Joe Zucker: SCROLLS
New Work On View September 7 At the Housatonic Museum of Art
The exhibit features unique, double-sided paintings exploring the legends and lore of pirates. Images of cannon balls, sailing frigates, oceans, islands and the iconic Jolly Roger flag with skull and crossbones share the spotlight only with the materials themselves. Scrolls of varying sizes, evoke impressions of commerce raiders, seaborne warriors, and adventurers in search of booty.
“With inspired ingenuity, Joe Zucker has once again intertwined history, subject matter and the physical materials of his work,” said Robbin Zella, Director of the Housatonic Museum of Art, “to create an inventive iconography that aptly captures the swashbuckling energy of these infamous buccaneers.”
Joe Zucker is one of the most innovative contemporary artists working today. Since the beginning of his career in the mid-sixties, he has struck a balance between material, process and meaning, consistently reinventing painting by bringing new approaches to painting. From cotton balls dipped in Rhoplex, to shallow wooden boxes filled with enamel paint, to installations of woven strips across floors and walls, Zucker continues to push the boundaries to see what new territory painting can claim.
Zucker’s Scrolls series reflects his involvement with the sea as well as his interest in the legends of pirates like Captain William Kidd and Blackbeard, who terrorized the high seas and sought refuge off the shores of Long Island and Connecticut. For over thirty years, Zucker has returned again and again to the imagery of frigates in full sail, cannon balls, yard arms and the leering grin of the Jolly Roger, creating new iterations of these familiar signs and symbols. With a nod to the Torah, Zucker adopts this format, using it both vertically and horizontally, and in a variety of sizes to great effect, with rolling swells of blues and whites, shifting horizon lines and waves of cannon balls surging in all directions. Other scrolls, painted with the traditional colors associated with pirates: red for blood and black for death, are alive with energy, exhibit a life-force all their own.
Joe Zucker’s work is in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago; Museum Sammlung Ludwig Aachen, Cologne and Vienna; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art to name a few. Zucker in the recent past has participated in a number of group exhibitions, including, Exile on Main Street, Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, Netherlands (2009), Image Matter, Mary Boone Gallery, NY, NY (2010) and Midtown presented by the galleries Maccarone, Salone 94 Design, and Salon 94 at Lever House (2017)
A short list of Zucker’s numerous solo shows include, Plunder From 1977-2008, Nyehaus, New York, NY (2008), Scrolls, Texas Gallery, Houston, TX (2009), Joe Zucker, Mary Boone Gallery, NY, NY (2010), A Unified Theory, Mary Boone Gallery, NY, NY (2011), Empire Descending A Staircase, Mary Boone Gallery, NY, NY (2013), Joe Zucker: Armada, National Arts Club, New York, NY (2016), Joe Zucker: 1000 Brushstrokes, Maccarone, Los Angeles, CA (2017) and the upcoming exhibition Neo, Neo, Neoclassicism, The Drawing Room, East Hampton, NY (2017).
About the image: Sail: Cannonballs
Latex on paper with cardboard tube
Vertical: dimensions variable
From The Collection of Emily L. Todd