Petzel Gallery presents Ardomancer, an exhibition of paintings by Seth Price that brings AI-generated imagery and 3D graphics to traditional gestural painting. This is only the second time in nearly a decade that Price has presented an exhibition of new work in New York. Price writes: Making art with extremely different tools and media helps you take control and lose it, back and forth, over and over. I work on these paintings with brushes and pens and fingers, and sometimes my feet. Recently I’ve also been suggesting words to an AI, and we go back and forth until I get an image I like. I apply it to the painting using a reverse-transfer technique often used for shirts and stickers: I print the image on film and lay it face-down on liquid plastic poured on the painting, and when I lift the film the image transfers into the liquid, usually a little raggedly. While it’s wet I can finger paint in it, or tilt it to let it run, or blow on pigments and powders. Then I go back in with a brush. When the painting starts to feel like a problem, I photograph it and put the photo in a 3D cinema program, where I add simple virtual objects like planes, tubes, hemispheres, and algorithmic patterns. I print these back on to the real painting at a large industrial facility. This is risky because one error can destroy something I’ve worked on for months. It happened to two paintings that were supposed to be in this show. I’m dwelling on the technical side of things here because when I make work that’s pretty much my entire focus. Art lets all the big questions stow away for the ride while it goes about its business addressing immediate and tangible and formal matters. I started painting because I want to feel the intuition and immediacy of my body and also the distance and unpredictability of the machine. Contemporary painting offers a very refined way to bring human time and machine time into one artwork. You don’t need painting to do that, though, or brand-new tools; the combination of bodily gesture and technical process already appeared in ancient techniques like printmaking and casting. It hit another level with photography, which preserves a human gesture only through registration and development and printing, thereby putting human time and machine time into a single state so uncanny that it once unnerved people. These days, AI does the same thing. Painting, being ravenous and syncretic, saw photography’s power and reached out and took it. Since then artists have collaged printed matter to canvas, screen printed on painted grounds, traced projected images with oils, and hand-manipulated inkjet prints. I like working in this lineage, where the tools of the moment get at the feeling of the moment, and the tools of all time get at something deeper.

Sean Landers


March 9, 2023 - April 15, 2023
Petzel is pleased to present Adrift, Sean Landers’ seventh solo exhibition with the gallery, on view March 9th to April 15th, 2023 at 520 West 25th Street in Chelsea. Featuring over twenty new oil paintings by Landers, this largely allegorical exhibition illustrates the complexity of artistic mortality using four protagonists: dogs—depicted in single portraits and alone in rowboats unmoored at sea; lighthouses; the ocean; and sperm whale skeletons at rest on ocean shorelines. Each subject represents the dichotomy of freedom and trepidation involved in the act of releasing art to an unknown fate. “...a bit of the artist remains in their paintings, so in that way, a painting is like an artist adrift in time and space,” says Landers in an interview with writer Johanna Fateman for the exhibition catalogue. A cornerstone of inspiration for Adrift is Landers’ long-term interest in the work of American painter Winslow Homer (b. 1836—d. 1920) and in particular Homer’s ocean paintings. The vast and unpredictable ocean marks time and space, a preeminent symbol used throughout the years in Landers’ paintings and art history. Homer’s style is emulated by Landers in paintings throughout the exhibition including Northeaster, Summer Squall, and Yellow Dog. Each of these subjects can be seen as a character existing within the vicissitudes of artistic practice. The dogs, at attention and alone in their boats, symbolize the vulnerability of art against an unknown future. These works also parallel Joachim Patinir’s (b. 1483—d. 1524) painting Charon crossing the Styx in which a human soul is being transported by boat into afterlife. Landers sees this as symbolic for what a painting is—a vessel for the artist into afterlife. Two lighthouses, Portland Lighthouse, US and Sunderland Lighthouse, UK, are both welcoming and warning beacons, allegories for institutions that signal to the public what art is worth preserving. This ruling system will determine the dogs’ fate as they head into the unknown of art history. The bare whale bones, epic in their repose on the sandy shore echo the finality in the lifespan of an artwork. Such relics are epitaphs and beginnings, a sentiment imparted in We Hover, where Landers’ text painted over a fierce ocean reads: And then we hover in between existence and nonexistence in our paintings and that is both terrifying and reassuring. For Landers, Adrift is the everlasting reminder that the artist, like Patinir’s soul, is forever navigating the here and hereafter.

Yael Bartana

Malka Germania

March 9, 2023 - April 15, 2023
Petzel is pleased to present Yael Bartana’s narrative film Malka Germania (2021), on view March 9th to April 15th, 2023 at the gallery’s Chelsea location. Malka Germania investigates the longing for collective redemption for German and Jewish histories as a response to an age of anxiety. Malka Germania is Hebrew for “Queen Germany.” The name references a female designation for the Messiah: Malka Meshichah, or the “Anointed Queen.” In Bartana’s film, a new androgynous Messiah, Malka Germania, joins forces with the Israeli Army to liberate Berlin from its collective traumas, memories, and inherited pasts. The 3-channel video portrays Malka as she walks through Berlin’s haunted landscape, revisiting historical events that seamlessly blend with contemporary scenes. The film weaves subconscious elements through surreal hallucinations, the biblical and mystical to leave questions of redemption, national myths and collective identities for the viewer to contemplate. Malka Germania, 2021 Three channel video and sound installation, 43:00 min Director and Editor: Yael Bartana Producer: Naama Pyritz Producer: Martina Haubrich Actor: Gala Moody Director of Photography: David Stragmeister 2nd Unit Camera: Mick van Rossum, Matan Radin Costume Designer. Yael Shenberger Art Director: Karin Betzler Choreography: Hagar Ophir Editor: Daphna Keenan Sound Design: Daniel Meir Research and Story Consultant: Itamar Gov Story Consultant: Sami Berdugo, Mille Haynes Additional Production: Anja Lindner Additional Camera: Marcus Pohlus, Itai Vinograd, Walter Solon Drone Operators: Michael and Florian Basche Voice: Susanne Sachsse Storyboard & Illustration: Hadar Landsberg Make-Up: Monique Bredow Color Correction: Simon Veronig Special Effects: snowball studios Commissioned by the Jewish Museum Berlin and made possible by the Friends of the Jewish Museum Berlin, the Mondrian Fund and Jan Fischer (Light Art Space, LAS)

KP Brehmer

Welt im Kopf [World in Mind]

March 1, 2023 - April 29, 2023
“I have always been particularly interested in social issues, and as society is constantly subject to change, as it is processual, this form of representation plays a part. Whereby I am not interested in ‘reproduction,’ but rather I am trying to force my production materials into parallel processes.” (KP Brehmer) Maxwell Graham and Petzel Gallery are pleased to announce the collaborative exhibition Welt im Kopf [World in Mind], dedicated to the German artist KP Brehmer (1938–1997), curated by Elisa R. Linn and Lennart Wolff. It is the artist’s first solo presentation in the United States since the 1976 show at René Block Gallery on West Broadway in New York. Born in Berlin, Klaus Peter Brehmer trained as a reproduction technologist and, in the early 1960s, studied at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Around this time, he adopted the initials “KP,” both a nod to the then-banned West German Communist Party (KPD) and a playful attempt to complicate an ideological subject position. Rather than becoming a party member, he saw being an artist as a way to be “useful to society.” For Brehmer, that meant superseding not only the cult of the singular author prevalent in Abstract Expressionism but also the specific messaging of agitprop. Discussions about art and politics culminated in the initiative Capitalist Realism—a more overtly radical answer to US Pop Art—including Brehmer, Sigmar Polke, Konrad Lueg, Gerhard Richter, and Wolf Vostell, among others. Appropriation remained a central motif in Brehmer’s practice. His work hinged on the subversion of capitalist visual representation approached through politics, economics, science, consumer culture, and everyday life. Through this, Brehmer developed a unique body of work that is situated at the intersection of Fluxus, Pop, and Conceptual art. Diverse in media, technique, and edition, his works share a profoundly democratic concern with the capacity for a viewer’s emancipation through “visual agitation.” Amidst the Cold War’s binary conception of the world, this “sharpening of the senses,” as Brehmer called it, aimed at enabling the viewer to see through ideological constructs and established narratives to unfold competing interpretations. The title Welt im Kopf [World in Mind], borrows from Brehmer’s 1970 16 mm video work. The exhibition combines seminal and previously unexhibited artworks—drawings, prints, paintings, films, and objects—and ephemera and archival documents made between the 1960s and mid-1980s. The exhibition is organized in two parts and does not follow chronology, providing an overview of Brehmer’s complex methodologies structured by a central question: How can the way capital shapes the perception of reality in the minds of the individual and the collective be made visible? At Petzel Gallery, artworks from the 1960s are intended to exercise “ideological kleptomania” (Georg Jappe), achieved by subverting state symbols from both sides of the Iron Curtain. Works based on commemorative stamps, the “business cards of the state” (Walter Benjamin)—e.g., depicting John F. Kennedy, Soviet propaganda, and German monuments—or altered flags are juxtaposed with those made from appropriated advertisements. Influenced by correspondence with Richard Hamilton, these “Trivialgrafiken” test how consumer desire is engineered and ideology naturalized. Not only did Brehmer depict politically-charged subject matter, but he also addressed techniques (such as the cliché print), distribution, and collective actions with other artists. For example, a rare 1968 edition of the influential magazine Interfunktion, on view in the exhibition, documents how Brehmer and artists like Chris Reinecke positioned themselves in opposition to documenta and its organizers, several of whom had past ties to the Nazi regime, such as Werner Haftmann. Maxwell Graham Gallery presents stamps alongside abstract works made around the time of his participation in exhibitions that include Art Into Society, Society Into Art at ICA London with Hans Haacke, among others. These works are meant to reflect the politics of societal systems, geography, and hegemonic and colonial mechanisms, as seen in the large-scale Zeitzonen installation first presented in 1976 at René Block Gallery, and subsequently at Centre Pompidou. From the 1970s onwards, Brehmer started working with diagrams and statistics that considered economic output and population data, coinciding with the conceptualization of biopolitics in the Western welfare states. The expansive series of works Seele und Gefühl eines Arbeiters (1978–81)—based on a study on worker’s emotions and productivity—brings to mind the tension between quantification, administrative abstraction, and lived experience at play in the works of artists such as stanley brouwn or Hanne Darboven. With works such as Über die Bilder from 1979—brushstroke renderings of thermal imaging of brain activity while discussing pictures—the exhibition traces the artist’s emergence as a prototype for the individualized cognitive worker and the rise of a form of capitalism driven by data and feedback.

