The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Monday, January 21, 2019

First Northwest overview of work by R.B. Kitaj opens in Portland
LOS ANGELES no.26 (nose kiss), 2003, Oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches, R. B. Kitaj Estate.

PORTLAND, OR.- Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education presents the first Northwest overview of work by renowned artist R.B. Kitaj

Organized by OJMCHE and curated by Bruce Guenther, R.B. Kitaj: A Jew Etc., Etc. provides the first Northwest overview of one of the most important post-1960 contemporary artists, R.B. Kitaj. The exhibition presents a survey of 16 oil paintings and four drawings, focusing on works created between 1990 and the artist’s death in 2007, which reflect the artist’s deep exploration of a rich complexity of ideas and references to art history and Judaism.

R. B. Kitaj (1932-2007) is one of the twentieth century’s most significant and thought-provoking artists, who, throughout his life and his art, tussled with the conditions of “Jewishness”. Kitaj’s sometimes controversial work has long challenged audiences to explore radical new aesthetic models and narrative themes. The work in R.B. Kitaj: A Jew Etc., Etc. is drawn from the last two decades of Kitaj’s life, when his work focused intensely on his identity as a Jew as he created an extensive body of work around himself, his late wife, American artist Sandra Fisher, and historic personalities in the humanities such as Franz Kafka, philosophers Walter Benjamin, and Gershom Scholem.

“The exhibition will provide museum visitors with insight into Kitaj’s aesthetic and intellectual reach and the multiple layers of meaning and reference contained in the works that have influenced contemporary painting internationally,” said OJMCHE Director Judy Margles. “His highly personal paintings and drawings reflect his deep interest in history, cultural, social, and political ideologies, and the issues of Jewish identity, themes that are also reflected in OJMCHE’s programming and core exhibitions.”

Born in Cleveland, Ohio of Russian Jewish immigrants, Robert Brooks Kitaj (pronounced kit-EYE) studied at the Cooper Union Institute in New York, the Academy of Fine Art, Vienna, the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford, and the Royal Academy of Art, London. For over 40 years as an American expatriate in London, Kitaj became a major figure in the development of contemporary British art with figurative narrative paintings that challenged the hegemony of 1960s and ’70s abstraction. His first solo exhibition in 1963 at Marlborough Gallery established Kitaj as a seminal figure along with David Hockney and Richard Hamilton in defining British Pop Art.

In 1976, Kitaj proposed the idea of a “School of London” in an exhibition and catalogue essay, which became one of the key art historical texts of the period. His defining of a conceptually re-imagined figurative–based, post-Abstract Expressionist painting against the day’s prevalent formalism in the work of a group of stylistically diverse artists—Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, and Leon Kossoff, as well as R.B. Kitaj—was a radical opening up of the painting dialogue. At the same time, Kitaj began to reconnect with and explore his Jewish heritage through his paintings and writings. His theories and ideas became more widely known when Kitaj issued the “First Diasporist Manifesto (1989),” and following “Second Diasporist Manifesto (2007),” in which he discussed the relationship between Judaism, art history, and his work in the search for a “Jewish Art.”

In 1994, Kitaj was the subject of a major retrospective at the Tate Gallery, London, an honor rarely awarded to Americans. The British art critics attacked the paintings and the didactic prefaces the artist wrote to accompany them with an anti-Semitic vitriol rarely seen in the post-war period that enflamed the art community. Shortly afterwards, Mr. Kitaj’s second wife, the painter Sandra Fisher, whom he had married in 1983, died of an aneurysm at 47, prompting the artist to emotionally contend that the critics had killed her. After the “Tate War,” as he termed this episode, Kitaj no longer felt welcome in Britain and moved to Los Angeles with his young son to be near his other children and grandchildren. He remained there from 1997 until his death by suicide in 2007.

“Kitaj was a catalyst, an artist and intellectual who used his self-perception as an outsider to disrupt and reinvent aesthetic and cultural assumptions around the making of art and its relationship to artistic and literary history in contemporary practice,” said Curator Bruce Guenther. “As a contemporary artist, a Jew, and as a seeker of deeper truths through painting, Kitaj sought to incorporate his passion for books and ideas—literature and poetry—with a deep awareness of aesthetic theory and art history into the contemporary idioms of painting at a time when art was widely seen as emptying out content and historic reference. The force of his powerful ego, complex emotional and physical needs, and his deeply emotional, spiritual seeking is evidenced in these amazing paintings. In this work, his engagement with historic Jewish writers and artists who were intellectually central to his work is coupled with the grieving for his dead wife Sandra to forge a powerful new form of narrative painting that is ultimately his long-sought ‘Jewish art’.”

Internationally celebrated, Kitaj’s work has been the subject of major international solo exhibitions in museums of London, Paris, Berlin, Washington D.C., New York, and Los Angeles. R.B. Kitaj was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1982, and the Royal Academy of Arts in 1991, one of only three American painters so honored since its founding in 1768, and he received the Golden Lion award at the 1995 Venice Biennale.

Today's News

June 7, 2018

McNay Art Museum presents Immersed: Local to Global Art Sensations

Dia reveals multi-year upgrade and expansion plan, plus relaunch of Dia:Soho

Archives of American Art announces major promised gift from the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation

Exhibition features over 20 rare vintage black and white prints by Sandra Weiner

World Monuments Fund and Google launch online platform for threatened Iraqi heritage

Gagosian exhibits three large papier-mâché sculptures by Franz West

Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

Exhibition explores the relationship between studio photography and music in Burkina Faso

Tomma Abts opens her first solo exhibition in a UK public institution

Exhibition explores the photographer/printer collaboration

New book on Suriname completes Rijksmuseum's Country Series

Hollis Taggart Galleries opens exhibition of works by Andrew Balkin

Albertinum opens largest exhibition of Slavs and Tatars collective's works in Germany to date

Pavilion of The Republic of Kosovo presents the house as a substitute for the city

Kerstin Brätsch opens exhibition at Rome's Fondazione Memmo

The Brooklyn Museum opens a site-specific activation by Rob Wynne

Koopman Rare Art announces works to be offered at Masterpiece London

Philadelphia Collection achieves 'white-glove' sale at Freeman's

Lyons Wier Gallery opens exhibition of works by Mark Zimmermann

First Northwest overview of work by R.B. Kitaj opens in Portland

Alison Brooks Architects unveils a major immersive installation 'ReCasting' in Venice

Major exhibition of work by Santiago Calatrava debuts in Prague

Solo exhibition of painter Mouteea Murad opens at Ayyam Gallery Beirut

Excavation: Peter Blum Gallery opens a group exhibition

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Rare 1943 Lincoln Cent sells for $204,000 at Heritage Auctions

2.- Exhibition is the first to shed light on the phenomenon of the princely painter

3.- Nathaniel Silver named new Curator of the Collection at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

4.- Rijksmuseum van Oudheden explores the mystical world of the ancient Egyptian gods

5.- Media error draws misleading reports on sale of 1943 Bronze Lincoln Cent

6.- Four men deny giant gold coin heist from Berlin's Bode Museum

7.- Tanya Bonakdar Gallery presents an immersive installation by Charles Long

8.- Egypt says stolen pharaonic tablet repatriated from United Kingdom

9.- Israeli museum under fire over 'McJesus' exhibit

10.- Claremont Rug Company founder Jan David Winitz reveals major shifts in high-end antique Oriental rug market

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful