Nahmad Contemporary is pleased to announce its forthcoming exhibition, Poetics of the Gesture: Schiele, Twombly, Basquiat, the first ever to examine the similarities between three of the most influential twentieth century artists of their respective generations—Austrian expressionist Egon Schiele, American postwar artist Cy Twombly, and American neo-expressionist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Featuring nearly 40 works on paper, the exhibition will show how each artist’s masterful, dynamic use of the line was a central component of his artistic practice. Basquiat will be represented by more than 20 master works—many of which have rarely been exhibited publicly—drawing out a dialogue between his works and those of his predecessors. Poetics of the Gesture: Schiele, Twombly, Basquiat will be on view May 2 through June 14, 2014.
The exhibition will be presented as a constellation of pivotal moments in the history of art, whereby each artist and his respective works will illuminate each other. From Schiele's visceral and graphic portraits, to the harmony of chaos and poesis in Twombly’s work, to the kinetic and chromatic energy of Basquiat’s figures, a range of visual language and texture will be displayed in order to reexamine the nature of mark-making. In this convergence, a shared exploration of transcendence, the human condition and the logic of drawing and painting will emerge.
Schiele, Basquiat and Twombly shared a radically intense artistic expression. The figures in Schiele and Basquiat's works are delineated by highly evocative lines that simultaneously reveal sitters’ physical and psychological states of being. Isolated within stark backgrounds, the centrality of the body and its physiognomic elements exemplify the complexity of representing figures and the artists’ shared interests in anatomy and the body in various modes of being.
Twombly evokes a similar carnality to Schiele and Basquiat in his abstract compositions. His drawings, scattered with scrawlings, erasures, and organic shapes, blur the boundaries between writing, drawing and painting, producing highly sensorial works. Regardless of their literary or symbolic references, Twombly’s work shares with Schiele and Basquiat’s a focus on materiality and the experiential.
In this focus, Schiele, Twombly and Basquiat created a new visual vocabulary. From the trace of the body, to the trace of the letter or shape, their work was immensely personal, and expressed through a multiplicity of fervent lines wherein the touch, movement and rhythm of the artist’s hand are still highly intelligible and influential today.
The exhibition will be curated by Dr. Dieter Buchhart, who has organized major exhibitions on artists such as Edvard Munch, Otto Dix, George Braque, Jean- Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring at institutions including the Foundation Beyeler, Munch Museet Oslo, Museum of Modern Art Copenhagen and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.