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Dana Schutz's exhibition of drawings and monotypes uses images and themes from opera
Dana Schutz, Brünnhilde, 2011. Watercolor monotype with colored pencil, crayon and pastel on Lanaquarelle watercolor paper. Courtesy of the artist and Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York. Published by Two Palms, New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- Acclaimed artist Dana Schutz opened Götterdämmerung, a new exhibition presented in conjunction with the final opera in Wagner’s epic Der Ring des Nibelungen, at the Arnold & Marie Schwartz Gallery Met on January 12. Schutz is the fourth and final artist in a series of leading contemporary talents commissioned to create Ring-themed artwork for Gallery Met. Each show coincides with a new production premiere of Robert Lepage’s staging of the Ring cycle; Götterdämmerung, the final opera in the cycle, opens at the Met January 27 and runs through May 12.

Schutz, a young American artist, has earned critical praise for her work, which may be seen in many major museums in America and Europe, including the Museum of Modern Art. She is particularly well-known for paintings which transcend genre boundaries, often juxtaposing whimsy and horror in provocative ways. Her breakthrough solo show Self Eaters and the People Who Love Them, in 2004, depicted a mythical race of self-cannibalizing people. In 2011, the Neuberger Museum of Art presented a selection from the first decade of Schutz’s work. Reviewing the show in The New York Times, Karen Rosenberg wrote that “At 34, [Schutz] is having a 10-year museum survey, an honor that does not feel at all premature…the show fills two galleries (one large, one small) with equal aplomb, and underscores Ms. Schutz’s extraordinary versatility.”

Götterdämmerung features black and white ink drawings and six large-scale colorful monotypes. One, entitled Brünnhilde, depicts the iconic heroine of the Ring cycle in her heroic (and suicidal) leap into a funeral pyre in the opera’s concluding moments.

“Brünnhilde is a fascinating character, very powerful but conflicted. She takes the whole world down, as well as herself,” Schutz says of Götterdämmerung’s heroine, adding that Wagner’s cycle of operas has no shortage of appealing artistic subjects. “There’s so much in the Ring: Rhinemaidens, a dragon, incest--even the world in flames!”

Schutz is the fourth contemporary artist Gallery Met Director Dodie Kazanjian has asked to create a Ring-themed exhibition. Earlier installments presented by Gallery Met are Peter Doig’s Siegfried + Poster Project, seen in fall 2011, and last season’s Notations After the Ring (by Julie Mehretu) and Wagner (by Elizabeth Peyton.)

“I’ve been looking at Dana’s work since 2002, when she was a graduate student at Columbia,” Kazanjian said. “She constantly surprises you with startling images that shed new and often disturbing light on the human condition. Her take on Wagner was something I really wanted to see.”

Gallery Met, located in the south lobby of the opera house, is open to the public Mondays through Fridays from 6 p.m. to the end of the last intermission and Saturdays from noon to the end of the evening performance’s last intermission. Admission is free and no appointments are required. Gallery Met is closed on Sundays.

Robert Lepage’s new production of Götterdämmerung will premiere January 27 with Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi leading a cast that includes Deborah Voigt as Brünnhilde, Wendy Bryn Harmer as Gutrune, Waltraud Meier as Waltraute, Jay Hunter Morris as Siegfried, Iain Paterson as Gunther, Eric Owens as Alberich, and Hans-Peter König as Hagen. The first complete cycles of Lepage’s Ring staging will begin performances in April.

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