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Joan Miro, Tête, 1972. © Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

Head On

Curated by Dieter Schwarz
New York
909 Madison Avenue
September 8 – October 15 2022

Beginning September 8, LGDR will present Head On, an exhibition curated by Dieter Schwarz that explores sculptural depictions of the human face—a site where intellect, power, and the soul are at once made vivid.

Representations of the face have been foundational to visual culture, from ancient Mesoamerican sculpture to Renaissance portraiture and on to contemporary social media. Throughout the twentieth century, modernism found artists sculpturally abstracting, distorting, and exaggerating the face, revealing its relationship to outside social and technological forces. On the occasion of LGDR’s exhibition, Schwarz—former director of the Kunstmuseum Winterthur in Switzerland and curator of the Skulpturenhalle at Düsseldorf’s Thomas Schütte Foundation, who has organized exhibitions of Gerhard Richter, Schütte, Jean Fautrier, Joel Shapiro, and Bruce Nauman, among many others—gathers sculptures spanning nearly a century: from André Derain’s circa 1930s Personnage sans menton, to Fautrier’s Tête d’otage of 1943–44, Anthony Caro’s Cigarette Smoker I dated 1957, Asger Jorn’s Contemplazione faticata from 1973, and William Tucker’s Masks of 2022. Together, these works trace a surprising and evocative history of approaches to expression. Working across styles and schools, the exhibited artists have challenged the traditional bounds of representation, as Schwarz describes, “building and destroying, caressing and attacking the figure, transgressing formal conventions and inventing faces not seen yet.”

Head On will feature faces both imaginary and studied from life. In a range of materials including bronze, painted steel, ceramic, and polychrome plaster, the sculptures on view foreground the artist’s hand, revealing the nuanced and complex ways matter can be worked to convey vulnerability, eros, absurdity, and the ineffable. Alongside heads by Willem de Kooning, Marisa Merz, and Schütte, will be Lucio Fontana’s glazed ceramic Ritratto di Valeria (1951), Joan Miró’s bronze Tête (1972), and John Chamberlain’s colored steel masks (1998), among others. As art historian John Welchman observed, representations of faces are always marked by history and power: “they have put god in the midst of man… and they have produced effects of reality, individuality, and distinction in humanistic portraiture.”

On view through October 15, Head On will present an arresting selection of visages that tell us as much about the context of their creation as they tell us about ourselves. Guided by the founders’ longstanding commitment to the medium, this exhibition continues the gallery’s tradition of special presentations devoted to sculpture.

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