Alex Katz: A Life in Print, Selections from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation, opened June 1 at Bellevue Arts Museum
, featuring a series of prints by Alex Katz dating from the late 1960s to the present day, many of which have never before been exhibited. Katz is a major figure in the world of American figurative art, known for his large scale paintings, sculptures, and prints. His work has been the subject of more than 200 solo exhibitions and nearly 500 group exhibitions internationally since 1951.
A Life in Print is organized around themes of lightness/airiness, portraiture, and variations around the same images and subjects, all presented with a penetrating graphic clarity and keen sense of the history of image-making. Katzs work, like his New York contemporary Andy Warhol, is always different, yet, in some ways always the same. He has called his prints the final synthesis of painting.
This exhibition marks a renewed collaboration between Bellevue Arts Museum and the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundationthe largest private print collection in the United States. "Alex Katz is one of the foremost figurative and landscape artists of our time" says Schnitzer. "Although Katz works in a flat style, you can sense the personalities in his portraits and feel the depth and atmosphere in his nature-scapes. We are honored to facilitate this Alex Katz retrospective at the Bellevue Arts Museum."
Among the works on display are two major pieces shown for the first time on the West Coast. On display in BAM's public Forum space is Chance (2016), a life size depiction of three bathers. In Katz' distinctive cut-out pop-art style, Chance celebrates the simple pleasures of summer, the sea, sand, and the company of friends. Alongside the survey of 50 years of print-making, BAM is also exhibiting a portfolio of aquatints of fourteen New York poets, originally produced in 1978, alongside excerpts from each poets work. Katz, his wife and muse Ada, and their circle of friends were instrumental in the social, literary, and artistic culture of New York in the '70s and '80s. These portraits depict those lives with a deadpan yet heartfelt sincerity.
"We're delighted that Jordan Schnitzer and his Family Foundation have generously offered us the opportunity to curate this major exhibition from his collection and we look forward to presenting this iconic work at BAM" says Benedict Heywood, BAM's Executive Director & Chief Curator.
At age 14, Jordan D. Schnitzer bought his first work of art from his mothers Portland, Oregon contemporary art gallery, spurring his lifelong avocation as collector. He began collecting contemporary prints and multiples in earnest in 1988. Today, the collection exceeds 12,000 works and includes many of todays most important contemporary artists. It has grown to be one of the countrys largest private print collections overall. He generously lends work from his collection to qualified institutions and has organized over 100 exhibitions at more than 100 museums. Mr. Schnitzer is also President of Harsch Investment Properties, a privately owned real estate investment company based in Portland, Oregon, with 25 million square feet of office, multi-tenant industrial, multi-family and retail properties in six western states.