Landscape Painting Now
Edited by Todd Bradway. Text by Barry Schwabsky. Contributions by Susan A. Van Scoy, Robert R. Shane, and Louise Sørensen
From fantastical worlds to political topologies: a global survey of landscape painting in the 21st century.
Although the fact may be surprising to some, landscape painting is positively thriving in the 21st century—indeed, the genre has arguably never felt as vital as it does today. The reasons why, if speculative, surely include our imminent environmental collapse and increasingly digitally mediated existence. Landscape Painting Now is the first book of its kind to take a global view of its subject, featuring more than eighty outstanding contemporary artists—both established and emerging—whose ages span seven decades and who hail from twenty-five different countries.
Through its thematic organization into six chapters—Realism and Beyond, Post-Pop Landscapes, New Romanticism, Constructed Realities, Abstracted Topographies, and Complicated Vistas—the book affords a generous window into the very best of contemporary landscape painting, from Cecily Brown’s sensual, fleshy landscapes to Peter Doig’s magic realist renderings of Trinidad, Maureen Gallace’s serene views of beach cottages and the foaming ocean, David Hockney’s radiant capturings of seasonal change in the English countryside, Julie Mehretu’s dynamically cartographic abstractions, Alexis Rockman’s mural-sized, postapocalyptic dioramas, and far beyond.
Landscape Painting Now features an extensive essay by Barry Schwabsky, art critic for The Nation. Schwabsky’s text weaves throughout the book, tracing the history of landscape painting from its origins in Eastern and Western art, through its transformation in the 20th century, to its present flourishing. Shorter texts by art historians Robert R. Shane, Louise Sørensen, and Susan A. Van Scoy introduce each artist, situating the importance of landscape within their practice and addressing key works. With over 400 color reproductions, including many details, this ambitious survey makes a compelling case for the continued relevance of landscape painting in our time.
Featured artists are Etel Adnan, Francis Alÿs, Hurvin Anderson, Mamma Andersson, Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan, Lucas Arruda, Ayman Baalbaki, Jules de Balincourt, Ali Banisadr, Hernan Bas, John Beerman, Amy Bennett, Cecily Brown, Gillian Carnegie, Noa Charuvi, Nigel Cooke, Will Cotton, Cynthia Daignault, Verne Dawson, Vincent Desiderio, Lois Dodd, Peter Doig, Rackstraw Downes, Tim Eitel, Andreas Eriksson, Inka Essenhigh, Richard Estes, Genieve Figgis, Jane Freilicher, Barnaby Furnas, Maureen Gallace, Tim Gardner, Franz Gertsch, Adrian Ghenie, April Gornik, Isca Greenfield-Sanders, Pat de Groot, Daniel Heidkamp, Barkley L. Hendricks, Israel Hershberg, David Hockney, Shara Hughes, Yvonne Jacquette, Merlin James, Yishai Jusidman, Alex Kanevsky, Alex Katz, Anselm Kiefer, Per Kirkeby, Makiko Kudo, Matvey Levenstein, Li Dafang, Liu Xiaodong, Damian Loeb, Antonio López García, Enrique Martinez Celaya, Julie Mehretu, Justin Mortimer, Maki Na Kamura, Jordan Nassar, Silke Otto-Knapp, Celia Paul, Eggert Pétursson, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Neo Rauch, Alexis Rockman, Jean-Pierre Roy, Tomás Sánchez, Lisa Sanditz, Serban Savu, George Shaw, Mark Tansey, Alison Elizabeth Taylor, Wayne Thiebaud, Luc Tuymans, Cinta Vidal, Kay WalkingStick, Corinne Wasmuht, Matthew Wong, Jonas Wood, Lisa Yuskavage and Luiz Zerbini.
