A painting show
Joe Zucker, Christian Holstad, Nathan Peter
18 January 2014 – 22 March 2014
Deep Waters Run Still
by Terry R. Myers
I prefer to use the term “coalitional” when describing what painting has been since, let’s say, 1989. In 2000, writing about the work of Neo Rauch, I suggested that “Painting seems pretty together these days when it comes to its ability to accommodate multiple modes simultaneously, so it is not a big surprise that one of the more interesting ‘post-reunification’ painters would emerge from the former East Germany.”
This three-person exhibition—materially lush, conceptually tight, and generationally playful—reconfirms for me that painting’s ventures into so many other territories during the past century may in the end have not had nearly as much to do with “completing the modernist project” as we have often been led to believe. In other words, attempts to characterize painting as an endgame and/or a virus have contributed to its ability to figure out how not only to get along with sculpture, photography, installation, etc., but also to resituate its activities into a broader view of its history.
Joe Zucker, to put it bluntly, figured all of this out a long time ago, and he has been innovating constantly during the past fifty years by doing what I’ve described before as a continual rearrangement of painting in order to resist having to estrange it. (I first borrowed this idea from the lyrics of a Depeche Mode song, “The Sun & The Rainfall.”)
Christian Holstad and Nathan Peter, then, not only confirm that Zucker has been on point all along, but also re-orient that perpetual question of what makes a painting a painting (that the former is “not a painter” and the latter is resolutely one, makes their pairing all the more satisfying), demonstrating that like absolutely any boundaries of any type anywhere in the world, the boundaries of painting exist not to be maintained but critically and constantly re-negotiated. Leaving them as they are is a misuse.
Terry R. Myers is Professor and Chair of Painting and Drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
He has written for such publications as After all, Art Review, Artext, The Brooklyn Rail, and Modern Painters and essays for numerous exhibition catalogues. Myers has curated exhibitions at such institutions as MOCA LA; Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills; and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.