On 25 March 2010, Mary Boone Gallery will open at its Fifth Avenue location “Tales of Cotton”, an exhibition of works from 1975-1976 by JOE ZUCKER.
Borrowed from public and private collections, the works from this series are brought together for the first time since their 1976 presentation at Bykert Gallery. The distinctive picture-making process that Zucker developed in the late 1960s – using cotton as both medium and support of painting – is here conflated with the paintings’ subject: the consequential American history of cotton. Race relations, slavery, Reconstruction, agriculture versus industry, are all fervent subtext for these deadpan images of a landscape, still-life, river boat, manual laborer, and neoclassical façade.
Zucker at once upends the Ben-Day dots of Pop, the grid of Minimalism, and the visible “hand” of Process Art by rendering these images with balls of cotton that have been soaked in scorched-earth tones of acrylic paint. The cotton balls, stretched and manipulated to resemble three-dimensional brushstrokes, engender paintings with a lushly seductive, densely textured surface at odds with their subjects’ charged sociopolitical commentary.
The exhibition, at 745 Fifth Avenue, will continue through 1 May 2010. A fully-illustrated catalogue with an interview with the Artist by Hamza Walker, edited and with additional text by Brenda Richardson, will be available. New works by Joe Zucker will be shown at the Gallery in Fall 2011. Please contact Ron Warren at the Gallery if we can be of further assistance, or visit our website www.maryboonegallery.com.