Emily Mae Smith

Heretic Lace

October 8, 2022 - November 12, 2022
Petzel Gallery is pleased to present Heretic Lace, Emily Mae Smith’s debut solo exhibition with the gallery, opening on Saturday, October 8 at Petzel’s new Chelsea location at 520 W 25th Street. In 2014, Emily Mae Smith introduced a broom figure into her developing lexicon. A descendant of the sweeper in Disney’s Fantasia (1940), it might suggest a proxy for the artist. (Set to The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by composer Paul Dukas, which was based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s 1797 poem of the same title, Mickey Mouse appears as the apprentice who unleashes forces beyond his influence.) Through this surrogate, Smith refuses the masculinist pretension of using the female body as a catalyst for formal experimentation while preserving its potential for mutability. Indeed, beyond the variability of its costuming—eyeless rods sport full skirts or pantaloons fashioned out of gathered bristles—brooms behave differently, most conspicuously laboring or refusing instrumentalization. They enact such roles within elaborate pictorial spaces. Representational orders organize within windows or recede behind proscenium curtains. These portals maintain optical fantasies of illusionism even as they redouble the physical limits of the support; they also further Smith’s critical manipulation of traditional framing devices. In this recuperative possession of the phallocentric tools of vision underpinning so much Western art, she none too subtly claims the privilege of meeting the viewer on her own terms. In Beholder, for one, Smith makes over Louis-Léopold Boilly’s A Girl at a Window (c. 1799), a scene that stages conditions of visibility and displacement. As is not uncommon for Smith, she takes another artwork as the basis for her own, appropriating in the case of Boilly’s precedent a black-and-white trompe l’oeil rendition of a print seemingly imitating a now-lost painting (which, in a kind of infinite regress, itself makes over earlier Dutch genre scenes). Smith keeps hold of this artifice, its performance now a usurpation not only of mastery but also of agency. If the source assumed the naturalizing of control over its centered ingenue, Smith’s rejoinder sets the encounter within the studio, from which the broom emerges, seated on a niche, and turned to the picture plane. The various prosthetics—spyglasses and binoculars, and even the amplifying power of water in the conspicuous orb of a fishbowl—suggest the reciprocity of encounter, or at least the terms of its possibility. Like so much of Smith’s art that queries the medium’s histories as well as her place within it, Beholder is a painting about painting, perhaps an allegory of making as well as regarding. It finds company in related pieces that eschew the abstract language of self-reflexivity endemic to modernism, perversely extending its logic of auto-critique through symbolist imagery. Painters Quarry makes this clear. An oversized instance of Smith’s mouth architecture—now greyscale stone rimmed with blunted Chiclet-teeth—bears the inscription “THE STUDIO,” and in it is an ossuary. Bones are piled nearly to the top, leaving little space left to fill. Very differently, Precarious Persuasion, a stand-off between a treble hook, diminutive mouth agape, and a menacing school of fanged-teeth fish, models for Smith the interactions between elements within indirect painting. (Smith uses this method to achieve shifts in hue and color adjustable independent of value and form: first working in monochrome and layering transparent washes through which light will pass—a twinned effect of seeing into fictive but also literal depth.) For the namesake Heretic Lace, Smith reprises (and here enlarges) a 2019 painting of the same name. In both, a flesh gradient is cleaved by a garter belt, pulling taut a stocking patterned with rodents and sheaves of wheat. It, too, nods to process in analogizing the sheer legwear and transparent glazes that constitute it. Heretic Lace II also extends Smith’s recent interest in the gleaner, the subject of drawings, watercolors, and paintings made since 2018. Characterized as someone who picks up grain or corn left in the field after the harvest, the gleaner has served as a symbol of the dispossessed from the Old Testament (in the books of Leviticus and Ruth, the Hebrew Bible encourages allowances for the poor to glean in lands already harvested); in Smith’s hands, it becomes a way to get at her position, gathering and repurposing what remains. Smith’s protagonists recall the farmers of Pissarro and Jean-François Millet, and more broadly, a 19th century imagination of what work the bodies of women might be asked to carry out and the rights to self-determination they lack in so doing. Based on Pieter de Hooch’s A Woman Nursing an Infant with a Child and a Dog (c. 1658-1660), A Candle Makes its Own Fuel substitutes the breastfeeding caretaker for a broom slumped in a tufted desk chair set upon casters but going nowhere. A Klein bottle—emblematizing a non-orientable surface—sits atop a makeshift pedestal; a pitchfork hangs on the wall by a fireplace. Absent de Hooch’s roaring blaze, Smith conceives of its consumptive energies as an act of self-immolating combustion at the broom’s extremity. The other light source suggests all is not well outside, either, as the gridded leaded glass windows at the painting’s right burn a sulfurous yellow. One can invoke by way of description Smith’s use of contre-jour, where the light source appears to come from behind the subject in the painting. As with the other works on view, this technical-cum-formal conceit implicates the canvas in the environment beyond its edges. –Suzanne Hudson

Corinne Wasmuht

New Paintings

October 8, 2022 - November 12, 2022
Petzel is pleased to announce a series of new paintings by Berlin-based artist Corinne Wasmuht, on view at the gallery’s new Chelsea location from October 8 to November 12. The show marks Wasmuht’s fifth exhibition with the gallery. Building upon an infinite archive that is at once mnemonic, ephemeral, digital and physical, Corinne Wasmuht’s paintings are experienced in a manner akin to that of waking from a psychedelic dream. What begins as digitally sketched photographs taken by Wasmuht herself as she navigates the landscape of a communal zone or interior structure, such as an airport terminal or a pedestrian sidewalk, are then realized concretely in the form of intricate, labor-intensive paintings in which these spaces are reworked almost to the point of being indiscernible. Converting the colors of her original photographs to achieve a visually stimulating X-Ray effect, Wasmuht hints at barely-there figurations; ghostly silhouettes of corporeal forms emerge from a computerized negative space, like a void or a gap. Digital meets analog on surfaces under which lies the humble foundation of wood, a medium lauded with tradition that points to Wasmuht’s range and mastery of a unique and complex technique, one which involves layering translucent coats of paint and capturing a quality of light that seems to glow from within. Developing upon previous works such as those seen in her most recent solo exhibition with Petzel—Alnitak of 2015—Wasmuht’s work serves as an ever-growing, forward-moving evolution of her trademark style. It is the concept of perception—the perception of a room or a space, and how we move within it—that is at the forefront of what unifies this series. Along with perception comes the disorientation of time and memory; the way that our brains select certain fragments and images of memories, permanently impressing them upon us for reasons that remain unclear. This selection and repetition is interwoven in the countlessly shredded and reassembled layers of Wasmuht’s paintings, where details big and small are plucked from one painting and duplicated in the next—a tiny fraction of a rainbow, a window, chairs in the waiting area of an airport terminal. As explained by Wasmuht, it is painting itself that is at the core of what inspires her work, and every painting she composes serves as source material for the next, with one image or particle standing out from the rest and thus presenting her with a new idea, a new design for a future composition.

Kahlil Robert Irving

Street Moments

September 15, 2022 - October 22, 2022
"There are memories lost in asphalt but that reality is also reflected in the desire we place in the stars above." —Kahlil Robert Irving Petzel is pleased to present Street Moments, an exhibition by St. Louis-based artist Kahlil Robert Irving, opening on Thursday, September 15th at the gallery’s Upper East Side location at 35 East 67th Street. Featuring new and recent ceramic sculpture and works on paper, this show focuses on the artist’s interest in the aesthetically rich, politically charged landscape of our built environments. This is Irving’s first presentation with the gallery and follows his recent solo Projects exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, which was organized in partnership with the Studio Museum in Harlem. While Street Moments brings together the diverse range of media employed in the artist’s practice, the works are anchored in their common visual theme of the street surface. This is perhaps most apparent in the large floor sculpture made from hand-pressed stoneware tiles, whose mottled surfaces are meant to resemble asphalt. Although initially inspired by the mosaic floors of Hellenistic Antioch, Irving’s tile sculptures present a wholly contemporary topography integrated with enameled trompe l’oeil urban refuse: air fresheners, newspapers, cardboard, and the like. On the other end, Irving is also making replica antique decorative pottery. Using diverse modes of production, Irving has lately spent much time carefully pondering the color Black and how it manifests across the pressures of contemporary life in the post-industrial Midwest. Walking and driving on the street asphalt has become recurring motifs used by the artist. “Replicating asphalt in image and material is a marker of continuous urbanity that stretches into rural and inner city spaces,” says Irving. “It is a man-made through-line between different communities and information.” In an interview conducted during his first solo institutional exhibition at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts in 2018, Irving spoke about his “street views” series: "Anti-Blackness is everywhere and manifests itself in slight and complicated ways, similar to the overlooked surface of the street. The discarded objects that find themselves on, within, or beneath the street’s surface are ignored by some, while others don't have the option to ignore. In some neighborhoods these things are cleaned up, and in other neighborhoods they are left to add up. This is an aspect of societal oppression and a vestige of segregation still in effect today. The built world we know is reinforced with camouflaged racism and discrimination, commonly understood to be mundane and a part of everyday life." Many of the issues that Irving addresses in his work lie in the vestiges of the trajectory of colonialism into our current life experiences. Making replicas of historical objects smashed or compressed and placed near imagery of social response or news articles speaking of violence, or a quirky meme, draws a connection between historical hierarchies and trade to the current moment of dissemination of what people believe may be important or needed in order to survive. The works presented in Street Moments are objects telling stories that seek to illuminate that there is importance in items or issues that are buried not too deep in the ground that we walk on. “There are memories lost in asphalt but that reality is also reflected in the desire we place in the stars above,” Irving says. The artist is drawn to this metaphor connecting the asphalt-sky reflection because the sky is endless and out of our control and the ground is something that is constantly being renegotiated. In that connection there is a new reality that can be practiced. At this moment these works are a continuation of the world building Irving has been doing over the last several years of his practice.

Cayetano Ferrer, Gala Porras-Kim, Nikita Gale, rafa esparza, and Suki Seokyeong Kang

Commonwealth and Council

June 29, 2022 - August 5, 2022
Petzel is pleased to present “Commonwealth and Council,” a collaborative summer show on view on the parlor floor of the gallery’s Upper East Side location from June 29 to August 5. Commonwealth and Council is a gallery in Koreatown, Los Angeles, founded in 2010. An artist-run apartment space that over the years grew—in size as well as maturity—and evolved with the artists, Commonwealth and Council now represents 37 artists, doubling down on the goal of building counter-narratives that reflect our individual and collective realities. The artists Cayetano Ferrer, Gala Porras-Kim, Nikita Gale, rafa esparza, and Suki Seokyeong Kang, who have come together in this show, converge at an interest in the unvoiced, acknowledging that meaning occurs at a host of myriad idiosyncratic registers—and propose alternative modalities of knowledge, speech, and value systems. Gala Porras-Kim disrupts museological and anthropological conventions, playfully poking holes in the practical logic of conservators and registrars to advocate for the material and philosophical conditions that objects under institutional “stewardship” face. The Michael C. Rockefeller Wing at the Met 1982–2021 fragment is a cube made of dust and residue collected during deinstallation in the eponymous gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It sheds light on the physical conditions surrounding art while also questioning what is auxiliary to the “object” and under what circumstances the residue of a culture becomes an artifact. Upon first glance, a pair of marble fragments appear incongruously mounted on sleek pedestals. Like Porras-Kim, Cayetano Ferrer examines institutional environments and how they contextualize and project upon cultural artifacts. Ferrer underscores the feigned neutrality in the museum pedestal and proposes instead a display system that exhibits its own placelessness, calling out by extension the arbitrariness inherent in attempting to house a displaced object in a supposedly ahistorical context. Ferrer applies this same lens to the American West and specifically the hyperreality of Las Vegas, with Remnant Recomposition 5 (Section C), a swathe of carpet composed of swatches from the floors of various Vegas casinos. Each pattern appropriates a different visual tradition—synecdoche for the ahistorical jumble of cliches presented by the casinos themselves. In Remnant Recomposition, Ferrer reappropriates this pastiching, collapsing time, place, and culture to create a hybrid entity straddling function, design, and art. In Nikita Gale’s WATCH MEEEEEE, an imbroglio of audio cables and concrete-dipped terrycloth overtakes and disrupts the shape and purpose of an aluminum barrier like those commonly found at concerts and public events. Draped, slung, and knotted, the confusion of materials evokes both the obfuscation and conduction of sound. While from one perspective the tangles suggest an uncanny logic (a notation system perhaps), here Gale has proposed an erosion of coherence; the audio cables are planted into the ground as if tuned into some foundational, grounding frequency—or simply willfully ignoring what may be circulating outside. Suki Seokyeong Kang similarly appropriates and reimagines collisions between the industrial and the incongruously hand-constructed, backing steel lattices with hand-woven Korean reed mats (Hwamunseok). Irregular leather scraps and stray threads playfully punctuate the modernist grid; it is as if Kang asks us to consider what subversions or tangents these seemingly rigid structures may accommodate. Kang assembles her sculptures according to an idiosyncratic syntax of form, material, and referent. In Tender Meander #19-08, a steel cylinder crowns a slice of tree trunk, supported by a cluster of wheeled legs that recall an office chair; yet the sculpture as gestalt resembles in form and proportion an anthropomorph. In compelling the viewer to navigate around and amongst these constructs, Kang suggests an awareness of how one occupies space and navigates the interstices of self and other. A new series of paintings by rafa esparza inverts stigmas often levied against Black and Brown youth, reconceptualizing silver dental caps as status-conferring body modifications found in pre-Columbian remains. esparza renders ghostly teeth studded with stones or replaced by chunks of jade on a ground of unpainted adobe, swabbed onto a chicken-wire grid from which scraps of hay and textured chunks protrude in incidents of form and material. For esparza, adobe stands as metaphor for Brown skin; it is as if the earth anchors the teeth, even as they float unmoored or articulate a skull’s grin.

