Alex Katz This Is Now in Guggenheim Bilbao

 

Portraits of women and landscapes, are the favorite genres of the artist Alex Katz (Brooklyn, 1927), who visited Bilbao last time in 2012 with the exhibition "Smiles". Now, entitled "Alex Katz: This is Now", a solo exhibition shows the way to understand the landscape of one of the most outstanding contemporary artists in American art.

 

 

This Is Now are 35 large works with which Katz wants to represent things, spaces, as they are, as he sees them and feels them. "Rather than representing images of a faithful manner, Katz interested capture the instant of perception. It's like an explosive flash before the picture is focused, it is what he calls 'the present time', "explained from the museum.

 

 

The exhibition shows the different stages (covering the last 25 years of the painter) in which the artist has cultivated the genre of landscape, from the eighties creations to his late paintings of monumental landscapes made today. Paintings with powerful mass of color, full of poetry, works that invite us to reflect on the perception and awareness "about the relationship between art and nature, and the notion of the sublime in our time," he explained at the Guggenheim.

 

 

 

Katz recent landscapes are the pinnacle of his refined style, with descriptive and clean lines, in which the potential of contemporary art is to capture the grandeur embodied in the present. Her landscapes speak of the condition of being in an environment of constant movement and confluence of images, also about the inability to focus attention on the life and circumstances and seek to define a pictorial space that forces us to perceive detail, the relationship between art and nature.

Organized by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, you can enjoy "Alex Katz: This is Now" until February 7, 2016.

 

Among the specialised professional profiles that we find in the cultural sector, and more specifically, in the field of visual arts, one of the most recent occupations is that of the curator. The ‘80s put attention on the role of the artist, with its innovative character and the enhancement of its figure as an essential articulator of creative proposals, while the end of the century moved the interest towards the exhibition centres themselves and their work as custodians of current production and as spaces to accommodate all proposals. The change of millennium strongly introduced in this panorama the role of the curator. Perhaps together with a social identity crisis, perhaps with the complexity that contemporary projects are currently acquiring, the need for building, articulating and delving into artistic discourses became evident.

Although the functions entrusted to this profession are not entirely new, since previously they belonged to conservatives, critics or experts according to the themes, the role has gained solidity because it combines all these purposes while allowing the specialisation of other professionals in their fields of competence. Now, as some curators themselves point out, the genuine spirit of this figure, who was born to facilitate the understanding of the discourse, create narratives within a sometimes chaotic and scattered context, mediate between the works and the spectator and create bridges between contemporary art and society.

The art of our day raises a multitude of unknowns for the visitor who must face proposals many times away from the aesthetic standards, which gives way to uncertainty and confusion; but, in turn, these works employ a closer language, materials and even compositions detached from the sophistication and the technical display of yesteryear, something that, far from favouring proximity to the message, generates some distancing. What we have just described is part of the very essence of current art. The questioning of the formalist guidelines and the recourse to tangible elements that are more utilitarian than embellishing are the new criteria of creation, where, above all, the message to be conveyed stands out.

Likewise, another inherent characteristic of the work of our time is the artists' concern for more immediate themes, for social, political and economic issues that seek to create a narrative and conceptual revulsion, leaving behind the aesthetic priority or, rather, making of the message its own aesthetic. In this context, strange as it may seem, contemporary creation encounters a linguistic barrier hindering the viewer's understanding. And to this circumstance, the abundant current production is added, covering a wide range of themes that are nothing more than a transcript of our diverse and globalised society.

The curator helps to facilitate this understanding by articulating a coherent discourse that allows the grouping of related ideas to set up the message. This requires to have an in-depth knowledge of the current state of the art, the lines of work of the creators, the most recent aesthetic proposals and the real demands of society to bridge the dialogue and allow the approach to art. If art deals with the same issues that concern us all, how can we not share its postulates? Cultural mediation requires the work of the curators to open a small window for reflection and to enable a space for exchange and idea generation. We share the thought that José Guirao expressed in a recent interview: "The curator is someone who reveals something new, and it would be a mistake for curators to become managers."

Understood this way curator’s role, many institutions have joined the trend of creating specific calls for new professionals to give light to their proposals. Let us remember, as an example, the call "Unpublished" of La Casa Encendida, or "Curator wanted", of the Community of Madrid or the call of Curating of La Caixa.