Artists: Francis Alÿs, Mamma Andersson, Lucas Arruda, Neo Rauch, Luc Tuymans, Lisa Yuskavage
Designer: Kelsey Blackwell, Studio Blackwell, Toronto
Printer: C&C Offset Printing, Hong Kong
Publication Date: 2019
Dimensions: 11 x 10 1/4 in | 27.9 x 26 cm
Reproductions: 420 color
Retail: $55 | £39.95
Francis Alÿs’s art is centered around observations of, and engagements with, everyday life. His multifaceted projects include public actions, installations, videos, paintings, and drawings; the artist himself has described his work as “a sort of discursive argument composed of episodes, metaphors, or parables.” Across these different media, Alÿs presents his distinct poetic and imaginative sensibility towards anthropological and political concerns. His actions have involved traveling the longest possible route between locations in Mexico and the United States to highlight the increasing obstacles imposed along the border; pushing a melting block of ice through city streets; commissioning sign painters to copy his paintings; filming his efforts to enter the center of a tornado; carrying a leaking can of paint along the contested Israel/Palestine border; and equipping hundreds of volunteers to move a colossal sand dune ten centimeters.
Born 1962 in Luleå, Sweden, Mamma Andersson studied at the Royal University College of Fine Arts, Stockholm, from 1986 to 1993. Her work has been represented by David Zwirner since 2004. She has had two solo exhibitions at the gallery in New York, including her United States debut in 2006. Her second gallery show in 2010, titled Who is sleeping on my pillow, marked the first time she exhibited alongside her artist-husband Jockum Nordström in concurrent solo exhibitions. She had her first museum solo exhibition in the United States at the Aspen Art Museum, Colorado, in 2010, and her first solo exhibition in Ireland at the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, in 2009. In 2006, the artist won the Carnegie Art Award, a prestigious prize for Nordic contemporary painting, which received a corresponding exhibition that traveled extensively throughout Europe. In 2007, she was the subject of a critically acclaimed, mid-career survey at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, which traveled to the Kunsthalle Helsinki and the Camden Arts Centre, London. Her work was represented in the Nordic Pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale (2003). Andersson’s works are included in prominent collections internationally, including the Dallas Museum of Art; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Moderna Museet, Stockholm.
Brazilian artist Lucas Arruda’s (b. 1983) landscapes and seascapes are characterized by their subtle rendition of light. Painted from memory, they are devoid of specific reference points, achieving instead their variety through the depiction of atmospheric conditions. Verging on abstraction, the compositions are grounded by an ever-present, if sometimes faint, horizon line that offers a perception of distance. Intimately sized, they appear at once familiar and imaginary. Through his often evocative and textured brushstrokes, Arruda foregrounds the materiality and physicality of paint, while also recalling his genres’ historical associations with the notion of the romantic sublime.
Neo Rauch’s paintings are characterized by a unique combination of realism and surrealist abstraction. In many of his compositions, human figures engaged in manual labor or indeterminable tasks work against backdrops of mundane architecture, industrial settings, or bizarre and often barren landscapes. These figures, though squarely centered in his paintings, often have the appearance of being part of still lifes devoid of a human presence or collaged elements belonging to different time zones. Scale is frequently arbitrary and non-perspectival, which adds to an overall dreamlike atmosphere; the spatial relationships construct their own imaginary realm.
Luc Tuymans (b. 1958, Mortsel) is a Belgian artist who is internationally known for his paintings that engage equally with questions of history and its representation as with quotidian subject matter cast in unfamiliar and eerie light. Painted from preexisting imagery, his works often appear slightly out-of-focus and sparsely colored, like third-degree abstractions from reality. Whereas earlier works were based on magazine pictures, drawings, television footage, and Polaroids, recent source images include material accessed online and the artist’s own iPhone photos, printed out and sometimes re-photographed several times. Since the 1980s, Tuymans has steadily exhibited in the United States, Europe, and abroad, and his work is represented in major museum collections.
Lisa Yuskavage’s works are characterized by an ongoing engagement with the history of painting. Her oeuvre bears witness to a re-emergence of the figurative in contemporary painting and takes its point of departure in part in the immediacy and tawdriness of contemporary life spurred by the mass media and the psycho-social realm of the individual. Over the past two decades, she has developed her own genre of the female nude: lavish, erotic, cartoonish, vulgar, angelic young women cast within fantastical landscapes or dramatically lit interiors. They appear to occupy their own realm while narcissistically contemplating themselves and their bodies. Rich, atmospheric skies frequently augment the psychologically charged mood, further adding to the impression of theatricality and creative possibility.