Dana Hoey and Caitlin Cherry

Hello Trouble

May 19, 2022 - June 25, 2022
New York, NY — Petzel is pleased to announce that on Thursday, May 19th, at the gallery’s parlor floor location at 35 East 67th Street, Dana Hoey and Caitlin Cherry will present Hello Trouble, a joint exhibition addressing the subject of the great American West. These two artists, from different generations, will unveil wildly different, yet related takes on the problem of how to best represent femininity. Cherry will show paintings, Hoey will show photographs. Cherry and Hoey decided to mount their work, which traffics in, and updates, deeply American iconography, next to each other so that the rich connections and differences between their unique creative processes, can be activated and clearly visible. Hello Trouble will be on view from May 19th until June 25th. “Power, sex and the image in culture are subjects that transfix me,” says Hoey. “Caitlin Cherry’s work engages with these themes, but from the perspective of a younger, more digital generation. I’m thrilled to show with her.” Says Cherry: “Dana and I met on social media and we were introduced as collaborators by the writer Aruna D’Souza. I appreciated her artwork’s investment in representations of women, particularly she was depicting women fighting and at the time I was into weightlifting and considering getting into fighting as a hobby. We both share a deep love for unruly women and their complex relationships.” Cherry’s paintings promote porous and fluctuating notions of gender, sexuality and racial performativity with contemporary celebrities as her “bannermen”. The practice considers the digital interfaces where these images are sourced. Her paintings read like a glitched and chaotic LCD laptop’s desktop screen, with overlapping tabs and browser tabs of research, memes, Tiktoks and porn open simultaneously with Youtube music videos. The idea of the iconic subject, is deterritorialized and information is found on the periphery. Her work captures the destabilized nature of Black femininity, particularly as it is surveilled and performed online, where it exists as an engine of culture to be mined and turned into reaction .gifs. Black femininity is networked with every instance it is performed in past, present, and future and this expanded idea of gender and race, but Cherry’s perspective does not exclude drag queens and trans women. To quote Aria Dean’s perspective in her essay “Rich Meme Poor Meme” on Laur M. Jackson’s “The Blackness of Meme Movement,” “blackness is the living tissue of memes, then memes, so black in so many ways, black as hell, constitute something similar to Robinson’s ‘ontological totality,’ a black collective being.” Through a thorough investigation of the “Yee Haw Agenda”, Cherry in Hello Trouble expresses how if a certain underinvested history is not given due service, it becomes a vehicle for futurity and a malfunction of culture in the present. Hoey has a long history of pirating masculine tropes as a response to what she sees as flaws in traditional conceptions of femininity. She re-imagines forms of power that are not included in the conventional lexicon of femininity, often substituting aggression in places where one would normally encounter passivity. In Hello Trouble, Hoey uses herself, her karate coach and her longtime collaborator Mary C. Greening to embody icons of American masculinity typically pictured using white men: the cowboy, the flag-waver, the gun-toter and the bodybuilder. Against the backdrop of the American sublime landscape, these cinematic photographs raise questions of American feminine identity, beauty and power.

Xie Nanxing

Adverb High Command

May 6, 2022 - June 25, 2022
“You have to start from somewhere, and you start from the subject which gradually, if the thing works at all, withers away and leaves this residue which we call reality.” —Francis Bacon, Interview with David Sylvester, 1982–1984 “We dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig from early morn ‘til night We dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig up everything in sight.” —Frank E. Churchill, Heigh Ho Petzel Gallery is pleased to announce Adverb High Command, Xie Nanxing’s first exhibition with the gallery and his first solo show in New York, on view from May 6 until June 25. Nanxing will present two recent bodies of work—The Dwarfs’ Refrain (2019–2020) and Shadows of Painting (2020–2021)—introducing an expansive and demanding practice that has constantly evolved since his work was first presented internationally at the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999. Xie Nanxing has written recently of his admiration for Georges Didi-Huberman’s What we see looks back at us (Ce que nous voyons, ce qui nous regarde). The book opens with a discussion of “the ineluctable scission of the act of seeing (l’inéluctable scission du voir),” drawing on a famous passage from James Joyce’s Ulysses. Ruth Noack, who included Nanxing’s work when curating documenta 12 in 2007, used a similar phrase to describe his paintings, suggesting that they provoked a “crisis of spectatorship.” This might be the only serious initial response, for Nanxing’s paintings are full of frictions and contradictions that the viewer must navigate—between figuration and abstraction, between painterliness and conceptual de-materialization, between ironic detachment and existential longing. “The target,” Nanxing insists, “is figurative painting,” but this is obscured by the means employed. In The Dwarfs’ Refrain No. 1, Nanxing uses a process that has been a part of his practice since the mid-2000s: the painting, built up carefully with layers of thinned-out oil paint, departs from a photograph of a video of a heavily backlit oil sketch. In this instance, that delicate, multi-layered surface is disrupted by black lines, almost abstract or even gestural in appearance but also evocative of a net. The original oil sketch is based on a small illustration by Nanxing’s father, one of several that Nanxing commissioned him to make in the cartoonish style of their childhood drawing lessons, which Nanxing hated. The “dwarfs” of these illustrations, clearly visible in The Dwarfs’ Refrain No. 2, now provide the source material for this new series of paintings, which sees them distorted in various ways: they are collaged onto garish children’s fabric, they are molded with clay, they morph into a traditional Chinese landscape. Each of Xie Nanxing’s Shadows of Painting begins with a seemingly abstract grid. Looking at Shadows of Painting No. 5, in which the grid gives way to reveal a curiously humanoid dog, we realize that these are in fact all rooted in figurative source imagery. Nanxing calls this new approach in his practice “马赛克.” A transliteration of the English mosaic, it can also mean pixelation. Is the image here being censored? Or should we look back further to the roots of the word, that it is the work of the muses? The layers painted on top of these mosaics both guide and mislead the viewer. They range from clear if fragmented figures (a man holding a syringe, a creature breathing fire) to abstract lines of rich impasto that seem to have seeped between the cracks in the grid and, in several of the paintings, to Chinese words. At the bottom of Shadows of Painting No. 1 a rendering of quickly scribbled text reads: “插图和美术史关系” (“the link between illustration and the history of art”), while in Shadows of Painting No. 6 we see the characters “叽” and “吱,” onomatopoeia of chirping and squeaking/creaking sounds. So far so opaque. In Shadows of Painting No. 4 the grid, already overflowing, is interrupted by a stark yellow line with black writing on it. The painting becomes a crime scene (a theme in Nanxing’s practice that goes back to the 1999 Venice Biennale paintings), and this is the barrier forcing us to keep our distance. But the text across it reads “孤独孤独孤独”—“lonely lonely lonely.” Perhaps this could offer some enlightenment as to the images that have been pixelated (or perhaps not—it also works as a pun on the sound of bubbling water in Chinese). An earlier abandoned title for the series hinted at one key source that draws from Nanxing’s printmaking background—a reworking of Dürer’s Melancholia. An attempt at interpretation leaves the viewer with more questions than answers. All the layers, the convoluted methods—is this virtuosic post-modern play, designed to hold us at the level of intellect? Or could this be Nanxing’s way of approaching something more fundamental, even something true? Didi-Huberman returns to Joyce: “Shut your eyes and see.”

Pieter Schoolwerth


March 31, 2022 - May 7, 2022
The word “rigged” is a vivid monosyllable during an age of discontents. Used equally in the US by the alt-right and far left, the term is tossed promiscuously at any system that seems unfair and fraudulent (which is to say, a lot of them). “Rigged” captures a slurry of disempowerment and frustration, a fear that we’re not the protagonists of our own stories, but rather playthings for shadowy tech billionaires who tug our strings and make us dance. Pieter Schoolwerth’s latest painting series, Rigged, gives form to this collective delirium in a two-part exhibition at Petzel Gallery, New York and Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin. At stake is how we see the world and ourselves in an age of hyper-mediation, in which subjectivity is a constant visual exercise in construction and manipulation. Schoolwerth presents tableaux of figures whose exteriors collapse away from blank, mannequin-like husks: in one painting, a couple liquefies into wavy noodles inside a Vegas love suite. In another, a man’s face stretches tautly across the hide of a unicorn. Schoolwerth employs computer-generated imagery (CGI) to literally detach a person’s outside from their inside, a splitting of public presentation from private interiority. These animations produce the support onto which Schoolwerth layers a digital rendering of a relief modelling the painting’s space, and, finally, impasto paint. Faces are given dramatic gestural painting treatment, exaggerating their countenances in size and affect: Modern painting and social media share a preoccupation with the face as a stand-in for an expressive gestalt. Exuberant and artificial, programmatic yet barely regulated, CGI promises an expressive free-for-all governed by endless reproduction. In short: This is deepfakes gone wild. Every discrete aspect in these paintings, from a burnt-out Soviet factory to an ascot-wearing yachter, were purchased by Schoolwerth on sites like Turbosquid and CGTrader, global marketplaces where animation artists from Ukraine to Brazil sell their CGI wares. Purchasing more than 200 lower-end figures and set dressings, Schoolwerth’s casual encounters with globalized capitalism—at once anonymous and direct—mirror the transactional tenor of other, less explicit marketplaces like Tinder and LinkedIn. Schoolwerth collects characters whose expertly generic names (“Caucasian man naked,” “Alexandra pro bundle pack”) avail them equally to discourse on appropriation and authorship—and to the facile meditation of one-click shopping. To animate these characters’ jelly-like constitutions, Schoolwerth intervened by breaking the “rig,” a hinge system that prescribes a character’s movement, not unlike a skeleton. Breaking the rig requires disconnecting a character’s surface, known as the “mesh,” from the underlying infrastructure to which it is mapped. This process releases the image of the body to slide around on the rig like a cloth stretched over a bowling ball, a process Schoolwerth calls “UV map shifts.” The formal possibilities are as endless as the binary digits that subtend the system: producing a portrait in the style of Picasso’s Cubism (a pathology unto itself) is achieved in Blender and other free internet software used by 12-year-olds across the world. This technology is easily obtained, but that does not imply democracy or liberation. Schoolwerth presents, with psychedelic clarity, how online platforms are not stable places to be a person. The violent lexicon of CGI animation—the system that mediates most images we see in each day—dissects people like an anatomical chop shop. The flexing of animated muscles are called “deformations”; the surface of a character is a “texture file,” attaching the texture file to its underlying polygonal mesh is called “binding the skin.” Schoolwerth mines these linguistic excesses and other irruptions of meaning that the “rig” lets loose. The heterotopias in Rigged pull back the curtain on the visual logic of 3D-modeling, which is largely agnostic to bygone value judgments like taste and beauty (quantity, not quality, is the rule). Instead, hyper-mediation has turned images—for Schoolwerth and Turbosquid vendors alike—into a de-facto runoff grate for a torrent of anxieties: Who gets to be a person, to be alive, to be animated, to be on display? This unease around who counts and who doesn’t is endemic to the word “rigged.” And in breaking the rig, Schoolwerth binds these constituent tensions to the intersubjective pandemonium they unleash. –Lucy Hunter, 2021

Joe Bradley

Bhoga Marga

March 3, 2022 - April 30, 2022
“The mind is like a garbage can. Full of ideas. Not only from this life, but from previous lives. There is a lot of stuff in that mind. But in truth, there is no mind. Everything is unborn. Take a tree for instance. What gave birth to a tree? A seed. Where did the seed come from? Another Tree. There is no answer. Worms. Bugs. Human Beings. Who gave them birth? Flowers. The Moon. The Sun. The Stars. I tell you, none of these things exist. There is no birth. No death. It is all nonsense. Do you know what anything is? For instance, a cat. What is a cat? It was here when you arrived. It is all imagination. A dream. The first rule is divine ignorance. Nothing Actually Exists.” —Sri Robert Adams Petzel is pleased to present Bhoga Marga, an exhibition of new paintings and drawings by Joe Bradley, on view from March 3rd to April 30th at the gallery’s Chelsea location. The show marks the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, and his first in six years in New York City.

