This exhibition in East Hampton features eight pictographs by the pioneering New York-based Abstract Expressionist Adolph Gottlieb, who forged a strong connection to the East Hampton creative community in the early 1960s.
The presentation includes works created during the 1940s and early 1950s, a period when Gottlieb challenged the accepted norms of painting and helped set a new direction for American art. Drawing from his familiarity with sources as diverse as pre-historic objects, tribal arts, classical European art, and contemporary painting and sculpture, Gottlieb recognised that 'the role of the artist, of course, has always been that of image-maker. Different times require different images. Today when our aspirations have been reduced to a desperate attempt to escape from evil, and times are out of joint, our obsessive, subterranean and pictographic images are the expression of the neurosis which is our reality. To my mind certain so-called abstraction is not abstraction at all. On the contrary, it is the realism of our time.'
As the curator and art historian Harry Cooper wrote in 2004 on the occasion of an exhibition of the artist's pictographs at Pace in New York, 'what Gottlieb invented in the Pictographs was a machine to process the most diverse sources into a nonhierarchical, decentralised array—a cultural leveling device, a destroyer of distinctions.' In addition to his role in the development of the New York School, Gottlieb became a fixture in the East End scene after he and his wife, Esther, purchased an East Hampton home in 1960. In the later years of his life and career, the artist worked in an airy painting studio—formerly a carriage house—on his East Hampton property.
Press release courtesy Pace Gallery.