Face to Face
Adamar Fine Arts presents Alex Katz
By Tiffany Chestler
Alex Katz’s first solo exhibition was at the Roko Gallery in 1954. What has followed since has been an amazing career that has spanned six decades. Katz is truly one of America’s greatest living artists who still today works in his SoHo, New York studio producing work at the age of 84.
Katz is well known for his portraits, which depict figures in a flattened style set against monochromatic backgrounds. When he was first starting out he was instructed in theories of Modernism, however the artist gravitated towards realistic portraits; painting his friends, and his wife and muse Ada, who is the subject of many of Katz’s works.
With more than 200 solo exhibitions attributed to the artist, it is surprising that Face to Face will be the first ever solo show of Katz’s work in Miami.
Rising to the challenge of presenting Katz is Tamar Erdberg, owner and director of Adamar Fine Arts in the Miami Design District. Erdberg has been in the gallery business for over 25 years and has honed a program that embraces contemporary masters with a focus on Pop Art.
Katz fits right in, as his work is a pre-curser to the Pop-Art movement that has become an integral part of art history, particularly American art history.
Erdberg discusses a few of the works that will be on view at her gallery, opening on Saturday March 9th. With over 30 works coming to the gallery space, Adamar Fine Arts will give visitors the opportunity to see both new and older works by this legendary American painter, including a large-scale original portrait that is rarely seen outside a museum setting.
Tell us about a few pieces that will be part of Face to Face.
One of the largest works in the show is Sarah from 2011. Alex Katz was involved with dance since the 1960's when he designed sets for the Paul Taylor Dance Company, a collaboration described by Paul Taylor - " we don't collaborate, he makes obstacles that I have to overcome". Revisiting dance throughout his career, this 2011 print from a large painting executed in 2010, shows his ability to capture the dancers " frozen in a moment of stillness" Mark Rappolt, Alex Katz, face the Music), as he captures them in his vision of the world.
Another work featuring a different Sarah is a small original painting by the artist that exemplifies his ability to capture the freshness and uniqueness of his subjects even at age 84. Whether its his monumental size paintings, represented in most major museums of the world, or his small canvases, the artist uses his distinctive minimal aesthetic, developed in the 1950's, to paint a unique vision of life.
Katz’s wife Ada was his muse and the subject of many of his portraits. Will you have works of Ada in this show?
Yes Ada is will be seen in nine of the works we have in the show. A work titled Bathing Cap, Ada, 2011 features his most famous subject, whom he married in 1958 and is still married to today. Her image is almost synonymous with Katz portraits, as her hats, sunglasses, scarves, and smile have left their unique mark in Katz's close-up portraiture style.
Why did feel that this was an appropriate time to show the work of Alex Katz?
The reason we thought that a Katz show would appropriate at this time was because Miami was ready for a show of one of America's greatest living artists. With several museum shows of Alex Katz around the world this year, including Maine and Boston and in Europe, we wanted to bring a quality exhibition of work to the Miami audience.