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“My work is non-narrative, actually; there aren’t any stories there. There are a lot of symbols and a lot of images, and the images have multiple meanings.” Alex Katz, 1990
Museum Kurhaus Kleve currently presents a major show of the American artist Alex Katz, one of the most influential figurative painters worldwide. It is the first comprehensive retrospective exhibition of this artist in Europe for many years and was realized in co-operation with Sara Hildén Art Museum, Tampere / Finland, and Musée de Grenoble, France. On show are more than 40 works from the period 1957-2008 from European and American collections and from the collection of the artist.
The work of Alex Katz, born in Brooklyn, NY in 1927, has developed with impressive coherence since the late 1950s. Right from the beginning Katz dedicated himself to figurative painting – to portraits, still-lifes, and landscapes – consciously opposing the then predominant trend of abstract art. The artist drew his inspiration from the revolutionary pictorial strategies of the media, of film, television, and advertising. He thereby achieved a manner of painting which is as realistic as it is abstract. His highly stylized pictures mirror the reality of our time, but are definitely not narrative. In formats that can often only be referred to as monumental, his paintings live from the tension between a fleeting impression and a solid form, between permanence and transitoriness.
The exhibition „Alex Katz – An American Way of Seeing“ is sponsored by the Premier of the state Northrhine-Westphalia and by the Friends of Museum Kurhaus and Koekkoek-Haus Kleve, and supported by Sparkasse Kleve, Provinzial branch Wolfgang Lohmann, Kleve, the US Consulate General Düsseldorf, and Golden Tulip Cleve. On the occasion of the show a catalogue (German / English) and a limited edition has been published.