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November 8, 2023 – January 6, 2024
515 West 24th Street
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Katz came of age in bubbling post war New York. Raised in St Albans Queens he landed at the Cooper Union, 40 years after the fact and 4000 miles from modernism’s origin story. Cubism and the Paris School had arrived in the American art classroom, but the existentialism of the European experience did not hitch a ride across the Atlantic. So while the fractured image of Picasso and the broken depth of Matisse were his eyes’ guides, Katz’s body belonged to the basketball courts and the dancehalls. This was a singularly American equation. Jump forward 10 years as he skips around the anxiety of Ab-Ex and commits to and creates his own American visual reality - combining the field of color with the CinemaScope framing and scale. THIS equation then might be called the ‘Quintessential Katz’, and is indivisible from our idea of the artist himself. But throughout each successive decade he held his first guide tight, and continued the exploration of that Parisian broken ground, and the American split screen. This has been a constant from the early double portraits (Robert Rauschenberg) through to the first ‘splits’ of Ada. And on to the exploded cut outs (Allen Ginsberg). Now, in the third decade of the 21st century history does as it always does, moving in an orbiting spiral, coming around to meet us, and Katz, 75 years or so later, finds new combinations of the first ideas. No longer quite cinematic, more intimate, more ubiquitous. Absolutely vernacular. But still broken.