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Exhibition includes more than one hundred photographs by Italian photographer Ugo Mulas
Ugo Mulas, Jasper Johns. © Ugo Mulas Heirs. All rights reserved. Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

NEW YORK, NY.- Matthew Marks is presenting Ugo Mulas: New York – The New Art Scene, an exhibition in his gallery at 522 West 22nd Street. Curated by Hendel Teicher, the exhibition includes more than one hundred photographs by Italian photographer Ugo Mulas (1928–1973). The exhibition’s title comes from Mulas’s 1967 book of the same name.

Between 1964 and 1967, Mulas took three trips to New York, where he documented a remarkable moment in the history of modern art. The photographs in the exhibition convey the excitement of that moment, focusing on Mulas’s photographs of six artists who left a deep impression on him: Marcel Duchamp, Barnett Newman, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol. Though he spoke no English, Mulas quickly bonded with the artists. He grasped the significance of their work, and they allowed him to capture them in intimate photographs taken both in and out of the studio.

Included in the exhibition are seven enlarged contact sheets, each revealing an artist in their studio in rows of sequential exposures. In one, Jasper Johns creates a drawing by pressing his oil-covered face against a sheet of paper pinned to the wall. In another, Barnett Newman orates in front of a large blank canvas. Mulas was adept at balancing journalistic detachment with a deep conceptual engagement, and his intellectual thrill at attending these historic moments is palpable in the photographs. As he wrote, “You cannot understand what the painter is doing without understanding what I, the photographer, have done; you also need to take into consideration that my viewpoint is not only optical but also, and above all, mental.”

All the photographs in the exhibition were printed by the artist and come from the estate of Ugo Mulas.

Ugo Mulas’s photographs have been the subject of numerous museum exhibitions including Kunsthalle Basel (1971, 1974), Musée Rath in Geneva (1984), Kunsthaus Zürich (1985), Fondazione Prada in Milan (1995), MAXXI in Rome (2007–08), and Fondation Henri Cartier Bresson in Paris (2016).

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