NOV 1 – DEC 15, 2013


Joe Shef­tel Gallery is pleased to announce Pos­tures, an exhi­bi­tion of early works by Gary Kuehn. This exhi­bi­tion, orga­nized by Cindy Hinant, coin­cides with the launch of Gary Kuehn — Five Decades by Dorothea Zwirner and presents Kuehn’s sculp­tures and related sculp­tural draw­ings from 1965–1969. As described in Zwirner’s text, these works resist the rigid posi­tion of “purist” Min­i­mal­ism:


“Gary Kuehn’s early sculp­tures were never gen­uinely abstract, detached forms, but were always inti­mately related to the artist him­self. For this rea­son, they were never based on for­mal, aes­thetic cri­te­ria, but rather on a per­ma­nent search for inner neces­sity or inevitabil­ity. He endeav­ors to reduce aes­thetic deci­sions to a min­i­mum in a quest to find the inter­nal laws that influ­ence the gen­er­a­tion and devel­op­ment of form.


Plank Piece (1967), which leans against a wall, sags notice­ably, as does Saw Horse Piece (1967), which rests, as the title sug­gests, on two sawhorses. [These] works devi­ate dis­con­cert­ingly from a clearly defined, sta­ble form, thereby frus­trat­ing the viewer’s expec­ta­tions. To sag sug­gests either a weak­ness of the mate­r­ial or of the will. This mit­i­ga­tion of strength is under­scored by the uneven sur­face of the foam rub­ber cores which are stiff­ened with epoxy resin. If we com­pare these works to the pre­cise, high-gloss sculp­tures of such West Coast Min­i­mal­ists as John McCracken, it becomes evi­dent that Gary Kuehn is con­sciously reject­ing the lucid, purist aes­thetic of Minimalism—even engag­ing in acts of resis­tance against the hege­mony of pure aes­thet­ics.”1


Gary Kuehn was born in Plain­field, New Jer­sey in 1939 and today lives in New York City and Well­fleet, Mass­a­chu­setts. He received his MFA in 1964 from Rut­gers Uni­ver­sity where he went on to become a tenured fac­ulty mem­ber in Fine Arts. Kuehn’s work was included in Lucy Lippard’s 1966 exhi­bi­tion Eccen­tric Abstrac­tion, and Har­ald Szeemann’s 1969 When Atti­tude Becomes Form. Recently his work has been exhib­ited at the Fon­dazione Prada, Venice; the Museum für Mod­erne Kunst, Frank­furt; Museum Gegen­stands­freier Kunst, Otten­dorf; Michael Haas Galerie, Berlin; and Haeusler Con­tem­po­rary, Zurich.



1 Zwirner, Dorothea. Gary Kuehn – Five Decades. Ost­fildern: Hatje Cantz Verl., 2013. Print. 23, 17–18.



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