Rezi van Lankveld

Soft Sun

February 16, 2022 - March 26, 2022
Petzel is pleased to present Soft Sun, an exhibition of new paintings by Amsterdam-based artist Rezi van Lankveld, on view at the gallery’s Upper East Side location from February 16 to March 26. The show marks van Lankveld’s fourth with the gallery and her first in five years in New York City. The paintings featured in Soft Sun are made in the spirit and the excitement of viewing the unknown. They express the idea of the infinite potential image and are impressions of the internal experience that takes place through observation: a short circuit in the brain, like déjà vu; seeing one thing in a flash and in the same flash that thing becomes something else. If there would be a motif in van Lankveld’s paintings, it would be this visual encounter with the unexpected, which is ultimately about movement in painting. The artist seeks to capture the moment of metamorphosis. Viewers will notice both a continuation and an advancement of van Lankveld’s signature figurative yet abstract style in these new and intimate paintings. The small-scale Soft Sun works evoke visions of landscapes, or perhaps dreamscapes, each subject to one’s unique perception. Light is a constant throughout the Soft Sun series, which van Lankveld describes as having been composed with techniques similar to that of her previous work but with a newfound density. Here, van Lankveld places focus on detail, but with compositions that exude roughness and an air of spontaneity. Every van Lankveld painting is singular and requires a long process to achieve their finished state. Van Lankveld is not necessarily telling a story through her paintings but is rather composing them in a way that suggests a choreography of forms that come together in a highly constructed manner. More than anything, van Lankveld wants to impress the expressive nature of the Soft Sun works upon the viewer, with no need for guesswork beyond each painting’s image.

Allan McCollum

Traces: Past and Present

January 14, 2022 - February 19, 2022
Petzel is pleased to present Traces: Past and Present, an exhibition of three individual projects by artist Allan McCollum, on view in Chelsea, at 456 West 18th Street, from January 14 to February 19. Featuring The Writer’s Daughter, The Shapes Buttons from Oregon, and A Symphony for the Hearing Impaired, this special multi-layered showing marks McCollum’s eleventh exhibition with the gallery and the first time that these bodies of work will be seen in New York. “Many of my projects have involved ‘traces’ of things from the past, reproducing various types of fossils, for instance,” McCollum has said. For Traces: Past and Present, McCollum continues his decades-long investigation into the remembrance and significance of things past. “Attempting to find or construct meaning can involve looking at traces of things that have been lost or only partially remembered and working to integrate them into the way we see the world around us.” An alternate version of The Writer’s Daughter was originally presented at Marc Selwyn Fine Art in Beverly Hills in 2021. McCollum said of the project at the time: “A few years ago, I became hypnotized looking at a page on which a highly intelligent two-year-old named Minu Mansoor-McKee, the daughter of a writer friend and art historian Jaleh Mansoor, had attempted to write letters and words before she fully understood the concept of language and the way it can be written. As with all of us, Minu’s attempt to record meaning on paper took time and effort. Jaleh let me have a page of Minu’s attempts at writing. I have spent years looking at it, feeling enchanted by the way the child searched for meaning and how I continue to try to understand my life. Each one of her 108 different attempts to construct little shapes of letters became symbols for me. Without fully understanding what led me to do it, I started scanning the shapes, enlarging and tracing them onto papers with ink, and framing each one. Framing things invites greater meaning to be discovered in what finds itself inside the frame, and the meaning will evolve more over time.” McCollum began conceptualizing The Shapes Buttons from Oregon, part of his ongoing Shapes project, in 2015, collaborating and communicating via email with Bend, Oregon-based artist and button maker Delia Paine. Throughout this process, produced in the spirit of the WPA, McCollum would send Paine the templates for the buttons, which she made, using colored backgrounds for each separate button idea, at Via Delia, her local shop, and in her studio. “He would create the shapes and bring them to me, and I would turn them into buttons,” Paine has said. Together McCollum and Paine created over 5,000 buttons. The project was previously installed at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon in 2016 and at the ICA Miami in 2020/21. It was inspired by the “Independence Rock” historical site on the Oregon Trail in Wyoming, where thousands of pioneer travelers to the Western frontier added their signatures to Father De Smet’s register, traces of which can still be seen today. In a world premiere at Petzel, and to accompany and enhance these bodies of work, McCollum also presents A Symphony for the Hearing Impaired, a video installation composed of a slideshow of over 1,000 screen grabs from movies and television shows, wherein the closed captions describe music, or traces of sounds that may never be heard again. True to McCollum form, every one of these subtitles is unique.

Zorawar Sidhu and Rob Swainston


January 6, 2022 - February 12, 2022
Petzel is pleased to present Doomscrolling, an exhibition of woodblock prints by the artists Zorawar Sidhu and Rob Swainston, on view at the gallery’s Upper East Side location from January 6 to February 12, 2022. Doomscrolling, a relatively recent activity induced by disturbing, perhaps mind-bending, current events, is “the act of spending an excessive amount of screen time devoted to the absorption of negative news. Increased consumption of predominately negative news may result in harmful psychophysiological responses.” This exhibition takes its title and inspiration from this newly diagnosed and addictive compulsion. At the start of the pandemic “I went out every morning on my bike and was photographing Manhattan, but it was empty,” says Swainston, who, like most of us, was experiencing all the hope, anxiety, and fear about everything that was happening in 2020. “We were just like everyone else, obsessed by consuming images of it. All of a sudden, plywood went up on buildings around the city and then I realized the potential of it: Letting something that happened in 2020 be carved onto the plywood used to cover up Manhattan.” The artists contacted various institutions. Several allowed them to come and take their plywood. “Because the plywood was outside, it collected graffiti on it and was weathered by the elements, which is still visible in the prints,” says Sidhu. Swainston and Sidhu collected approximately 120 sheets of plywood. “We are depicting events that are dirty and messy. Having the plywood distressed is a part of the story. The show really comes out of our own ‘doomscrolling,’” Swainston says. Sidhu echoes, “It was an experience of terror through viewing the media of it all.” Doomscrolling is comprised of 18 moments between May 24th, 2020 and January 6th, 2021, the day of the insurrection at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. These dates are tied to iconic images and specific events: The May 24th New York Times cover “U.S. DEATHS NEAR 100,000, AN INCALCULABLE LOSS”; the next day George Floyd is murdered; the day after that the protests begin; Kyle Rittenhouse shoots three people during the protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin; Donald Trump holds the bible upside down after the D.C. Park Police teargas a group of peaceful protesters; the militarized police vehicles; the protestors with their hands up. “The first print we finished was January 6th. So many of these images seem out of place and out of time—and they just don’t even really seem possible,” Swainston says. He and Sidhu have chosen to represent each date as a montage of events to convey the conflicts of ideologies, physical violence, and meanings of these events that are still being negotiated. “If we let them remain only as images we doomscrolled in 2020, they become fixed in the past,” the artists say. “We can be indignant or hopeful about them, but there is nothing we can do. By reconsidering them as montages we are keeping them in the present as ongoing issues, keeping their meanings unfixed, and keeping open the possibility for real social change.” To create the montage effect the artists overlay image upon image, as if scrolling through a computer screen or mobile device. Each image resonates with the ones before and after it, giving dimensionality to the works. Sidhu and Swainston employ art historical references such as rays of light from Albrecht Dürer, hands from Käthe Kollwitz and heavy shadows from Edvard Munch. Woodblock prints are historically a voice of the people. They are the oldest means of visual mass communication and have fueled anti-authoritarian movements for centuries. “When you read a newspaper and ink ends up on your fingers, the information has rubbed into you and you can sort of feel that it’s there, but you still can’t quite figure out what it is,” says Swainston. “As January 6th is re-examined, the way that we look at and remember these images is also evolving,” adds Sidhu. “I think we’ve yet to see the full implications of everything that has happened in the past year and a half.” “The project reminds us that this is still going on,” concludes Swainston. “This is unresolved.”

Maria Lassnig

The Paris Years, 1960–68

November 4, 2021 - December 17, 2021
Petzel is pleased to present Maria Lassnig: The Paris Years, 1960–68, an exhibition of paintings by the Austrian artist that have rarely been seen in the United States. On view at the gallery’s Chelsea location from November 4 through December 17, the show, which includes over 20 important works developed in Lassnig’s studio on rue de Begnolet, covers Lassnig’s formative years in the City of Light. “Though Maria Lassnig only lived in Paris for eight years, it was in her studio on Rue de Bagnolet that she began to fully release herself from aesthetic constraints and developed a sense of freedom that became synonymous with her name. There, Lassnig took up the various isms she explored in her previous paintings—realism, expressionism, surrealism, tachism—and transformed them into something truly autonomous by simultaneously turning more fully to herself, to her sensations, lived experiences, and physical embodiment,” writes Lauren O’Neill-Butler in her essay for the accompanying exhibition catalogue, published by Petzel. Around 1947, as O’Neil-Butler writes, Lassnig “commenced this with drawings called Introspektive Erlebnisse (Introspective Experiences), later developed into Körpergefühlsmalerei (body awareness painting), her term for depicting the parts of her being that she felt as she worked. In Paris, she more fully galvanized a phenomenological approach, developing an awareness that the body and mind are not separate, that whatever manifests on the skin is directly related to one’s thoughts. Lassnig’s turning inward to propel outward became something of a signature style, though her art could never be so neatly pinned down. A line from her 1951/1960 text Painting Formulas sums it up: “Discard the style! You exploit yourself soon enough.” The varied and vital canvases that she made in Paris evince that she was coming into her own, finding her voice, and shedding expectations—you exploit yourself soon enough, so why not put everything on the line, right now? In doing just that Lassnig established her own tradition. Lassnig left Vienna for Paris at a time when she felt there was not space for her in the city’s male-dominated art circles, she proceeded to hold court with contemporaries in France until leaving for her next significant stay, her 12-year residence in New York. There has yet to be much scholarship on this period of Lassnig’s life and work in Paris, and Petzel is pleased to publish the exhibition catalogue, also titled Maria Lassnig: the Paris Years, 1960–1968, which illustrates a portion of this crucial mid-career moment alongside writings from Lassnig’s diaries and letters throughout those years. Additionally, in the Spring of 2022, Petzel will release the English translation of art historian Natalie Lettner’s biography on Lassnig, co-published with Hauser & Wirth.

