Galerie Gmurzynska premiers a career-spanning solo exhibition, The suspense is terrible, I hope it will last: Mel Ramos, the Gmurzynska selection. Building on two successful prior shows, Galerie Gmurzynska is proud to continue its collaboration with the Ramos estate.
Presenting a gallery-curated selection across both Zürich gallery spaces of the artist's most iconic works in both sculpture and painting, the show will examine how Ramos established himself as one of the premier pop artists of the West Coast.
Famously meticulous, his exacting painterly technique and generosity as a teacher limited his paintings to count sometimes only three a year. Thus the presentation of four paintings including the historic Man of Steel from 1962 sets this exhibition apart. Eleven sculptures, including the textbook Pop-art icon Chiquita Banana, as well as Ramos' celebrated multiples round out the rest of the exhibition.
'Ramos' 'subjects' reappropriate the male gaze and turn it back onto the viewer/consumer as if to alert the buyer beware.'
—TRESSA BERMAN, 2017
Placing the female nude as the focal point in many of his works, Ramos light-heartedly parodies the male use of the female body in 20th century advertising tropes and in art history. He was hailed by critics and artists, including his mentor Wayne Thiebaud, Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselmann, as a trailblazer who pushed the envelope of Pop to its max.
'I am going to make a very bold statement and say that Mel is a much more important and interesting and greater painter than Andy Warhol.'
—WAYNE THIEBAUD, 2012
Ramos went on to influence generations of contemporary artists as a tireless educator and professor. In 2011, the Albertina in Vienna held a large retrospective for the painter. Today Ramos' work is held in numerous collections including the Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna; and the Whitney Museum of Art, New York.
The exhibition at Galerie Gmurzynska will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an essay from the famous Pop art scholar Marco Livingstone and an interview with the actor George Hamilton.
'The whole point of my art, is that art grows out of art. That is central, no matter whether it is high art, low art, popular or what. Comic books, girlie magazines, magazine ads, billboards are all art to me.
—MEL RAMOS, 2004
Press release courtesy Galerie Gmurzynska.