David Zwirner is pleased to present Endless Enigma: Eight Centuries of Fantastic Art, a thematic exhibition spanning two floors of the gallery’s West 20th Street location in New York. Organised in collaboration with Nicholas Hall, a specialist in the field of Old Masters and nineteenth-century art, this exhibition takes as its point of departure Alfred H. Barr Jr.’s legendary 1936 exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism, which not only introduced these movements to the American public, but also placed them in a historical and cultural context by situating them with artists from earlier centuries. Drawn from international museum and private collections, the exhibition at David Zwirner will include more than 130 works from the twelfth century to the present day.
The exhibition will provide a unique opportunity to examine affinities in intention and imagery between works executed across a broad span of time. Organised into six themes—Monsters & Demons, Dreams & Temptation, Fragmented Body, Unconscious Gesture, Super Nature, and Sense of Place—Endless Enigma will explore the ways in which artists have sought to explain their world in terms of an alternate reality, drawn from imagination, the subconscious, poetry, nature, myth, and religion. Works on view will range from medieval gargoyles; masterworks from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries by a contemporary follower of Hieronymus Bosch, Piero di Cosimo, and Titian; seventeenth-century paintings by Jan Breughel the Younger and Salvator Rosa; eighteenth-century works on paper by Francisco de Goya and Giovanni Battista Piranesi; nineteenth-century works by William Blake, James Ensor, Gustave Moreau, and Odilon Redon; and works from the twentieth century to the present day by Eileen Agar, Francis Alÿs, Michaël Borremans, Louise Bourgeois, Giorgio de Chirico, Joseph Cornell, Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Marcel Dzama, Max Ernst, Leonor Fini, Alberto Giacometti, Robert Gober, Alfred Kubin, Sherrie Levine, René Magritte, Kerry James Marshall, Roberto Matta, Francis Picabia, Pablo Picasso, Sigmar Polke, Man Ray, Kay Sage, Yves Tanguy, and Lisa Yuskavage, among other artists.
In conjunction with the exhibition, David Zwirner Books will publish a fully illustrated scholarly catalogue, which will include new essays by Dawn Ades, Olivier Berggruen, and J. Patrice Marandel.
A symposium on Fantastic Art, organised by Nicholas Hall and Yuan Fang, will take place on October 27 at The Kitchen. Participants will include Olivier Berggruen (independent art historian and curator), Till-Holger Borchert (Director of Musea Brugge, Bruges), David Freedberg (Pierre Matisse Professor of the History of Art and Director of The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Columbia University, New York), J. Patrice Marandel (independent art historian and curator), Richard Rand (Associate Director for Collections, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles), Hannah Segrave (PhD candidate in Baroque Art History, University of Delaware, Newark), Luke Syson (Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Chairman of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), Oliver Tostmann (Susan Morse Hilles Curator of European Art, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut), and Anne Umland (The Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Curator of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, New York).
Press release courtesy David Zwirner.