David Zwirner opens an exhibition of works by four of the most innovative American artists of the 20th century

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David Zwirner opens an exhibition of works by four of the most innovative American artists of the 20th century
Dan Flavin, untitled, 1995 © 2020 Stephen Flavin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy David Zwirner.

NEW YORK, NY.- David Zwirner New York is presenting an exhibition of work by Dan Flavin (1933–1996), Donald Judd (1928–1994), John McCracken (1934–2011), and Fred Sandback (1943–2003), four of the most innovative American artists of the twentieth century. Each artist is represented by a focused presentation of his work in a single room, allowing visitors to experience both the commonalities and distinctions in the individual approaches to reductive form, material, color, and space.

Included in the exhibition are twelve works by Dan Flavin from 1995, each consisting of two four-foot lamps positioned horizontally on a wall with a single two-foot lamp centered between them, in various color combinations. Made just a year before Flavin’s death, these works were first shown as a group in 1996. Installed together for the first time since their initial presentation, they underscore the artist’s innate facility with serial permutations.

Likewise, a grouping of wall-mounted boxes by Donald Judd explores the primary preoccupations of the artist’s body of work, such as the relationships between surface and volume and interior and exterior space, thus demonstrating his visionary approach to using industrial material as well as his considered attitude toward proportion and installation.

An installation by John McCracken features six individual columns of similar but slightly differing sizes and tones of black installed in two rows of three. The notion of grouping columns in a grid was first formulated by McCracken in a sketchbook from the early 1970s, but was not realized until 2006 on the occasion of this work’s inclusion in the artist’s solo exhibition at David Zwirner New York.

Fred Sandback’s multipart vertical sculptures originated at the beginning of his artistic career with works installed in his studio at Yale School of Art in 1967. On view will be an eighteen-part vertical construction in blue, black, and yellow yarn conceived in 1987—the year of his important midcareer solo presentation at the Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, that featured his vertically oriented works. The artist remarked on his focus on verticality in the exhibition’s catalogue, “Isn’t it quite natural to create vertical things, since this corresponds to the human body carriage?”1 The axes of the individual yarn lines permit the viewer to discern multiple parallel and intersecting planes.

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