A Selection of Master Works
March 17th – April 9th, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, March 17th, 6pm-9pm
DAVID&SCHWEITZER Contemporary is proud to present A Selection of Master Works by Arnold Mesches, the first solo exhibition of the artist’s work in New York since he passed away in November 2016.
Our exhibition will feature some of Mesches’ most important paintings held in private collections, as well several of his most prescient and important works from the FBI Series. We will also show a number of his very moving final works on paper, which have never been publicly exhibited.
Schools of painting came and went in Mesches’ lifetime, but through his many and varied bodies of work, he created a singular and uncompromising vision. He was a painter and draughtsman in the tradition of Goya, Daumier and Kollwitz, and he infused everything he created with a fiercely active social and political awareness fueling an astounding body of work spanning seven decades—works that seem more relevant than ever before, given today’s political climate.
Mesches’ imagery encompassed the theater of life, the spectacle of politics and class, the history of art and civilization, and the allegorical climate of our precarious times. His carnivalesque oeuvre bridges a gap between the existential and the absurd and presents a unique postmodern variant of history—painting as platform for social protest. He was a consummate investigator into the society of the spectacle, and he wielded his brush with beauty, skill and, above all, a deep love of painting.
We are also pleased to announce at this time that Mesches will be included in the 2017 Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts at the American Academy of Arts and Letters (March 9 – April 9, 2017), the first time an artist has been accepted posthumously into this prestigious exhibition. We would like to thank the American Academy for making this exception, and for helping to broaden the audience of this great artist and dear friend.
“Arnold Mesches lived a long, creative and deeply admirable life. His legacy is especially compelling for younger artists in every medium. These artists must challenge the repressive forces of corporate and governmental powers whenever they appear. In the new Donald Trump era … the need for socially engaged arts is more urgent than ever.” – Peter Von Blum
Mesches had more than 141 solo exhibitions as well as numerous group shows, and his work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and many others. He was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts, a New York State Fellowship, a Florida State Fellowship and three Pollack-Krasner Grants. In 2009, the University of Florida awarded him an Honorary Doctorate.
In the Annex Space, David&Schweitzer is pleased to present Most Human, a group show featuring selected works by Mary DeVincentis, Heather Morgan, Andrew Cornell Robinson, Peter Williams and Paul D’Agostino, alongside pieces from Arnold Mesches’ FBI Series.
In recent dialogue with a number of artists on different occasions, I have noted a tendency to reach back toward classics in literature and imagery alike, and a desire to create work that suggests a need to focus and slow things down. This is perhaps deeply felt by many of us now—a need to pause and to simplify, a need to really look and listen, a need to embrace of the present tense and realign ourselves with the things that make us most human. Some of these artists address these concerns by referencing social consciousness, others by pointing to literature and history, and still others via immersion in metaphorical or pictorial detail.
The Annex will be open March 18th, 19th, 25th and 26th, and April 1st and 2nd, from 1 to 6pm.