NEW YORK, NY.- The Guggenheim
recently acquired selections from R.H. Quaytmans Point de Gaze, Chapter 23 (2011), on view now in the exhibition Nows the Time: Recent Acquisitions. The Guggenheim has a long history of collecting and exhibiting Conceptual art, and with this exceptional acquisition, the museum strengthens its holdings in Conceptual painting.
Quaytman, who will discuss her artistic practice in the Conversations with Contemporary Artists series on November 28, works exclusively on wood panels and, since 2001, has organized her paintings into what she calls chapters. Each chapter revolves around a site-specific installation and specific formal concept, and Quaytman leverages the relationships between them in order to display how seemingly unrelated elements combine to produce the overall experience of an artwork.
Point de Gaze illustrates this process. Quaytman created the work for an exhibition at Gladstone Gallery in Brussels. Point de Gaze references the site of its first exhibition through portraying Lygia Clarks small-scale sculpture Estruturas de Caixa de Fosforos (Matchbox Structures, 1964), which is owned by Barbara Gladstone, director of Gladstone Gallery. The institutional history of Quaytmans gallery is juxtaposed with an exploration of the history of the Beguines, a lay order of women active in the Netherlands in the 13th and 14th centuries. The Beguines wore a distinct headpiece, which Quaytman recreated and photographed on her friends; she then used the photographs to create screenprints that were incorporated into the final work. The name Point de Gaze derives from a type of needlework invented in Belgium, which again echoes the history of the Beguines: the order relied on lace-making of this sort for income. In this way, the institution that first displayed Point de Gaze is embedded in the work, and is linked to the economic concerns of an order nominally devoted to the sacred. Quaytmans process itself becomes a meditation on the practices that sustain significant experiencewhether aesthetic or religiousand the institutions that enable them.
Curatorial Assistant for Collections Carmen Hermo describes how the display of the work emphasizes this:
If you look closely, youll see Quaytman has included a wooden shelf as part of the paintings installation, which she took part in prior to the exhibitions opening. The shelf rests one painting against another, and alludes to the fact that, after acquisition, an artwork typically leads a sheltered, stored-away life. Quaytman cleverly lays bare the often unseen reality of museum acquisitions.
The four paintings from Point de Gaze, Chapter 23, acquired through the International Directors Council in late 2011, are the first works by Quaytman to enter the Guggenheim Museums collection. The works can be exhibited singly as well as in a variety of layered configurations.