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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