Exhibition Explores Entirety of German Artist’s Five-Decade Career
Opening on May 27, The Phillips Collection presents an exhibition celebrating prolific German artist Markus Lüpertz. Curated by Phillips Director Dorothy Kosinski, Markus Lüpertz explores the entirety of the artist’s five-decade career with a survey of his earliest works along with more recent paintings. Organized in close collaboration with the artist and his long-time gallerist Michael Werner, the exhibition was first inspired by a generous gift in 2015 of artworks from Werner’s personal collection.
Markus Lüpertz, who began painting in a postwar Germany dominated by American Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, has exhibited a preoccupation with the relationship between figuration and abstraction over the course of his career. Demonstrating this relationship through nearly 50 paintings, the exhibition at the Phillips includes important examples from Lüpertz’s “dithyrambic” pictures and provocative paintings of German motifs.
“Throughout his remarkable career, Markus Lüpertz has insistently challenged and provoked art historical givens and the norms of modernism,” said Phillips Director Dorothy Kosinski. “Painting is a life ethos for him in which he grapples with fundamental issues of art and living, enabling us to see and understand our world.”
The Phillips exhibition is on view at the same time as Markus Lüpertz: Threads of History, an in-depth exploration of the artist’s revealing early work curated by Evelyn Hankins at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. In this first formal collaboration between the Phillips and the Hirshhorn, the exhibitions together mark the first in-depth U.S. survey of Lüpertz’s practice, allowing American audiences to see the full creative evolution of a leading neo-expressionist artist of his generation.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Phillips will present a broad range of public programs throughout the summer further exploring the artist’s career as well as the political changes, societal movements, and cultural strides that have taken place in Germany during the artist’s lifetime. For more information about the events planned throughout the spring, please visit www.phillipscollection.org/events. The opening of the exhibition also comes just a few days after the Phillips’s Annual Gala and Contemporaries Bash on May 19, 2017. Both events will honor the museum’s longstanding relationship with the Embassy of the Republic of Germany and celebrate artistic and cultural exchange between the United States and Germany.
Markus Lüpertz is on display at the Phillips May 27 through September 3, 2017. Markus Lüpertz: Threads of History is on view at the Hirshhorn May 25 through September 10, 2017.
GERMAN ART AND THE PHILLIPS COLLECTION Founder Duncan Phillips emphasized the importance of carefully crafting his collection, and the Phillips’s acquisitions and presentations of works by German artists have followed suit. In March 2013, the Phillips opened the Laib Wax Room, a meditative space by German artist Wolfgang Laib that drew inspiration from the Phillips’s beloved Rothko Room. During the fall of 2015, the Phillips received a transformative gift from gallerist Michael Werner of 46 works by postwar German artists including Markus Lüpertz, Georg Baselitz, Jörg Immedorf, and A. R. Penck—acquisitions which reflect Duncan Phillips’s practice of building “units” of works by certain artists. Just as Duncan Phillips showcased the works of innovative and important artists of his day, the museum has also acquired the work of Anselm Kiefer, Justine Otto, Franz Erhard Walther, and others, and presented some of Germany’s finest musicians.