Ross Bleckner

Heart in the corner of the room

November 3, 2021 - December 17, 2021
Petzel is pleased to present Heart in the corner of the room, Ross Bleckner’s second exhibition with the gallery and his first at our Upper East Side location. The show, a series of paintings all created between 1975–1979, shortly after artist’s time at the California Institute of the Arts, will be on view from November 3 until December 17 on the parlor floor of 35 East 67th Street. This body of work has never been exhibited—not even in past retrospectives—and provides an intriguing and revealing debut look at Bleckner’s earliest years as a painter. Thus far underacknowledged, these works set the tone for Bleckner’s future signature style. For Heart in the corner of the room, Bleckner decided that “I was going to cast a spotlight on the very place I was at psychologically on that stage of my development, on the ‘stage’ that I felt I was literally standing on. I felt trapped in this corner, and I thought: ‘Why not let the light fall on you in that corner. No matter how bad, insecure and inexperienced you feel, you have these ‘big’ feelings about what it means to be an artist.’ I thought: ‘Your embryonic ego wants the light to fall on it.’ That’s what a great many of the paintings that I did in the 70’s were about, the literal, the metaphoric, and I hoped transformative quality of the formal properties and feelings about light in painting.” The artist also tried his hand at Constructivism during this period. “Constructivism was a seminal 20th Century movement,” says Bleckner. “It represented the industrial optimism of the beginning of the 20th century. I saw it as a way to continue to paint and, instead of the coldness of conceptual and minimal work being done, I could use it to continue to find a viability with paint and make paintings in a literal sense. I could ‘construct,’ After hearing so much about the ‘transcendental’ nature of abstraction, I was searching for a way to the ‘real.’ Constructivism became like a grid that could somehow organize my inchoate feelings and thoughts the constructivist ideas were ideals, a kind of Utopia that was interdisciplinary but painting inclusive.” Bleckner was especially interested in Francis Picabia and his whirling machine, as well as Marcel Duchamp (“Bride,” 1912), Laszlo Moholy Nagy (“Architecture or Eccentric Construction,” 1921), and all of Kazimir Malevich (“White on White,” 1918). “I wanted my paintings to vacillate (literally) between restraint and expression. Somewhat cold, geometrical and detached, only to be negotiating with a lot of restrained emotion. Says Bleckner today: “Air, light, a body, lungs and breathing. And, again, we are cornered by an epidemic (in 1980, in 2020). That should humble us enough so that we become re/aware that the beauty in our lives is so fragile because it is always a thin cell membrane away from disaster.” Also on view in the gallery’s third floor private viewing rooms will be three recent paintings by Bleckner. “The paintings from 2020–21 represent the same formal qualities through re-looking at constructivist centers and movement,” says Bleckner. “I did them as ‘experiments’ to try to not look like my paintings and still have in them what no one could not think about during Covid."

Jorge Pardo

All bets are off

September 9, 2021 - October 30, 2021
Petzel Gallery is pleased to announce Cuban American artist Jorge Pardo’s eleventh solo show with Petzel, on view from September 9th to October 30th at the gallery’s Chelsea location. Titled All bets are off, the exhibition will feature over 10 new large-scale paintings, a four-piece custom-built couch, and 7 x 5 foot chandelier, among other works. As is typical of Pardo, these new paintings make one consider the act of looking itself. Each is made up of an accumulation of images, first layered digitally until nearly unrecognizable, and then laser-cut engraved in outline on MDF, and finally hand-painted in acrylic. The resulting objects speak to both sculpture and painting in a signature flamboyant Pardo style. The paintings are abstractions, transformed through the combination of layered imagery, but one cannot call them nonrepresentational, rather, they present distorted forms without the memory of what they represent. No stranger to maximalism, these thoroughly additive works continue an exploration of layered painting that the artist has been developing over many years. Pulled from a wide range of source material, the initial images (typically two to seven layers per painting) are a nonhierarchical amalgamation of personal photographs, works by other artists he admires, or even past pieces of his own, coming to exist in the space between and amongst each other. Pardo is most interested to play with the possibilities, seemingly limitless in this case, as he puts it: “It’s about making them disappear and turn into something else.” The collective patchwork effect allows for just enough difference from painting to painting that they “start to have a dialogue between each other,” says Pardo. Tied to the location of his studio in Mérida, Mexico and Pardo's own Latinx heritage, the works and painting techniques on view also show strong Mexican and Mayan influences, containing frequent references to the cultural aesthetics and materials of the immediate cultural landscape. Other components in the show are a giant multi-colored chandelier titled after gallerist Gisela Capitain, an eccentric couch with painted spine (created through the same process as the paintings) which does not always offer an easy seat, and an unrealized photography project from Pardo’s school years in the late 1980s. Pardo offers that the sculptures are needed so that the paintings act as “photobombs” in the background of the installation. These added objects are reflexive in their own ways – the couch’s unique shape allows people sitting on each side to look at each other but requires them to lay down to do so. The unrealized work is a slide carousel that Pardo had originally planned to apply to Yale graduate school with but never followed through. The application requested candidates to submit their portfolio, yet Pardo wondered, what would happen if you applied with an actual work of art? Instead making a pinhole camera from the carousel with pictures being captured on each slide while traveling within the device. As a whole, the show touches on theories of integration and migration – borrowing from another curious overlap: that of the illusion and movement through space developed in Hans Hoffman’s “push-pull” painting method and sociologist Everett Lee’s Push-Pull theory of geographical migration amongst communities which has helped to define the levels and patterns of human integration. From reusing and repurposing historical material in the canon of painting; to interweaving various forms of image-making; or considering the screen - of the computer, our phones - as a visual problem to work through and from; and the even more human element of relational interaction amongst strangers – Pardo’s goal is to make people engage in the act of looking. The works in All bets are off catch viewers in that process, requiring one to be aware of and rethink how to approach simple acts we do all the time – seeing, sitting, thinking. In doing so, the opportunity for a subtle and accessible confrontation of the history of painting and picture-making itself arises. Alongside the exhibition, there will be an accompanying booklet housing a unique interview between Jorge Pardo and curator Daniela Pérez which follows a format akin to the paintings themselves: developed by repurposing questions originally asked of other artists and posed anew directed to Pardo. As well as the debut of the artist’s newest monograph: Jorge Pardo: Public Projects and Commissions, 1996–2018, a highly anticipated publication that documents over 20 of Pardo’s public works in one volume for the first time. Includes text contributions by Emma Enderby, Maja Hoffman, and Ian Volner, as well as presents twelve of the artist’s never-before-seen “unrealized projects,” discussed in conversation with curator and art historian Hans Ulrich Obrist – available for purchase at the gallery.

Magnus Andersen, Ravi Jackson, Frieda Toranzo Jaeger, Dani Leder, Dana Lok, Leigh Ruple, Lauren Satlowski, Agnes Scherer, Katja Seib

PAGE (NYC) at Petzel

September 8, 2021 - October 30, 2021
Petzel is pleased to present PAGE (NYC), a collaboration with the Tribeca-based gallery. The exhibition debuts new works by Magnus Andersen, Ravi Jackson, Frieda Toranzo Jaeger, Dani Leder, Dana Lok, Leigh Ruple, Lauren Satlowski, Agnes Scherer, and Katja Seib. On view at Petzel’s Upper East side location, this presentation marks the first time Petzel has invited a New York gallery to organize an exhibition in one of its spaces. Curated by Lucas Page, owner of PAGE (NYC), the show brings together a fresh mix of emerging voices from the international scene. Systematic approaches find poetic harmonies in the depiction of refined structures and figurative subject matter. Experiments in pictorial processes devise an extrasensory world with a range of surprising results and unexpected combinations. This group has grit and dynamism, making it happen here and now. The works in the exhibition are a testament to the power and glamour of image. An array of graphic and painterly effects are both inventive and technical, producing an uncanny synthesis of supernatural energies. This group runs the spectrum of hyper visibility, each projecting a unique strain of juicy saturation. The infrared sensors and telekinetic pings jam the airwaves in this composite universe. About PAGE (NYC): PAGE (NYC) is located in Tribeca at 368 Broadway #511. The gallery was founded in 2016 by Lucas Page. The program shares a distinct focus on contemporary painting worldwide and producing original publications. Following the exhibition, a solo presentation by Leigh Ruple, her second with the gallery, opens Fall 2021 at PAGE (NYC).

Jon Pylypchuk

What have we missed

June 24, 2021 - August 6, 2021
Petzel is pleased to present What have we missed, a solo exhibition of new sculptures from Los Angeles-based artist Jon Pylypchuk, on view from June 24th to August 7th on the parlor floor of the gallery's Upper East Side location, at 35 East 67th Street. Presenting a grouping of bronze 'ghost' sculptures (all 2020 & 2021), What have we missed documents a period of intense grief and disbelief for the artist and the world. In many ways, the show's title functions as both a question and a statement, one to be understood as uniquely personal and also collective in the current moment. “I’m more alive steeping in some form of grief or some form of intense experience,” says Pylypchuk. "Grief is the motivator, grief is the awareness of the self, and within that infrastructure of pain you can manufacture a new narrative.” Following the passing of a very dear friend, Pylypchuk found that all he could do was make ghosts for him and of him. The sculptures attempt to assure a memory does not fade, to make someone or something exist again in repeated representation. Cast in bronze and, like many of Pylypchuk’s works, sculpted from pieces of clothing, fabric, underwear, and other found materials, the ghosts appear both frozen in time yet completely emotive – they morph in various states of stilted attempts to cry out, a caring embrace, or sheer shock. Not unlike the many cycles of grief itself. As Pylypchuk states: “The ghosts are interconnected by something as simple as the chemicals they're made of. We accumulate these chemicals throughout our life, what I'm trying to do in a short amount of time is put a life on each one of them. The patina that happens over time for a human, whether it's aging or whether it's accumulation of knowledge is a similar thing I'm just trying to shorten the amount of time that it takes to do that.” In an accompanying essay to the show, titled Jon Pylypchuk; or, The Log Lady, the writer and historian William J. Simmons describes the quirk, materiality, and lasting-ness of the work: "Pylypchuk’s ghosts therefore are also iterations of the inherently collaborative genres of film or theatre, patinaed phantasmagorias that retell lives that have ended and foretell lives just beginning, just as they are products of fingers and casts and metal and the help of his family. Maybe the quirkiest girl of all is the Log Lady, the spinster-clairvoyant of Twin Peaks, who always carries a log that speaks in whispers heard only by her. The log could also be seen as a massive cigarette—a memento mori and a readymade conversation starter." Pylypchuk has utilized ghosts in the past, but recalls them as semi-permanent, appearing in moments of in-between, borrowed, or expectant time. For this occurrence, they have been cemented beyond their hardened exterior. As the artist offers, “Permanent ghosts are the ones you realize you won’t share the rest of your path with…Every life is a debt that must be paid and this year there were a lot of bills due.”

Huma Bhabha, Joe Bradley, Jennifer Paige Cohen, Jason Fox, Daniel Hesidence, Rodney McMillian, Xie Nanxing, John Outterbridge, Dana Schutz


May 26, 2021 - August 6, 2021
Petzel is pleased to present Time-Slip, a group exhibition featuring works by Huma Bhabha, Joe Bradley, Jennifer Paige Cohen, Jason Fox, Daniel Hesidence, Rodney McMillian, Xie Nanxing, John Outterbridge, and Dana Schutz, on view from May 26 – August 7, 2021 at the gallery’s Chelsea location. Time-Slip brings together paintings, video, and sculptures that demonstrate nonlinear time frames; an idea of the past, projected into the future, actualized in the present. The artworks in this show share an explicit relationship with our collective repressed histories, be they arcane and deep, or recent and raw. Each artist demonstrates the ability to engage with multiple time periods at once, oscillating between them with a kindred awareness – the artist as time traveler, and the body as a vessel holding multiple time scales. With immense seed changes in our landscape, the artists that come together in this show offer us the opportunity to experience differential intents, subjectivities, and histories to move us through a slippery sense of reality. Petzel Gallery thanks all the participating artists and their galleries for their collaboration: CANADA, David Zwirner, Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, Salon 94, and Tilton Gallery.

