March 10, 1997

Joseph Kosuth at Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin

Joseph Kosuth: Guests and Foreigners, Rules and Meanings
Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
13 March - 11 June 1997

The first solo exhibition in Ireland of the work of Joseph Kosuth, one of the founders of Conceptual art, opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on 13 March. The exhibition, entitled Guests and Foreigners, Rules and Meanings (James Joyce, Pola, Roma, Trieste, Paris, Zurich, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Dublin, County Wicklow, Connemara), includes a large scale installation which utilises the writings and history of two important 20th-century figures; James Joyce and Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. This installation, one of his most ambitious to date, will counterpoint 14 seminal works (from 1965 to 1997) which established Kosuth as one of the pivotal figures in Conceptual art. 

Joseph Kosuth’s work played a key role in the redefinition of art which took place in the 1960s and ‘70s, which questioned traditional art forms and practices and the assumptions surrounding them. The questions asked then are still contested as a new generation comes under their influence, and Kosuth is at the centre of these debates. For Kosuth the meaning of art, as expressed in language, is more important than its appearance, the concept more important than the object. Through a variety of means, from dictionary definitions to advertising billboards, he presents abstracted information to the viewer. This information simultaneously explains itself and broadens the perceptions of artistic practice as it reveals the mechanisms which produce meaning. 

Joseph Kosuth describes the process used in works such as One and Three Chairs 1965, one of the key works in the exhibition: “I used common, functional objects - such as a chair - and to the left of the object would be a full-scale photograph of it and to the right of the object would be a photostat of a definition of the object from the dictionary. Everything you saw when you looked at the object had to be the same that you saw in the photograph, so each time the work was exhibited the new installation necessitated a new photograph. I like the fact that the work itself was something other than simply what you saw. By changing the location, the object, and still having it remain the same work was very interesting. It meant you could have an art work which was that idea of an art work, and its formal components weren’t important ... The expression was in the idea, not the form - the forms were only a device in the service of the idea.” 

Born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1945, Joseph Kosuth studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art; the School of Visual Arts, New York City and New School for Social Research. He was a founder member of the Art and Language group and contributed to the defining debates of that period in the late 1960s and early ‘70s before leaving in 1975. He has been a prize winner at the 1993 Venice Biennale, and was made Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 1993. His collected writings Art after Philosophy and After were published by the M.I.T. Press in 1991. He has lectured widely throughout Europe and North America, and is presently a professor at the Stuttgart Kunstakademie. His work has been shown in countless solo and group exhibitions worldwide and forms part of all the major public collections and many key private collections. He lives in New York City and Ghent, Belgium. 

Irish Museum of Modern Art
Royal Hospital, Military Road, Kilmainham, Dublin 8

March 1, 1997

Picasso: The Early Years, 1892-1906, National Gallery of Art, Washington & Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Picasso: The Early Years, 1892-1906
National Gallery of Art, Washington
March 30 - July 27, 1997
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
September 10, 1997 - January 4, 1998

Nowhere has the early genius of the twentieth century's most prolific and influential artist been more clearly realized than in the extraordinary exhibition Picasso: The Early Years, 1892-1906, which will premiere at the National Gallery of Art, March 30 through July 27, 1997. It will then travel to its only other venue, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, September 10, 1997, through January 4, 1998.

This is the most comprehensive survey ever assembled of works created by Picasso between the ages of eleven and twenty- five, including his famous Blue and Rose periods, prior to the advent of cubism. The master's early work is distinguished by a remarkable range of styles and techniques.

Organized by the National Gallery of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the show will contain approximately 150 paintings, drawings, pastels, prints, and sculpture, including works that have never before been exhibited in the United States.
"Picasso: The Early Years, 1892-1906 examines a short period in Picasso's career characterized by innovation, brilliant draftsmanship, and a virtuosic succession of styles, ending with works of great monumentality," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery. "It would be impossible for the Gallery to mount important exhibitions of such depth and breadth without corporate sponsors like Bell Atlantic."
"Pablo Picasso revolutionized twentieth-century art, experimenting, innovating, and striking out in new directions," said Raymond W. Smith, chairman and chief executive officer of Bell Atlantic. "Through this exhibition and the outreach programs that bring it to schools, to the Internet, and to a public with a demonstrated passion for great art, Bell Atlantic is proud to continue its long tradition of making information -- inspired and inspiring images included -- available to the people we serve." This is the fourth exhibition at the National Gallery sponsored by Bell Atlantic since 1987.
"This extraordinary assemblage of works tracing Picasso's development is unprecedented," said Malcolm Rogers, director, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "This exhibition reveals not only the beginnings of Picasso's early genius, but also the origins of the modernist movement in European art. We are extremely grateful to NYNEX for making this exhibition possible in Boston."
Pablo Ruiz Picasso, born in Málaga, Spain, on October 25, 1881, began to draw and paint around the age of seven and was registered in the School of Fine Arts in La Coruña in 1892. His real artistic training began in Barcelona three years later, a city to which he often returned after sojourns to Madrid and Paris, until he took up permanent residence in Paris in 1904.

The exhibition begins with Picasso's academic studies of plaster casts and nudes and early portraits, such as Girl with Bare Feet (1895) from the Musée Picasso, Paris. His subsequent introduction to post-impressionist and symbolist painting is shown in such works as Spanish Couple before an Inn (1900) from the Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art and Moulin de la Galette (1900) from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

Works from the artist's Blue period, named for the monochromatic palette he used to represent figures largely drawn from the socio-economic underclass in Barcelona and Paris, include the paintings Two Women at a Bar (1902) from the Hiroshima Museum of Art, Crouching Woman (1902) from the Art Gallery of Ontario, and La Vie (1903) from The Cleveland Museum of Art, as well as the 1904 etching The Frugal Repast.

Distinguished by a palette of roseate hues, works in the show from Picasso's Rose period include the paintings Family of Saltimbanques* (1905) from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and Harlequin's Family with an Ape (1905) from the Göteborgs Konstmuseum, Sweden.

By 1906, inspired by a trip to the Spanish Pyrenees, Picasso imbued his figures with a monumentality that can be traced to the reductive proportions of ancient and medieval Iberian sculpture. This is illustrated in such paintings as Woman with Loaves (1906) from the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Nude on Red Background (1906) from the Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris. The exhibition ends with this phase of Picasso's work, as his subsequent interests foreshadow a new epoch in the artist's career.

The curators of the exhibition are: from the National Gallery of Art, Mark Rosenthal, former curator, and Jeffrey Weiss, associate curator, twentieth-century art, who will be the coordinating curator for the exhibition in Washington; and from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, George Shackelford, curator, and Robert Boardingham, assistant curator, European paintings, who will be the cooordinating curator for the exhibition in Boston. The advisory committee includes John Richardson, author of A Life of Picasso: The Early Years, 1881-1906 and A Life of Picasso 1907-1917: The Painter of Modern Life, parts of a four-volume series on the life of Picasso, and Picasso specialist Jean Sutherland Boggs.

A 400-page fully illustrated catalogue will be published by the National Gallery of Art in paperback and by Yale University Press in hardback. It contains ten essays by Picasso scholars, arranged chronologically with color plates of early works by the artist, as well as an extensive chronology of Picasso's early life from 1881 to 1906. The scholarly editor is Marilyn McCully, an art historian based in London, who is a collaborative author with John Richardson on his series on the life of Picasso.

* - Family of Saltimbanques was presented to the National Gallery of Art by Chester Dale and by the terms of his bequest may not be lent.

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC