Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Artist Monographs - Marlene Dumas and Luc Tuymans


I've been reading two new artist monographs on arguably two of the best 
contemporary painters around:

"Measuring Your Own Grave" (ISBN 1933751088) on Marlene Dumas, and
"Luc Tuymans" (ISBN 1933045981) on, obviously, Luc Tuymans.

Both are published on the occasion of major exhibitions of these artists: Tuymans 
at the Wexner Center for the Arts (at Ohio State University) - still on, and at San 
Francisco Museum of Modern Art and four other venues during this year.  Marlene 
Dumas midcareer exhibition was at Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art 
and at Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Both publications are excellent with great reproductions, highly recommended.

Also recommended are the 16 short MoMA audio podcasts on the Dumas 
exhibition, and the individual works.

Measuring Your Own Grave

I am the woman who does not know
where she wants to be buried anymore.
When I was small, I wanted a big angel on my grave
with wings like in a Caravaggio painting.
Later I found that too pompous.
So I thought I'd rather have a cross.
Then I thought - a tree
I am the woman who does not know
if I want to be buried anymore.
If no one goes to graveyards anymore
if you won't visit me there no more
I might as well have my ashes in a jam jar
and be more mobile.

But let's get back to my exhibition here.
I've been told that people want to know,
why such a somber title for a show?
Is it about artists and their mid-life careers,
or is it about women's after-50 fears?
No, let me make this clear:
It is the best definition I can find
for what an artist does when making art
and how a figure in a painting makes its mark.
For the type of portraitist like me
this is as wide as I can see.

Marlene Dumas, Amsterdam, 2008

Marlene Dumas
Measuring Your Own Grave, 2003
Oil on canvas, 55 1/8 x 55 1/8 inches

Luc Tuymans
Parachutisten (Paratroopers), 1998
Oil on canvas, 24 x 19 5/8 inches (61 x 50 cm)

Both Tuymans and Dumas were influenced by the Belgian artist Raoul De Keyser 

Raoul De Keyser
Trio in Red, 2006
Acrylic on canvas, 68 x 100 cm

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