Hanne Darboven, Wade Guyton, Allan McCollum, Stephen Prina, Samson Young

May 4, 2021 - June 19, 2021
In conjunction with Hanne Darboven Europa 97, also on view, on the third floor of the Upper East Side gallery, is an additional work by Darboven, titled Dostojewski, Monat Januar (1990), which chronicles the work of the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky. Alongside this work, is a unique grouping of artists in the Petzel program who have been influenced by Darboven’s career and impact. With contributions from Allan McCollum, Stephen Prina, Wade Guyton, and the first Petzel showing of work by Hong-Kong based multimedia artist Samson Young, these artists demonstrate, in their own ways, the incorporation of seriality, systems of notation, record-keeping, and appropriation in their work that is indebted to the pioneering efforts of Darboven. Centered around Dostojewski, Monat Januar, one can see Darboven’s systematized visual language and ideas of chronicling reworked and expanded upon in the silhouettes of Allan McCollum, or the entire ArtPace, San Antonio, 2000 mailing list, printed and stamped by Stephen Prina. In a suite of twenty-seven drawings made from pages torn from the same book, Wade Guyton employs his signature method of printing a digital file over found imagery, the visual repetition of which belies the uniqueness of this machine-generated mark making. Samson Young has also relied on the creation of his own unique systems to develop various series in his work. Young's compositions function like active-drones that use repetition to build and move textures, at times playing in unison, and arranged in a sequence of evolving configurations in others, these processes are intrinsically connected with the oeuvre of artists of Darboven's era. Much like how Darboven rejected the conventional concept of art, producing her works instead in the mode of writing and books, often constituting installations of hundreds of identically framed pages of diagrams, columns of numbers, and constructivist drawings—these artists too have undertaken the task of recording the passing of time, which is, one could say perhaps the single most universal human experience. Despite the inherent conceptual nature of Darboven’s work, these contemporary examples help to show just how much her ideas and ideals were deeply rooted in daily human life—bearing witness to this collective temporality in minute detail. Petzel is especially delighted to present these works in tandem and tie Darboven’s legacy to artists working today. In these chronicles, lays a complicated web of feeling, memory, and diverse lived experience. In turn, Darboven and those who have followed in her footsteps, declare fiercely the importance of transparency, documentation, and reflection. Notions that in these current discorded times, are needed more than ever.

Hanne Darboven

Europa 97

May 4, 2021 - June 19, 2021
"My secret is that I don't have one." — Hanne Darboven, 1991 Petzel Gallery is pleased to present Europa 97, the gallery’s first solo exhibition of Hanne Darboven opening May 2021 at its Upper East Side location, in collaboration with Sprüth Magers. Revered as one of the most important figures in postwar German art, Hanne Darboven was a prominent force among the artists that pioneered the conceptual and minimal art movements of her time. She worked widely across artistic writing, visual art, and minimalist musical compositions, with the visualization of time marking the foundation of her practice. The conceptual artist’s spatializing of time was developed early in her career, following a two-year stay in New York in the late 1960s, in which she established her now characteristic guiding principles of serial sequences, patterns, logic, mathematic formulas, and data translated into graphic or numerical representations. In New York, Darboven developed close friendships with artist cohorts including Lawrence Weiner, Sol LeWitt, Carl André, and others, thus cementing her influence on the theoretical and aesthetic foundations of conceptual and minimal art. She continued an active artistic discourse with these fellow artists throughout her life and Petzel is especially pleased to have the opportunity to show her work in New York City once again. For its debut exhibition, Petzel will show Darboven’s influential work Europa 97, a collection of 384 individual pages in which the artist allocated her daily calculations for the entire year of 1997 according to a system or cross-arithmetic calculations. The work is broken into 12 blocks representative of the months, each with 32 pages. The pages that extend beyond a given month’s number of days are partly completed with collaged color photographs of the blue seal of Europe that is stamped onto license plates. Europa 97 references the political events of 1997, which was declared the “European Year against Racism and Xenophobia” by The European Union, who had been dedicating each year since 1983 to a sociopolitical theme to be the focus of outreach work and funding programs. The declaration for the year was formed against the backdrop of the Treaty of Amsterdam which, when signed in 1997, was the first modification to the founding treaty of the European Union since established in 1992. The adjustment notably included an expansion of the legislative battle against discrimination on the basis of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or faith, handicap, age, or sexual orientation. The highlighted events of the year are by no means thought of as a major historical moment, but Darboven calls attention to the political processes and decisions that were imperative in setting fundamental order to the association of states and liberal-democratic concord following the formation of the E.U. A modified form of Europa 97 hangs in the lobby and press room of the German Bundestag’s CDU/CSU party. Also on view, on the third floor of the Upper East Side gallery, is an additional work by Darboven, titled Dostojewski, Monat Januar (1990), which chronicles the work of the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky. Alongside this work, is a unique grouping of artists in the Petzel program who have been influenced by Darboven’s career and impact. With contributions from Allan McCollum, Stephen Prina, Wade Guyton, and the first Petzel showing of work by Hong-Kong based multimedia artist Samson Young, these artists demonstrate, in their own ways, the incorporation of seriality, systems of notation, record-keeping, and appropriation in their work that is indebted to the pioneering efforts of Darboven. Centered around Dostojewski, Monat Januar, one can see Darboven’s systematized visual language and ideas of chronicling reworked and expanded upon in the silhouettes of Allan McCollum, or the entire ArtPace, San Antonio, 2000 mailing list, printed and stamped by Stephen Prina. In a suite of twenty-seven drawings made from pages torn from the same book, Wade Guyton employs his signature method of printing a digital file over found imagery, the visual repetition of which belies the uniqueness of this machine-generated mark making. Samson Young has also relied on the creation of his own unique systems to develop various series in his work. Young's compositions function like active-drones that use repetition to build and move textures, at times playing in unison, and arranged in a sequence of evolving configurations in others, these processes are intrinsically connected with the oeuvre of artists of Darboven's era. Much like how Darboven rejected the conventional concept of art, producing her works instead in the mode of writing and books, often constituting installations of hundreds of identically framed pages of diagrams, columns of numbers, and constructivist drawings – these artists too have undertaken the task of recording the passing of time, which is, one could say perhaps the single most universal human experience. Despite the inherent conceptual nature of Darboven’s work, these contemporary examples help to show just how much her ideas and ideals were deeply rooted in daily human life – bearing witness to this collective temporality in minute detail. Petzel is especially delighted to present these works in tandem and tie Darboven’s legacy to artists working today. In these chronicles, lays a complicated web of feeling, memory, and diverse lived experience. In turn, Darboven and those who have followed in her footsteps, declare fiercely the importance of transparency, documentation, and reflection. Notions that in these current discorded times, are needed more than ever.

Jorge Pardo, Seth Price, Pieter Schoolwerth, Emily Mae Smith

Works on Paper

March 25, 2021 - April 24, 2021
Petzel Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of works on paper by artists Jorge Pardo, Seth Price, Pieter Schoolwerth, and Emily Mae Smith, on view from March 25 to April 24, 2021 on the parlor floor of the gallery’s Upper East Side location at 35 East 67th Street. In this grouping we encounter the many forms – both physical and cerebral – that drawings can assume. Naturally, many of the works on view represent an element of the artist’s process in developing the larger-scale works we have come to know them by. Pieter Schoolwerth regularly uses models to build his multi-layered canvases which incorporate imagery from a range of art historical and pop culture references. Akin to the sculptural models he utilizes to form his more recent paintings, the works on view here represent 2D versions of a similar process. In them, one can see Schoolwerth’s template for the painting to come – each made up of traced elements from an existing (and very well known) classical artwork, drawn on to acetate and then layered to build a new body from the collected fragments – the manipulated Mylar still reflecting his fingerprints from a decade ago. Revealing the midpoint between the original painting and Schoolwerth’s contemporary version, he notes, "I thought of each collage in this series as a multi-layered ‘script,’ which guided my effort in composing a chimerical body out of images from the art historical past.” Emily Mae Smith presents studies on paper for recently completed paintings (all 2021). Smith says, “when working on large compositions I often find areas within which, if isolated, would be interesting paintings themselves.” Here she has drawn out two moments in watercolor from the background of The Studio (Speculative Objects), the kettle nestled in a nook and a crucifixion scene high-up on the wall - both representing a kind of “martyr as an industrious figure, who has worked without recognition until sacrificed,” says Smith. Two soft pastel drawings are also on view, bringing out the importance of color in Smith’s work: “I enjoy how this medium is very intense in pigment - the color story and color movement in my work is significant- the form does convey a meaning- these passages of color create movement of thought.” In Seth Price’s new drawings, a rotation of gouache, pencil, and enamel mix on paper and Mylar to create mysterious anatomical forms. Some seemingly overly conjoined with too many joints, others appear as if in a yoga pose revealing an internally misplaced ribcage – the skeleton flipped to create a headless creature of 4-legs. The illustrated dismemberment concedes in turn, a profound wholeness, a new representational form that confronts our supposed truths. As described by Price, "Drawing is the most immediate of forms, and it allows ideas and impulses to crystallize with barely any mediation. In these works, that immediacy allows some of my longstanding interests to come right through, whether it’s the human body in extremis, or the confusion of inside and outside, front and back, negative and positive, or my interest in transparency, and plastic." These new works are particularly interesting in dialogue with Price’s silhouettes and other works on Mylar as well Schoolwerth’s similarly fragmented drawings on the same material. And lastly, Jorge Pardo rather inverts the traditional steps of a ‘study’ – creating the drawing after completing a painting based on the same imagery. As Pardo explains, “drawings are sometimes interesting because they invoke a projection of development of something and in this case, they’re kind of the opposite – they’re made after a painting that was made using the same image. I think it’s interesting in this particular instance that the drawings don’t help the painting and they’re not helped by the painting.” To create these new works, first the image is composed digitally, then the outlines are printed on paper, next color is added, and finally, the moire pattern is overlaid or printed on top to create a raised effect – a very similar process to Pardo’s recent engraved MDF lightbox paintings. “The drawings, I hope, point to the source of the image, which in this case is the computer screen - not an aspirational image, or something I think is amazing and need to express, not an image that challenges what an image is…I think that the landscape with the most currency right now is a screen: it’s a monitor, it’s a phone, it’s a tv, it’s a storefront. Landscape used to be this kind of cultural mirror of a lot of our fears and a lot of our projections about beauty and order and other worldliness – the new mirror, the optic that we use like landscape now is the screen, so I want to make the screen,” Pardo says.

