The post-Wex lives of Luc Tuymans and Mark Bradford

Mon, May 02, 2011

We thought we'd check in on two major exhibitions organized or co-organized by the Wexner Center that have been traveling the country and overseas.

The massive Luc Tuymans retrospective organized by the Wexner Center and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has been on display in Tuymans's home country of Belgium, at BOZAR, since February. This is the last stop on a tour that kicked off at the Wex in the fall of 2009 (the New Yorker's Peter Schjeldahl gave it “a thumbs-up”) and continued on to San Francisco, Dallas, and Chicago before heading to Europe.

The Brussels installation of the show (on view through this Sunday) marks the painter's first solo museum exhibition in his home country, garnering him press in various Belgian newspapers. The review in Le Soir noted that his “use of cool colors … goes well beyond an aesthetic choice to lead us into a world where nothing is quite what one thinks, where things disintegrate gradually and where the viewer is invited to dig into the uncertainties of his own memory.” La Libre wrote, “Luc Tuymans's art, it is readily acknowledged, bears the mark of a great artist..….[He] looks to history for a challenge and announces at the same time the end of the illusion of history.” And the Financial Times (UK) called the retrospective “impressive”: “When [Tuymans's] quiet, subversive pictures appeared at the end of the 1980s, they challenged the era's neo-expressionist art scene so successfully that Tuymans was hailed as the saviour of late 20th-century painting. Conceptual but painterly, engaging with the big themes of history and of today, he has not put a foot wrong since.” A review in the same paper of the Venetian and Flemish Masters exhibition downstairs from the gallery where Luc Tuymans is on display noted that the Tuymans retrospective added “piquancy and provocation” to the masters exhibition.

Meanwhile, the Wexner Center's Mark Bradford exhibition, which has already been to the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (where it closed in mid-March), is heading to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago May 28–September 18, 2011, followed by stops at the Dallas Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In a December review of the Boston installation, Holland Cotter of The New York Times wrote, “Mr. Bradford has opted to tackle the full spectrum of subjects, which is what makes his abstraction feel deep. And he does so to stay on the move, trying this, trying that, hands on, hands off, which keeps his art light and fleet.”