Matthew Marks is pleased to announce Michel Majerus, the next exhibition in his galleries at 502, 522, and 526 West 22nd Street. This will be the most comprehensive exhibition of Majerus’ work in the United States and the first in this country since his death in 2002.
The exhibition includes over twenty-five paintings and multimedia installations by the late Berlin-based artist, whose promising career was cut short by a plane crash at age 35. Majerus samples from popular culture and art history, redeploying canonical styles alongside graphics borrowed from youth subcultures and the commercial mainstream. More than any artist of his time, Majerus exemplifies what art historian Daniel Birnbaum calls “painting in the expanded field,” his prolific oeuvre reflecting the prepackaged newness and hybrid spaces of the Information Age. By incorporating the visual vocabularies of next-generation technologies and 1990s consumer culture, Majerus expands on the appropriation art of the 1980s through his pioneering use of digital methods of production, altering the very space of representation itself.
On view at 522 West 22nd street are fifteen of Majerus’s paintings made between 1994 and 2002. Large in scale and featuring bold colors that evoke both Minimalism and Pop, their stylistic quotations include excerpts from Warhol and Basquiat, video games and other pop-culture sources. The exhibition continues next door at 526 West 22nd Street with an installation of thirty-six small square paintings spontaneously executed in a variety of media, as well as larger enamel on aluminum paintings, whose sleek, spare surfaces portray familiar characters from the 1995 film Toy Story. Additionally, at 502 West 22nd Street are three examples from Majerus’s Tron series, which combine bright, monochromatic wall paintings with silkscreens on canvas.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated hardcover publication with a conversation between Birnbaum and the artist John Kelsey.
Born in Luxembourg, Michel Majerus lived and worked in Berlin. In 1996 the Kunsthalle Basel organized a mid-career museum retrospective. Majerus participated in the Venice Biennale in 1999, where he covered the facade of the main Italian Pavilion with a mural he designed. Since his death, several European museums have organized exhibitions of his work including the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2003), the Tate Liverpool (2004), the Kunsthaus Graz (2005), and the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart (2011).
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