Simon Denny


March 18, 2021 - May 15, 2021
Petzel Gallery is pleased to announce Mine, a new exhibition by Simon Denny opening Thursday, March 18, 2021 at the gallery’s Chelsea location. Mine is the culmination of a multi-year project exploring themes of technology, labor, and our relationship with the earth. Denny has been developing this body of work since 2016 with major exhibitions in 2019 at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Tasmania (Australia) and 2020 at K21 – Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf (Germany). This will be Denny’s fourth solo exhibition with Petzel. Focused on the interconnections between data mining, mineral mining, and the mechanization of labor, Mine brings together a collection of recent works including several large cardboard sculptures imitating giant automated mining machines; a series of wall-mounted paper reliefs and printed vitrines; and a new Augmented Reality sculpture based on a 2019 patent drawing filed by for a delivery worker replacement drone. Denny’s artwork raises questions about the effects of further automation on the limited jobs still left in increasingly mechanized sectors such as mining, service, and logistics. What happens as the labor force shrinks in these traditional industries? How will individuals and worker communities dialogue with those in power in the future? Where will the leverage they once brought now come from? Amazon’s drone design contains a hot air balloon, recalling the speculative balloon-based flying machine epoch of defining technological developments such as hot air balloons, air ships, or Zeppelins, that have become symbols of both achievement and caution in centuries past. Denny's new sculpture projects an animated AR model of a revolving, rocky, mineral-rich, planet Earth onto the drone’s balloon bulge. This vision of Earth-as-resource is borrowed from the advertising materials of one of Amazon’s most prominent data services clients: the multinational mining group Rio Tinto. Spinning inside the body of the Zeppelin drone, the “Earth-rock” transforms Amazon's worker-replacement model into a raw terrestrial globe, without oceans or other representations of life. Embedded in the exhibition is Extractor, a playable board game that also functions as a take-home catalogue. Players collect data in the form of tokens, which they must stack on plastic-molded racks and place in cloud services to monetize what they have mined and thus win the game. The hybrid sculptures-cum-display units presenting the boxed games mirror the dynamics of the monopolistic platform businesses that control much of our internet infrastructure. Denny’s Mine reflects not only upon the near future, but also on the conditions of the present—unearthing real designs for machines that confront us with our own sublime and troubling counterparts. The work continues an artistic tradition of interpreting technological production as keys to understanding our environment and the forces that impact it.

Joyce Pensato

Batman vs. Spiderman

January 15, 2021 - March 20, 2021
In collaboration with the Joyce Pensato Estate, Petzel Gallery is pleased to announce the exhibition Batman vs. Spiderman from January 15 – February 27, 2021 at its Upper East Side location, 35 East 67th Street, Parlor Floor. “I was resisting working with the traditional still life—apples and pears and all that crap. I just fell in love with Batman. I think it was the ears.”1 The exhibition will consist of over fifteen charcoals on paper from the mid-1970s of the cartoon characters Batman and Spiderman and a selection of enamels on paper from the 2000s of Mickey Mouse and other characters, most of which have never been exhibited publicly. In the mid-1970s while a student at the New York Studio School, Joyce Pensato found herself at odds with the traditional pedagogy of a still life drawing class, frustrated and unable to find “life” in a still life. At the encouragement of her teacher and mentor, Mercedes Matter, the artist decided to incorporate her own language, which took its first form in the life-size cut out of Batman, the fictional superhero created by DC Comics, that the artist found discarded on the street and dragged into her studio. It was by posing the cut out with traditional still life elements, such as a chair, for example, that the artist began to assume her distinctive voice of melding Pop iconography with rigorous artistic technique, resulting in charcoals on paper of Batman and Spiderman wrestling with other, more traditional still life elements in the picture plane. Superman made a brief appearance as well. In a question and answer with Faye Hirsh in Art in America in 2012, Pensato replied of her interest in Batman: “Yes, he’s mysterious, he has a mask on him. And you don’t know what’s behind.”2 Yet in Pensato’s drawings the invincible caped crusader seems to mightily struggle with a chair or doll, while Spiderman interacts with the chair as though it’s a barre class. In her insightful way, the artist brings these masked superheroes ironically down to earth. For her enamels on paper in the 2000s, Pensato continued her interest in the disembodied head of cartoon characters, facing frontal as though in a passport photo, a white visage on a black background. The grainy, scattershot effect, which the artist achieved by blotting newspaper onto the enamel while still wet, seems to reference an FBI “Most Wanted” alert. In fact, Pensato sometimes referred to these enamels and some of her paintings as “mug shots,” even titling a series of enamels on paper from the early 2000s “Wanted.” Even on a best day, no criminal looks well in a mug shot; in Pensato’s hands, Batman, Snoopy, Tony the Tiger, and her dog Max look particularly disheveled and despondent. Akin to monoprints, these works proved a harbinger of the artist’s paintings to come from the mid-2000s until her passing in 2019.

Joyce Pensato

Fuggetabout It (Redux)

January 15, 2021 - March 6, 2021
In collaboration with the Joyce Pensato Estate, Petzel Gallery is pleased to announce the exhibition Fuggetabout It (Redux) from January 15 – February 27, 2021 at its Chelsea location, 456 West 18th Street. In 2012 Pensato premiered her installation “Fuggetabout It” at Petzel Gallery on West 22nd Street to commemorate her beloved studio on Olive Street in East Williamsburg, where she had worked for thirty-two years and had lost in a landlord/tenant dispute in 2011. The move after three decades prompted a re-evaluation and packing of hundreds upon hundreds of objects and items of all manner, including: stuffed animals; figurines; posters, books, invitation cards, and other paper ephemera; milk crates; furniture, both broken and intact; paint cans and paintbrushes, among others. Almost every object had been paint splattered by being at one time or another in proximity to the artist’s working space, which shifted from area to area in the studio, a cavernous, stand-alone space that was once a dance hall. Both collectively and at times singularly these objects were the artist’s inspiration, and Pensato found it a fitting tribute and auspicious time to share them publicly as a glimpse into her process. About this decision, the artist told Faye Hirsh in an interview with Art in America “I felt it was time I could say ‘This is who I am.’ I feel confident.” Critics and curators were quick to take notice. Of Pensato’s emptying her studio into a Chelsea gallery, The New Yorker summed up the exhibition: “Other artists have emptied their studios into galleries, but none so fetchingly as Pensato on the occasion of a move from her Williamsburg digs of thirty-two years. Her big, fast, runny paintings of vestigial cartoon faces prove to have emerged amid great, spattered messes of paint cans, orphaned furniture, stapled-up photographs and ephemera and many, many distressed stuffed animals and effigies of characters from Disney, “Looney Tunes,” “The Simpsons,” “Sesame Street,” “South Park,” and with apparent special ardor, “Batman.” Being Joyce Pensato comes off as a bohemian consummation devoutly to be wished.” In 2014 the artist presented a second version of the installation at Lisson, London; and in late 2017 she presented a scaled down version at the inaugural exhibition “The Everywhere Studio” at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. Petzel Gallery is honored to present this version of the installation “Fuggetabout It (Redux)” under the care of the artist’s estate. In addition to “Fuggetabout it (Redux)” on view will be a selection of Pensato’s “eyeball” paintings. Inspired by the cartoon characters Felix the Cat, Krazy Kat, and Sesame Street’s Elmo, among other characters with exaggerated and bulging eyes, the artist usually excised any reference to a body leaving a severed head and gaping eyes to fill the picture plane. In these paintings the eyeballs appear in various iterations as astonished, frightened, diabolical, pleading, paranoid, or befuddled. In an interview with Ali Subotnick in 2013, the artist remarked: “Keep in mind that I am working from images that are already distorted. I also think about the expression I want to use; for example, scary, dumb or sad. The images have to have life. I just keep working and changing the image until it feels right. I erase a lot. It’s like measuring. The expression has to be the way I want. It is like action painting but it’s not just about the action or abstract expressionism.” In a 2008 exhibition review in the Village Voice, R.C. Baker wrote: “The organs of sight figure prominently in all these images, though they are less windows onto the soul than caverns dripping stalactites or, in the case of Homer, a cascade of white rivulets recalling the austere exuberance of Pat Steir’s ‘Waterfall’ canvases.” In her brutalization of these visages, Pensato forewent showing the viewer an inner contemplative life for one perhaps of accusation. Wrenching these characters from their Pop culture lives and into an Abstract Expressionist world, the artist forced the viewer to hold and make sense of two seemingly disparate existences. Finally, the exhibition will present a selection of large-scale works on paper. Petzel is pleased to premiere the 115 ½ x 113 ½ inch drawing “Daisy” from 2012. The character’s iris-less eyes, smiling duck beak, and outstretched arms will greet the viewer upon entering the show. In her works on paper, Pensato often incorporated pastels, a departure from her usual palette of black, white and silver in her paintings. The use of pastels in her drawings had a freeing effect for the artist, and later in her career in her large-scale works on paper, color took on a more prominent role.

Thomas Eggerer


November 13, 2020 - December 19, 2020
Petzel Gallery is pleased to present Corridor, a solo exhibition of seven new paintings by German artist Thomas Eggerer. On view from November 13 to December 23, the show marks Eggerer’s seventh solo show with Petzel, and his first at the gallery’s Upper East Side location at 35 East 67th Street. Corridor will debut a large-scale painting that Eggerer began the drawing preparations for two years ago, and an accompanying series of works developed at the beginning of 2020. Albeit not originally conceived as a reaction to the current moment, as a whole the show speaks readily to the social and political unrest of present times. The exhibition takes its name from its central painting, Corridor, a massive composition featuring roughly 300 figures uniformly dressed in an orange top and, seemingly, involved in some sort of protest, event, or march. On one hand, the painting underperforms ideas of a vivid street protest, while alluding to the modernist motive of the “mass,” yet the quantity of figures assembled does not add up to a mass size and features no singular focal point. While Eggerer has produced other colossal, multi-figure paintings in the past, Corridor, is formally the most challenging one. This work introduces geometric shapes (rectangles in the form of posters, circles in the shape of umbrellas, tents and semi-circles in the form of curved banners) and combines them with an underlying diagrammatic street plan. Questions of voluntary action, authority, and control are always embedded in Eggerer’s complex multi-figurative works. In Corridor, surveilling power is granted to the viewer, who alone is able to scan the entire scene with a birds-eye-view. Akin to his interest in the work of German modernist printmaker Gerd Arntz, the figures in Corridor are not rendered with an intent to realism. Like other small-sized figures in Eggerer’s work they seem to, rather, be derived from toy-like figurines, which emphasizes their modular, standardized character. On first sight, many of the details seem to conform to the visuals of street protests, however, upon further inspection, the scene is eerily devoid of any carnivalesque exuberance or emotional expression. The posters and banners held up by the figures are monochrome and blank, not bearing any inscription or message. Flanked on both sides by spectators donning the same orange uniform, the crowd seems to perform a muted, somewhat ritualistic procession. There is an emphasis on the parameters of the arena and, like when in a corridor, the inevitability of moving forward. Corridor is contextualized by a group of paintings featuring figures sitting on a scaffolding. They also hold up empty signs, the monochrome posters generating an ambivalent gesture. They appear both oriented outward, displaying an invisible message to an imagined audience, while simultaneously seeming to have a protective function, as if shielding themselves from unwelcome intrusion. In these paintings, the perspective of “corridor” is reversed. Here the viewer is positioned underneath the scaffolding, looking up to the figures. However, only fragments of the bodies are visible. Eggerer seems uninterested in depicting distinct bodies as intact individual entities. Instead, the viewer is confronted with dangling or propped up legs and feet, agglomerations of predominantly male body fragments assembled in a multi-perspectival collage. The erotic charge in these paintings derives from both the fetishistic display of the rendered flesh and the subtle interplay of what is exposed and what is concealed. The works in Corridor appear to carry a faint echo of propagandistic imagery, like that of socialist realism, while the smaller than life-size figures on the elevated stage enforce the association of a puppet theatre, where actors are being held up by invisible strings or collapsing onto the scaffolding floor. According to Freud, the uncanniness of the puppet derives from the fact that it appears unclear if it is dead or alive. Eggerer’s figures don’t resemble dolls, but their unemotional demeanor combined with the fragmentation and cropping of their bodies brings his realism closer to the puppets and automatons of Surrealism and Dadaism than to a more traditional type of Realism, which often engages in less conflicted representations of the intact bipedal human.

Derek Fordjour


November 12, 2020 - December 19, 2020
Featuring Fly Away, a puppet show experience, with two performances daily. What does it look like, entail and mean to attend to, care for, comfort, and defend, those already dead, those dying and those living lives consigned to the possibility of always-imminent death, life lived in the presence of death…It means work. It is work: hard emotional, physical and intellectual work that demands vigilant attendance to the needs of the dying, to ease their way, and also to the needs of the living. —Christina Sharpe, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being Petzel Gallery is pleased to present SELF MUST DIE, a solo exhibition event by New York-based artist Derek Fordjour. The show, Fordjour’s first with the gallery, is an offering of creative labor in response to our current moment, a deeply personal and collective state of anxiety around death and hyper-visible racial violence. It examines the nature of martyrdom, vulnerabilities inherent to living in a Black body, performance of competency, and the liminal space existing between autonomy and control. In SELF MUST DIE, Fordjour interrogates the inevitability of actual death, made more urgent by the realities of a global pandemic, and points to the aspirational death of the artist’s ego brought into focus by a burgeoning career. It is both cultural manifesto and personal declaration. The show is comprised of three parts: VESTIBULE, a site-specific sculptural installation; Fly Away, a live puppetry art performance; and a suite of new paintings. VESTIBULE offers a collection of sculptural objects imbued with biblical allegory and the spirit of James Cone’s Black Theology of Liberation. It refashions the gallery as a secular yet sacred space of memorial. Among its features, the small entry compels visitors to undergo a destabilizing bodily shift that elicits an intimate and reorienting experience. A directional light from above slowly combs the entire room, invoking both searchlight and spotlight, ideas central to the recent death of Breonna Taylor. Constructed of bituminous coal and wrought iron, Taylor Memorial hangs from above. Fly Away, a collaboration between Fordjour and award-winning puppeteer Nick Lehane, is performed by a stellar cast, with an original score composed by John Aylward and performed live by oboist Hassan Anderson. The puppet is a Fordjour-designed, hand-sculpted figure crafted by Robert Maldonado. The protagonist’s narrative arc rises and falls along a journey of personal discovery. Larger themes that course through Fordjour’s body of work become resonant. Fly Away performances are scheduled at 2pm and 5pm daily. Tickets are free and available upon request. For additional information on scheduling, COVID-19 safety precautions and reservations, please visit Spanning two galleries are several new paintings, executed in Fordjour’s signature collage technique, representing the latest developments in his studio practice. The first is a suite of paintings based on Black funerary tradition. The second gallery presents a broad range of subjects including several at monumental scale.

Stefanie Heinze

Frail Juice

October 7, 2020 - November 7, 2020
Petzel Gallery is pleased to present Frail Juice, a solo exhibition of new paintings and their corresponding drawings by Berlin-based artist Stefanie Heinze. On view from October 7 to November 7, on the parlor floor of Petzel’s Upper East Side gallery, the show marks Heinze’s debut exhibition at Petzel and second solo show in New York. Encompassing six paintings (all 2020), and four works on paper — two shown as double-sided drawings on pedestals — the works in the show explore the dissolution of historical norms and the paradoxes that arise when investigating power structures. Heinze works from a process of coupling collaged drawings to paintings, starting on paper not strictly as studies but as companions. For Heinze, the act of drawing and collaging is a form of intuitive notetaking that then becomes a retracing of thoughts, almost like attempting to remember a dream, when applied to canvas. She aims to portray the familiar in ways she feels she has not yet seen; relatable objects take on new identities, complicated within the painting process and the translation from lines and ink into a repetition of shapes that fall somewhere between the figurative and the abstract. Her colors work in unexpected ways in vividly subversive worlds, what might first appear as a surrealist landscape will, in fact, turn out to be something else entirely. For this show, Heinze’s signature fantastic and impossible encounters, composed of playful, transformative, and (a)sexual motifs, are on full display. In these works, Heinze gives emphasis to the “small beings” — the subordinate, the banal — as memory mixes with utopian visions in surprising moments across canvas. She extracts the more indigestible themes of everyday life into fluid landscapes of absurd creations where giant eggplants and raspberry globules whiz around the composition, circling a puppy donning makeup, or a professor wearing many sets of glasses resting on multiple noses. The exhibition is made up, in part, by two large diptychs of oil and acrylic on canvas — A Hollow Place in a Solid Body and Innerspring. In the former, a yellow canary, morphs into various states of being, ghostlike, while attempting to find a safe surrounding in a strident neon orange-pink background. Illustrated in plastic states of becoming something new, dynamic, and sensual, the birds are vulnerable yet resilient. Canaries appear in many of Heinze’s past works — she began drawing the figure in childhood when her family had one as a pet. She sees them as both loners and survivors, watching scenes play out with no autonomy over their life, while standing in as a friend, an ally, or perhaps even, a witness. The second diptych, Innerspring matches the first in both dimension, orientation, and its centrally focused composition, with a mirroring horizon-like strip at the bottom of the tableau. Despite these visual similarities, the forms and objects described in Innerspring are directly opposite the vulnerability depicted in A Hollow Place. Steel chains, tousled mattresses, processed foods, and phallic forms protrude in a chaotic scene that seems to represent something much more repulsive: exuding dominance, influence, and entitlement, yet all characterized with a rather ridiculous flair. This tension appears and reappears in various approaches across the exhibition, where traditional, rigid, and patriarchal structures become as banal as everything and everyone else. On one hand “frail” implies deficiency, and on the other, “juice” signals abundance — it drips, oozes, seeps, and flows, malleable and nourishing. Heinze asks us to explore the strength that lies within fragility, and what propositions of alternative forms of power and relation could look like. In the short time since graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig, Heinze has exhibited widely. She has shown at Capitain Petzel, Berlin (2019); LC Queisser, Tbilisi (2019); Sammlung Philara, Düsseldorf (2019); Mary Boone Gallery, New York (2018); Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London (2017) among others. She has participated in numerous group shows including at the Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (2020); Saatchi Gallery, London (2018); Tanya Leighton, Berlin (2017); Good Press, Glasgow (2016); basis, Frankfurt (2015). Heinze’s works are in the collections of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden and the Marguerite Hoffman Collection, Dallas.

Pieter Schoolwerth

Shifted Sims

September 3, 2020 - October 31, 2020
The hidden cost of 21st-century convenience is that you are stalked by a muzzy dread, a feeling that everything you do inflicts some distant unseen harm. The extraordinary events of 2020 sharpen focus on the disastrous and racialized consequences of this estrangement. In Shifted Sims, his first solo exhibition at Petzel Gallery in New York, Schoolwerth gives form to the condition of being “remote” and retreating into masks—from the N95 to the quarantine selfie. What’s more, he pressures painting to catch up to the surge of online profiles, identities without bodies, that teem at the surface of this “once-removed” existence. Schoolwerth’s psychoactive tableaus depict CGI avatars let loose in the digital froth: a Baywatch-y beach, a fashion-brand showroom, a furry orgy. He pulls these scenes from screenshots of The Sims 4, the strategic life-simulation computer game where anything goes—or does it? Trailing every avatar is an estranged silhouetted double, snapped into existence by the “shift” of Shifted Sims. Each composition has been superimposed, askew, over the photograph of a handmade 3D relief sculpture of the image. What appears is a shadow realm of vestigial matter, yanked into view on inkjet-printed canvases and parceled in paint. It is a taut braid of formal practice and allegory, one that questions painting’s viability in the age of the internet. In the 2019 monograph Model as Painting, he delineates how these “forces of abstraction” conceal labor and infrastructure under a late-capitalist mirage of frictionless, disembodied connectivity. This schism plunges down to the scale of the individual, pitting avatar protagonist against human penumbra. Western painting tradition, with its claims to authenticity and representation, is pulled into this Thunderdome of online subject-formation. The works in Shifted Sims question expressionism’s historical claims to transcendent interiority. Schoolwerth renders the Sims’ faces with striking impasto marks that “expressionize the avatar,” humanizing these subjects through visibly manual, painterly gestures. But these subjective punctures of the digital network may be fleeting. Appearing on the canvas next to perfectly raked furrows of paint—Schoolwerth’s proxy for repressed physical infrastructure—expressionism becomes one style among many, attenuating its status as exalted painterly communiqué. You’re left with the dark thought that De Kooning’s Woman would make a pretty good Snapchat filter. Scrambling to address the malaise of social distance, a startup recently launched voice-controlled avatars for video meetings, a real-time Sim who wears pants so you don’t have to. Schoolwerth’s paintings of (often pants-less) avatars counter these riptides of isolation, approximating a shared affective experience of the present moment: the monumental, and the berserk. —Lucy Hunter

Nicola Tyson

Sense of Self

September 2, 2020 - October 3, 2020
Petzel Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of recent paintings by British-born artist Nicola Tyson. On view from September 2 to October 3, the show marks the second exhibition on the parlor floor of Petzel’s newly expanded Upper East Side gallery, located at 35 East 67th Street. This is Tyson’s tenth solo exhibition with Petzel, and her first show in New York since 2016. Known primarily as a painter, Nicola Tyson has been working for over 30 years across a range of media including painting, photography, film, performance, and the written word. In the new paintings on view this fall, we encounter figures that relay a gender-fluidity typical of Tyson’s work, but now with a more emotional twist. These new large-scale paintings were conceived and begun before New York’s lockdown due to COVID-19. Tyson temporarily abandoned the body of the work amidst the pandemic, and then returned to complete them over the summer months. As Tyson put it, “When the world suddenly stopped and the familiar cultural coordinates fell away — and with it ‘the argument’ — I was unnerved and found it difficult to paint.” Instead she turned to drawing, producing almost daily original graphite on paper works, and exhibiting over 50 of them on Petzel’s online exhibition platform, alongside time-lapse video footage documenting her drawing process. “The figures in Nicola Tyson’s drawings often seem haunted: elongated bodies, faces composed of blocky shapes filled in with dense pencil marks,” Jillian Steinhauer of The New York Times recently wrote when singling out her Instagram account as one to follow during these peculiar times. Upon returning to the paintings over the summer, Tyson found that the center of gravity had shifted. What had begun as an exploration of relationship to another, refocused instead on relationship with self. Familiar territory for Tyson who has deployed methods of self-portraiture since the beginning of her career — exploring the inherent strangeness of our fictional self, the me, and the I, that is nevertheless one’s ‘home’. Tyson’s self-portraits are always easily identified by the red hair, “something that singled me out as ‘odd’ growing up,” she explained. For Tyson, as for the Austrian master of self-portraiture, Maria Lassnig — humor and self-mockery are key. “Body awareness painting,” as Lassnig coined it, is the process of painting not how the body looks externally, but rather how it feels internally. Be it an emotion, human experience, gesture, or physical function, what exactly does it mean to be in a body and how can the experience be captured? Akin to this, Tyson notes that she is now interested in, “the self-portrait not as alienated self-examination, but as humorous proposition,” an investigation that is made central in this exhibition consisting of four giant, and at times absurd and somewhat inscrutable self-portraits – such as Big Yellow Self-Portrait and Self Portrait: Stripes (both 2020). “What is creative authority anyway” Tyson asks, “and who has it and why?” Additionally on view, are two large canvases which describe the struggle for connection with one another: Two One and Two Two (both 2020), and four explosive small canvases, Bouquets 1–4 (all 2020), in which the figure dissolves and reconstructs into four lively bouquets. ‘Sense’ here, refers to Tyson’s intuitive approach to image-making. As in her graphite drawings, the title and the explanation always come after the fact. The paintings begin life as drawings and the meaning emerges in the act of making the images. This is how her signature technique takes form.